Am I having the wrong mindset??

Discussion in 'General Education' started by AdamnJakesMommy, Mar 4, 2015.

  1. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    So I'm really a trained social studies teacher, teaching math/science because of passing the praxis. I approach teaching science a lot like I would social studies. This past unit was on protists, so just like social studies this was informational (as opposed to math which is obviously an application). My test was quiz was mixed: multiple choice, fill in the blank, and short answer. My kids took notes, did classroom activities, etc. but I had about 1/4 fail this quiz---and it was EASY compared to how hard I could've made it. I figured it would be an easy A for most of them. Boy, was I wrong. And I KNOW the reason is because they didn't study.

    Is it wrong of me to expect students this age to actually study for a quiz? I don't want to give open-note quizzes. And I don't want to allow them to do corrections. I feel like they should be held accountable for retaining the information. Would you let them do corrections? With science, I feel you either or know it or you don't. I will allow them to do extra credit at the end of the 9 weeks to boost their grades, but I am going to make them work for it of course. This is the second assessment I've given this 9 weeks were it is ostensibly clear that they did NOT study. Had they studied, the average would've been much higher.

    It just floors me that these kids perform much better in math than they do science. It's like they don't take science seriously, AT ALL. They just blow off the quizzes and tests and settle for Cs and Ds in the course, while they have As and Bs in math.

    I feel like I'm in the twilight zone, it has always been my experience that I had to work my tail off for math, and science (protists unit) was always a breeze because it's informational.
     
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  3. Koriemo

    Koriemo Comrade

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    I understand where you're coming from. I give my students easy, easy quizzes over the homework (reading one chapter of a novel) and it's clear that they didn't do the reading or even attempt to read the sparknotes.

    I use it as a lesson: Now, you KNOW that you need to study in order to do well.

    I do find that giving them study tools/worksheets helps them. For example, they are required to make flash cards for their vocabulary words, and I have vocabulary/definition crosswords for them to work on.
     
  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    This. Kids need to be taught study skills.
     
  5. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    I was just thinking in the car that I may need to go ahead and teach study skills. I have erroneously believed this was something that would begin to be impressed upon kids in earlier grades, particularly 5th and 6th grades.


    I will work on this. I told them today, that the quiz was easy enough that if they had reviewed their notes the night before (as was their homework) they would've definitely passed the quiz. I asked them if blowing off studying for 20 minutes was worth the hour+ worth of work they'd have to do for extra credit to bring up a low quiz grade. Maybe that will at least motivate the ones who still wouldn't study, even after being taught some study skills.
     
  6. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    If the quiz was as easy as you thought, a lot of studying shouldn't be needed unless the students aren't retaining much of anything from class.

    Math has a lot more application than science. Almost all math work requires application.

    It sounds as if the subject matter was a lot of memorization and recall. Often informational content feels as if students know it because recognition comes into play. Studying for informational subject matter is often hard. Some of them may have looked over their notes. That is the worst way to study because recognition happens, but that does nothing for the needed recall for the quiz or test.

    Students need more recall work during class time and homework. That will help them learn and recall the information when needed.

    The other idea is that they are stronger with math but weaker with reading and writing which can impact language heavy subjects more than math.
     
  7. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    Thanks for the input. The stinky part is science classes are only 45 minutes, and I don't get as many classwork activities as I'd like to with them. Of course, math is a different story, I get 70 minutes for that. But the fairness and utility of that is a whole separate discussion.

    Of course the multiple choice section was largely recall, but 1/2 the test was discussion questions. The kids definitely learned the major concepts (they explained asexual reproduction correctly--almost all of them, they explained the difference between plant and animal-like protists almost perfectly, they explained the usage of structures for locomotion almost flawlessly, and they explained the difference between prokaryotes and eukaryotes moderately well). It WAS the recall multiple choice questions that KILLED them. The ones such as "which of the four protists is multicellular: euglena, volvox, paramecium, or amoeba."

    When I say look over notes, I will need to instruct them the way that I do it. Looking aimlessly over the notes does nothing, as you point out, the point is to retain. So I chunk my notes, read, toss the notebook and summarize what I just said. Go back and look at those notes, see if I summarized correctly--did I leave out key ideas, did I misinterpret something, did I only grasp part of a concept? When I tutored biology in college, I often told my tutees you don't know it until you could teach it to someone else, and when studying students, IMO, should be studying with the intent of knowing it so well, they could teach it to somebody--then they know they are prepared for a quiz/test.
     
  8. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Study guides that are very open-ended that require students to recall and fill in can be helpful if the student chooses to complete it properly. That takes 2 phases. Brain dump on the first pass. Look at the notes and fill-in what was missed. If you give them points for process you might have some luck encouraging the right process. First pass is blue pen, fill in is another color or pencil. You can tell by what is written how the process was done. Except for a few who will know it all to start almost everyone should be able to fill in some extra.

    Funny how it was the multiple choice that got them. Problems with definitions or details?

    I'd be looking closely at the questions they missed and see if you can figure out what is tripping them up. If they were that good with the essays or open-ended questions, something is getting them.
     
  9. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    A lot of kids DO think of science as an elective. They're always told to study English and Math, but no one ever talks about science being important. It's one of the reasons why our scientific literacy in America is so dismal.

    Rant aside, you've been given good advice.

    I don't think it's wrong to expect 7th graders to study, but you have to show them how to study.

    I teach 8th graders to study using Cornell notes. They fold over the questions/key terms and try to recall everything they can about that subject. I have them fold over their summaries and write them from memory rather than checking their notes.

    I have students test each other on vocabulary before major tests, using the vocabulary sheets I give them which require them to draw pictures, and make sentences using the words. Sometimes I require them to break down the words into latin roots and relate them to similar words they might know.

    I also play a lot of memory games if I have time. I have a ball that I just toss around and ask questions with if we are left with a few spare minutes at the end of the day. They win tickets but it just makes learning and review fun.

    I also am thinking of having them create concept/mind maps from memory, trying to figure out how all of the concepts link together and fit like a puzzle.

    I also try to make science as experiential as possible. We do a hands-on lab AT LEAST once a week. Then we discuss our findings to this lab. It's more important for students to be able to learn the practices of being a scientist rather than memorizing all of the content, so my major essay questions on my exams usually have them designing an experiment to solve a problem and generating a hypothesis based on what they know.

    I do small 5 question quizzes which are more content oriented (rather than process oriented) every Wednesday. Frequent quizzing and testing helps them to solidify the neural connections in their brains. I also pull material that we learned from ANY time during the year to use on these quizzes.
     
  10. wldywall

    wldywall Connoisseur

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    Also teach the kids how to break apart the questions, how to know what the question is asking. I teach my kiddos to underline, circle and box important information. I had one kid in math today try to answer a question about area of a rectangle by saying you do 4x4, I made him read it FOUR times before he saw the word rectangle, and only after I made him box important words. It really does help.
     
  11. PowerTeacher

    PowerTeacher Comrade

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    You absolutely should let them do corrections. We want learning to be effective. It is fine to fail often and early. Failure should be shown as not something bad, but as a way to learn what you do not know. Our focus should be on fostering growth, not obsessing on performance. Performance really only tells us where a kid's strength lies now. Some will do well on quizzes some will not, no matter how hard they study or prepare.

    Consider the wall we are hitting them with. Most units in sixth grade science have between fifteen and twenty tier three vocabulary terms to comprehend. I also teach 7th grade science in NC. My average unit has thirty to forty tier three terms and concepts to remember.

    The more we can help them experience education as a fun challenge, not a crushing comment on their weaknesses, the more we prepare them for success in the future.
     
  12. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    No, it isn't wrong to expect students to study for a test in 7th grade.

    Something I do sometimes for Science is that those who get A's and B's on the test get to do a Science experiment in the next Science class and the others will prepare for a re-test in Science. They won't believe me the first time and I will get my share of D's and F's, but once they see that I will follow through on my promise, . they then decide to study next time in Science. They really hate having to study for a science test while others are doing an experiment (even though there is a lab write up with the experiment).
     
  13. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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