Last Tuesday, school was cancelled for the sixth time this school year, which in the past would have meant that we would need to “make up” the day at the end of the school year. However, the Ohio Department of Education has given the schools permission to give online assignments to students in lieu of making up the day. There are some limitations to this, but last Tuesday fell into this category. So, we posted a set of five questions on the class website and the kids were responsible for doing the exercises and turning them in. For me, that meant the kids had to take a picture of their work and e-mail it to me by 8pm. That way, I had a good idea before we got to school on Wednesday as to whether or not the kids struggled with the assignment.
The exercises we chose were from the exam review, and we were careful to select exercises that were either well within the grasp of the students at this point in the trimester, or that would require a minimal amount of “mental stretch”. Overall, the results were wonderful. Aside from mistakes that fall into the careless category (of the variety “1x1=2”), the students did remarkably well. Yes, there were a few kids who on a few problems simply wrote something along the lines of “I’ve been staring at this for 30 minutes now and I have no idea where to even begin this problem”; however, the overwhelming majority of the students were able to complete all of the exercises, and for the most part they got the problems right.
Contrast this with what I heard from a few other teachers who, giving their kids what they considered to be easy assignments, had the kids return the next day with nothing completed because the kids did not know how to do the majority of the assignment. What the teacher saw as easy review, the kids saw as unreasonable and impossible because the assignment wasn’t about the current material, and therefore they weren’t even willing to try (even though they admitted the material was review).
If nothing else, I’m proud of the fact that most of my kids were at least willing to make the attempt to solve the exercises and complete the assignment. The persistence they showed on that assignment spoke volumes to me. The fact that for the most part they were successful is even better. They are growing as independent learners. Isn’t that the whole point?