It is the time of year when both teachers and students hit that lull in the road, at least on my end. With the weather changing and the holidays a month away, I have found that my middle school girls are getting more tired and having shorter attention spans than in September. This is the lull.
To see how we could change things up, and also have the girls take ownership over their actions, I decided to use the polleverywhere.com service as a warm up for a math class. The goal was to have the girls reflect on the class so far this year, what they enjoy, what they don't enjoy and also make suggestions to others as how to make things better. This 10 minute activity was very successful and created a revived classroom community that was eager for change and improvement.
Using only their lap tops, the girls were blown away with the instant feedback. They also enjoyed seeing their comments posted where everyone could see. By asking the students for suggestions and improvements, they gained some control of how they like to learn and how they want the class to run. It was also a great opportunity to have the girls reflect upon the behaviours of the class, shouting out, taking too long to transition and not completing homework and how they are affecting others. By using the text input message, the students were able to express anonymously how these actions have impacted their learning, making others aware the affect they have.
I would highly recommend others to take 10 minutes to allow your students to provide feedback to you and also to each other. This process created an "upswing" in attitude at a challenging time of year.