Monday, June 4, 2012

Student feedback

Going through 8th graders' feedback from an anonymous Google form that I had them fill out last Friday is kind of amazing. It's funny to me how few of the comments have anything to do with Math, and everything to do with our personal connection or the community they felt in our classroom. I was also reminded that what they most remember from the course are the hands-on activities, projects, and lab experiments. Far and away, their favorite activity this year was the programming project (using the Bootstrap curriculum, I blogged about it here). But they really did take in a lot more stuff than they appeared to at the time. This is my first year in a long while teaching the "regularly paced" group (we have "accelerated" and "regularly paced" for all Math classes starting in 7th grade), and I am actually quite impressed with the maturity and attitude toward learning. We get bogged down in the day-to-day and forget how much growth these kids are making in a given school year and that they give as much back to us as we give to them.

Some of my favorite quotes:

"You were very open to questions and were wise with your responses not to give away the answer." Seriously impressed by this kid's maturity.
"i learned alot this year but I don't remember that much of it."  This is more like what I'd expect from an 8th grader :)
"Algebra is something that I can actually see using in real life situations." I love that someone is taking this away from my class
"Even when mistakes were made, you still respected me and never held it over my head." Okay, this one just made me aww. We should pat our own backs every once in a while.
"I agreed with all the grades I got. Though I still honestly don't understand why i need to label my axes." I'll let next year's Math teacher continue fighting that good fight.
"I enjoyed taking the final test." I really want to know who this kid is! This is what he/she listed as their favorite part of my class!! <mind blown>

Some recommendations for next year:

"let the students give more feedback" Yes, I do need to incorporate this more into daily classroom routines. I'm curious to hear how others incorporate student feedback into their classes.
"Do more projects." Totally agree... will be working on developing more this summer.
"On ocassion play a game that has nothing to do with math to change things up." Probably more games in general would be a good thing. I would love input on this one too.

I also thought about soliciting feedback from parents, but didn't organize myself enough to do it this year. I thought that I would ask just a few questions (Did you feel that there was enough communication from me? How could I have better supported your child? Any other suggestions for improvement?) and email it out via a class mailing list. Any feedback about parent questionnaires would be appreciated!!

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