Explore the MTBoS, mission 3

Yes, I know I skipped mission 2. I don’t want to get involved in Twitter, I’m afraid it will eat up to much of my time. So on to mission 3: collaboration.

I have looked at most of the sites listed before, but today I checked out the estimation 180 again. I like the idea of building number sense in this way. I recently asked my students to give me an estimate of the population of the large town next to where the school is and the answers varied between 50,000 and 300,000. Since the actual value is around 120,000, I think they did ok.

It is not something that I’m going to incorporate in every lesson, but it is something that I want to try to do more often. It doesn’t have to be a separate activity, but even when discussing text book problems I could spend some more time on coming up with an estimate at the start.

Experimenting with retakes

Every year some students will fail tests. It happens. Ideally, they would study the material again until they do master it, but that is not what normally happens. This year I’m requiring all students that have an insufficient grade to some revision work. In one grade, me and my colleague are also letting the students retake the test, after completing the extra work. This will happen in their own time and the highest grade they can get for the retake is 55%, the lowest passing grade.

Ideally, they should get the grade that they deserve for that second try, but then I would have to allow all student to retake the test and I would not have time to do all the grading. Also, this way it doesn’t pay off to not study for the first test and simply do the retake (strangely enough a lot of students here take that approach when they can….).

Hopefully, this will stimulate them to study the material again and, by making sure they master everything, they should do better on the next test as well. I’ll let you know the results.

Hi there!

Let me introduce myself: I’m Tessa and I teach math in the Netherlands. This is my third year teaching. I teach both the Dutch curriculum (normal and bi-lingual) and the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program in what we call ‘de middelbare school’, which means the kids range in age from 12-19.

I have been reading lots of teacher blogs for the past 3 years and have decided to participate in Explore the MTBoS (http://exploremtbos.wordpress.com/), so this is my first mission: create a blog and introduce yourself.

I love teaching because it brings new challenges everyday. I hope to never feel like I am done learning how to teach. In my ideal classroom we would work on lots of open-ended problems, instead of just doing exercises from the textbook, which seems to be the norm here.

That’s all for now, mission 1 complete 🙂