28 Days Later…

The week has flown by, and even though this isn’t a class day, I forgot to blog about Monday.

I took the effort to manually enter my students into the SMART Response system. I wanted to give the Senteo clickers another try and record all the data after a test. We had just finished reading Act One of Romeo & Juliet, so I thought a quick reading quiz would work well. I know that the novelty is still there for these devices, but it really is a surprising change to see students excited to write a test.

I posted ten selected response questions and five fill-in-the-blank style that required my students to text in a response that was shorter than twenty letters. The questions got everyone thinking and clicking their responses in a timely manner, so the quiz didn’t take too long. A hiccup with the text responses was that spelling is not everyone’s friend. Some students were marked incorrectly because of their small spelling mistakes. I think I will have to either add a word bank next time, or I could just be mean and enforce them to spell. After all, some would argue this is English class, but I don’t think I’m ready to be that mean yet. In the end, the goal isn’t to trick the students into enjoying tests, but so I can evaluate some holes or gaps in understanding that they are having with the text we are studying, and there are definitely a few bridges to build in Shakespeare.

What I do love about the program is that it records the data for each student’s response automatically in its database. After the quiz I was able to go back through and see what questions were problematic and change any answers if they were too harshly graded by the computer. I know that many are arguing that we need to move further away from this kind of testing. I also agree that testing for testing sake is ridiculous, but this quiz did help remind some of the students that we aren’t all experts yet, and the hands on work that we are doing should help prepare them for the inevitable tests that happen in Alberta education.

*As an aside, I did a brief presentation of these clickers to my ELA Department at a staff meeting today, and many of them were excited to give them a whirl.

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