Rather than dancing around the issue, I let my students get right down to business in this review! This unit has been so jam-packed with applications, investigations and activities that the students need some time to discuss everything that they have learned, as well as fill in any last minute gaps. This is the first year that I have given this particular end of unit assessment (so I may need to make some adjustments in the future). I am very curious to see how this works! I feel as though my students have a firm grasp of the concepts and can persevere to solve difficult problems, but the upcoming assessment will provide me with an indicator of how well these students we able to tie everything together.
I always prefer to tell me students exactly what to expect on the test. Unless the student has an IEP detailing appropriate accommodations, I tell my students that they will be required to complete the test in the 47 minutes of class time. I do this so that the students become accustomed to taking timed tests, which they will see VERY soon on the SAT/ACT. I am also sure to detail to the kids that IPAD’s and cell phones are not permissible calculators on the test. This is important to note because many students in my class use these devices to solve the previous problems that I have given them. Again, I emphasize this to my students NOT because I do not trust them, but rather because this is how it will look on a high stakes test.
My students are allowed (and expected) to collaborate on this test review.
I allow the students to work on the review sheet AND I also make a list of suggested problems on the board from our textbook. This allows me to direct students to specific types of problems if they need additional scaffolding. For example, if I find that a student is struggling with finding sums of infinite geometric series, then I will offer support (or a “workshop” if multiple students are in need of support – see Strategies Folder) and then direct them to additional practice problems from the appropriate section of the textbook. I run the review for this lesson over 2 days:
Day #1: This Lesson: Structured Practice Review
Day #2: Next Lesson: Short game, Applications Review, Binomial Theorem Review
Additional Note: I post a key in the back of my classroom for the students to check their answers. This keeps me from answering the “is this correct?” type of questions and focused on offering real support to the students who need it.
After calling for any final questions, I announce to the students that we will have our usual Test-Day Breakfast in my room the morning of the test. Usually, I have students show up as early as 6:50 a.m. During this time I bring donuts and juice, and we work over any additional concepts that the students desire. I pull up old PowerPoint notes and hand out mini whiteboards as needed. It sets a great tone for the day. Because of the free donuts, the breakfast is always well attended!