Day 167: Finals with 12 days to go

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Have to give finals to 4 of my 5 classes as there are seniors mixed in with underclassmen. The seniors graduate on May 29 (last day is May 27) and we need to have their grades figured out by the end of this week. Underclassmen will have a lab to complete and a quiz or two to keep them honest.

Day 161: Notebook Quizzes

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We rarely use the textbook (except to prop up ramps, etc) so most of my classes depend on the students keeping an organized notebook. I punch the holes and we number the pages and all keep a table of contents. It actually makes my life and theirs a lot easier. “Mr. Whiteley, what is the ellipse homework?” “Page 57,” I reply. I always hated collecting notebooks and trying to score/grade them so now I give one notebook quiz each marking period and try to time it in such a way that it serves as a review for a summative assessment that follows. As always I have to sprinkled cartoons around the quiz that relate to the questions.

Day 122: Astronomy Text Alerts

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How many times have I looked up at the sky at night and thought “I wish I could tell my astronomy students to drop what they are doing and go outside and see this”? Too many to count. There is now a way. Today they will follow the directions above and sign up for text alerts from me. The phone number is a randomly generated one and all personal information remains confidential. I will never see students’ phone numbers. The app is free and easy to use (Remind101). They can unsubscribe at the end of the course or not!

Day 117: Retakes and Mastery of Material


Astronomy student will have the latest assessment returned to them today and will be able to access the “system” for scheduling a retake. The QR code is all over my room and now ON the assessments that can be retaken. So far the students in my IS I and IS II class are getting the hang of this and are scheduling retakes via the Google form (can find on the class Moodle or via the QR codes). They think the QR codes are very cool and that I am a techie hipster! Note also that I have added a “honor code” statement to all of my tests and quizzes.

Day 109: Retaking Assessments


Students of mine can retake nearly all assessments (midterms and finals excluded) in my modified SBL classroom. The managing of this has been OK but I wanted to try something new and perhaps encourage more students to take advantage of this. Someone (can’t remember who) on my PLN mentioned using a Google form, so today I rolled out the new way for students to schedule a retake. QR codes are all over the room and will be on any subsequent assessment that can be redone. The link to the form is also on the class Moodle.

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The hallmark of the form is the last part. I’ll let you know how it goes!

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Day 104: Whiteboard Appreciation


Yesterday I was so wrapped up moving from table to table, helping groups of students with a number of activities they are doing, that I did not even know that an administrator was in the room, chatting with students and observing me. I used whiteboards to help out groups and then would leave the board and move on to another group with a new whiteboard. Every group had a different question. Great to have a visitor to the classroom see students engaged and respectful despite that fact that I was oblivious!

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Day 90: Astronomy “Misconceptions” and Jay Leno

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First day of the new semester = the first day with my new class of astronomy students. Nice for them and for me to have a fresh start halfway through the year. After introductions, seat assignments, attendance, book distribution (and reading assignment), and Edmodo instructions, the students take a quick paper and pencil “quiz” on some astronomy basics. The same questions are those asked in the classic Jay Leno video that I finally found online! We all have a good laugh. Nice way to break the ice and have some fun.