Mid-year Feedback

 We made it through first semester! When my school district announced in late July that we would be going back full-time, I gave it 3 weeks before we would be at home working somewhat remotely.

Yet we made it through.  Classes are (a little) smaller, students are doing a (mostly) great job of wearing masks, and teachers are working extra hard to accommodate students who chose to work from home for the semester (and are virtually joining our classes) and those who have been quarantined either due to a positive test or a close contact.

I'd consider that a success, but I also like to hear from my students. So during our last week of classes (Dec 14 - 18) I emailed out a Mid-year feedback survey with three questions:

I have a total of 85 students and received 33 responses. The only identifying information I asked on the form was what class they were taking. All 33 were from my Precalculus classes (I have 8 Algebra 2 students, none of which filled out the survey.)

This is what I'll be sharing with my classes when we go back next week:

I decided over the summer that I would be flipping precalc and have been using Screencastify and Edpuzzle to make/post videos for the students to complete with a packet of guided notes.  I'm very happy with the student responses that show they feel like it's helping them be successful!

I didn't include some of the more personal thoughts...
  • Guided notes, super organized class, the daily puzzles for warm-up, & being able to work at my own pace and with others for most of the class
  • A variety of different teaching methods and studying methods, along with review through multiple means.
  • ... another thing that helped me be very successful was your care and attention to every student. I’ve never seen a math teacher as involved and caring as you :)   
    (this one hit me.)
  • Edpuzzle lectures and the way Mrs. Fouss explained everything, gave us flexibility with our work, and personally helped us with specific things we need help with.
This last one was perfect. Isn't this a selling reason to flip your class?!

I loved that most students said that they wouldn't change anything.  Yet some offered some good thoughts - 
  • ACT Practice (which I always start in January)
  • More partner work - so hard right now!  I encourage students to talk to their neighbors but haven't been able to push really working together this year. I'm going to try out Classkick when we go back - students can log in with the same name and work together on an assignment.
  • More self-paced is tough. I totally get it but we also need some structure. I am going to start posting assignments for the week for the students who want to work ahead but I'm going to keep to a daily schedule too. So they can work ahead but (hopefully) not get behind.
  • No grades for edpuzzles isn't going to happen. I "grade" them as 5 homework points, which is 20% of their overall grade. Typical homework assignments are 10 points or so. So the edpuzzle grade is more of an illustration of whether they've done the prep work like I asked them to.
  • The "check up on students more" got me. I hardly ever sit during class - I'm constantly wandering around and helping students with questions (and this as I hear about colleagues who never leave the plexiglass surrounding their desks). I try to talk to every student every day.  So I'll keep this comment in the back of my head but also encourage students to ask questions when they have them.

There wasn't anything big here, but the reference to a "crib sheet" that this student said they made to help them prepare for exams made a lightbulb go off in my head. What a great idea as we start this semester of trig! I'm going to use Julie Reulbach's One Sheets as a guide to help students create a summary page at the end of each unit.
Here's what I'll be showing the students as their Second Semester Changes:

All in all, some really good feedback and thoughts from the students!  I'm excited to get back next week (but I have a lot of good shows and movies to watch first :) ).

Also, if you haven't played with SlidesMania.com yet, let me strongly suggest you check it out!  There are some super fun (free!) google slides templates you can use. That's where I got this cute one that I'm using for this presentation.

Our focus for the majority of second semester will be trig (yay!); on Tuesday I'm going to spend time showing them some of James Tanton's Trigonometry videos.  If you haven't watched them, James is a great story teller and gives a neat history of where trig came from!