The One with the Solving Equations Group Test


Swear to gosh this kiddo could hardly write when he came to us last year. But group support and adult support (thank goodness for our awesome paraprofessionals!) and lots of solid scaffolding made this happen. Preparing for an individual test on Wednesday.2017-01-29-09-04-45-1What do you observe? What do you wonder?

Day 53: The One with the Linear Equations Group Test


I always feel somewhat uncertain of exactly how to assign grades/frame group tests. Especially by the end of the day when the kiddos are done and I am done.

That being said, this group got off to a slow start (one group member almost didn’t want to even think of ways to help the group for the opening) and with a little prodding (saying the good things they were doing, showing a lower grade and saying they could easily get a better one, pushing group members who are good at asking questions), got to this stage, where they’re mostly all talking and working in the center of the table.


(Slightly fuzzy because one kiddo was photo-shy and I had to zoom in).

What do you notice? What do you wonder?

Day 57: The One With the Area, Perimeter, Surface Area and Volume Group Test

Came back from a sub day (got to attend a meeting with fellow rookie math and science teachers) and went straight into two check-ins and a group quiz.

How was your Monday?

Photo: Area, Perimeter, Surface Area and Volume Group Quiz

Area Group Quiz

After we switched groups (did I mention today was busy?), kiddos pretty much got right to work. At Curriculum Partner’s suggestion, we did an opening about what groupwork looks like, cleaned out folders (sort of) and got to work.

Kiddos got most of the class period to work together and talk through four problems. Problems are written so that kiddos fill in what they know – they get some basic information to get them started, but have to fill in steps or explain or pick and justify an answer, so that everyone has a bit of access, but still has to say what they know.

Individual test tomorrow. So many projects still to grade. We’ll see how it goes.

Day 55: The One With the Group Quiz Revision

I’m doing things like watching TV and running again, which means that grades must have been due Wednesday (fact). How long will it last?

In the time that I’ve been, uh, not blogging, we’ve gone through a unit on slope. Our individual quiz is tomorrow, so we’ve been preparing with a group quiz (Wednesday) and today with revisions to the group quiz. We paired students who spoke English with students who spoke more English and had them translate vocabulary words and then talk about the problems together. Mixed reviews, since this is the first time I’ve tried the structure (curriculum partner was able to try it last cycle; I was out of town for PD the day we tried it). There were some good discussions and I think kiddos did learn.

Photo: Group Quiz Revision

Group Quiz Revision

The photo above is from a student who, after seeing the sentence frames, said “I only have one answer,” and then asked about the other answers. I’ll take it.

Day 22: The One With the Group Quiz

Curriculum partner and I are testing a new unit assessment structure, which consists of a group test (today), a written study guide reflection (tomorrow) and an individual test (Friday).

The group test went surprisingly well today (knock on wood). Most groups worked pretty productively the whole period. One class struggled a bit, but I suspect reasons other than the test).

Both the group test and individual test focus on conceptual questions – who’s right, fix the mistake, fill in the next step type problems. We also ask students to write about their work and their thinking.We’re hoping this will move away from strictly procedural problems and will give access to students who may not understand an entire concept but can at least show some understanding.

Photo: The Group Quiz

The Group Quiz

This particular problem was tricky for lots of students – there are multiple errors, which offers more access points (we think) but can get tricky for students who are trying to check parts of the problem against each other (Does that make sense? They think they find an error, then say, “but it doesn’t agree with this part of the problem and now I can’t tell which part is wrong”.)

This particular student stepped up their game quite a bit. Lots of speaking English, lots of working with the group. For someone who didn’t speak much English at the beginning of the year, their answer shows a lot of growth in English (I think).

Big takeaways:

Limiting questions can be a thing. I’ve been working on getting groups to ask group questions rather than individual questions. That is, they’re supposed to check with their entire group before calling me over. When they call me over, I acknowledge the person calling me over (the Resource Manager), then ask someone else the question. The idea is that the group will have already discussed the question with all group members, who will be familiar enough with the question to ask the teacher without being prompted. Today, we further limited students to only 2 group questions during a 55 minute period. Very few groups even asked one question and no one used both group questions (as I recall).

Also, students like a bit of drama. Curriculum partner and I wanted to hold groups accountable so we decided to only review one quiz from each group. I picked randomly and students were generally transfixed (out of fear that their test would be chosen and out of fear that someone else’s test would be chosen). A bit of random ceremony does wonders for everyone, I guess.

Fun quotes from students:

“You feel me, bro?” (checking for understanding. At least it was in English)

“You need help with spelling? Ask my grandma.”