I recently had the honor of collaborating with students from my Extended math class to revise the “By the End of” document for linear equation. As usual, my colleague, Irene, and I had written a “By the End of” for this module, but it just didn’t work. For example, we had lots of additional material we assigned for homework that wasn’t on the “By the End of,” so that made for confusion and a chaotic experience for the students. Even more specifically, we had noted that students should complete the “Writing Equations for Linear Equations” sheet as a self-check, but, when we gave the Skill Assessment on that content, many students struggled. When I asked the students why, most of them said they had forgotten about that self-check. So, I asked the students for help.
Teacher-Created (Original) Version
First Revision–student and teacher feedback
I started the process by projecting the original (teacher-created) version on the white board with the entire class to get feedback. Before I asked for their feedback, I told them I had added a third Essential Question based on areas of confusion students had noted when I was asking for input into what students wanted to study in small groups.
We went through the entire “By the End of” document and the students brainstormed in partners, sharing out with the class. They suggested different ways of organizing the work, such as sorting the assignments by slope versus intercept. We also decided that we wanted all the additional homework included on this document, assuming it wouldn’t get too visually overwhelming. As they talked, I took notes on the projected document.
Second Revision–Refining the Product
Once we had the first round of input, I invited students to come at lunch to work on refining the structure. As you can see in the version below, we ended up adding all homework assignments as options, organizing the work by topic (but not the topics the class suggested–the assignments weren’t that clear-cut), and emphasizing the self-assessment, seventh-grade style (note the stars).
Obviously, the document isn’t student-ready yet, although I suspect it is as done as it will be this year, as we are now deep into state testing and other end-of-year work. However, there is enough revision now that I can finish a complete draft for next year, a draft that reflects student input and needs. What an amazing experience!
With thanks to Neil, Ava, Raphael, B, Cremens, Catherine-not-Patrick, Evan, Douglas of the Amazing Socks, Marlon the Ever-weird, Kelley Child, Ketelhohn Round Two, Lilly Child, Muscles, Last (and best) of the McNamaras, Sparkles, Zach-Zach, Charles, Ellie-girl, Pretzel, Last of the St. Pierres, Mads, Curly Girly, Squiggles, and Anna-Banana. Thanks for making me a better teacher.