After being greeted at the door, students pick up their materials for day three on the bookshelf (procedure continued from day one). Today they need a copy of the Continuous Improvement Quiz #1 (which has been placed in a sheet protector to discourage writing on the original quiz) and a sheet of scratch paper. Typically, they would also pick their assigned "clicker". Unfortunately, the new teacher laptops don't agree with the clicker software, so this week, we're going old school. The students will number their scratch paper from one to ten and write their quiz answers on paper instead. I created an example that appears on the first page of the SmartNotebook file.
The idea behind Continuous Improvement or CI quizzes is that each week, student take a 10-question quiz over content. As a class, we go over the quizzes and then we record our results in our data folders. I also maintain a "Class Run Chart" that shows the class average each week. Our goal is to improve with every quiz. We recognize individual improvement as well as class improvement (if any) each week.
In previous years, I have used CI Quizzes that cover the entire year's content randomly through 10 questions a week. This year, however, my math department peers and I decided we needed to focus on number sense as last spring's state assessments revealed tremendous gaps. As a result, this year, we are changing the quizzes to focus on number sense: Place value, decimals, fractions, percents, square and cube roots, ratios, and factors. It is our hope that by pinpointing this particular strand, we will be better able to identify weaknesses and/or gaps and address them on a regular basis and chart our progress over time.
Each week, the students take the quiz (which is never recorded as a grade, only corrected). At the beginning of the year, it generally takes 15 minutes for students to complete the quizzes. However, over time, as proficiency improves, it takes about 8-10 minutes. I set a timer on the smartboard and when it sounds, I collect the papers and then go over the questions. I do not explain the questions or teach any concepts during this time. Rather, I ask for students to describe their approaches. I want students to realize that there are typically many ways to find an answer and by sharing different approaches, often students are exposed to strategies that make more sense to them.
There will eventually be 12 separate quizzes. However, I will also be attaching each week's quiz to the corresponding Wednesday's lesson plans.
Once we finish going through each question on the week's CI Quiz, we set up our Data/Artifact Folders. I've assigned each of my classes a color as a means of organization, so students pick up folders in their corresponding color. They also pick up a CI Graph and three sticky labels. I explain that they need to put one label on the front of their folder for their name, one label on the left inside pocket labeled "CI Quizzes", and the other on the right side pocket labeled 'artifacts". We discuss the meaning of artifacts and I explain that all graded work that is not in their journals should end up in the artifact side of their folders. They will then have a folder full of evidence of their learning over time.
Just like journals on day two, CI folder collection also has a set procedure. The student in seat 2 at each table is responsible for collecting the CI folders and returning them to the appropriate crate. If I teach this procedure carefully, the folders will be ready for me to easily distribute next Wednesday while the students take CI Quiz #2. I stand at the crate and call each table's folder monitor to bring me the folders from his/her table.
We close day three with the name game (from day one), trying hard to beat our previous day's record time. At this point, I have learned all the students' names, so I can focus on monitoring appropriate student responses and modeling encouraging words when necessary.