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improving drop-in / optional revision sessions

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by Milner1980, May 10, 2012.

  1. Okay, so our Y12 have started study leave, and are coming back in (if they don't have exams) for revision sessions in the lessons when we would be teaching them.

    I've long harboured a suspicion that just letting students get on with whatever revision/exam questions they want to while I help them if they need it isn't really the most exciting or effective way to revise, so what can I do, given that...

    1) I'm not 100% sure which students will turn up, and

    2) I'm not 100% sure (although I can make a fairly well-informed guess about) what they want / need to revise

    So, any ideas from the collective hive-mind? If it's relevant, my own class are preparing for Decision 1, although I expect some of them will be wanting help with Core 2 as well. Any ideas for similar situations in other key stages would be much appreciated, too.
     
  2. Okay, so our Y12 have started study leave, and are coming back in (if they don't have exams) for revision sessions in the lessons when we would be teaching them.

    I've long harboured a suspicion that just letting students get on with whatever revision/exam questions they want to while I help them if they need it isn't really the most exciting or effective way to revise, so what can I do, given that...

    1) I'm not 100% sure which students will turn up, and

    2) I'm not 100% sure (although I can make a fairly well-informed guess about) what they want / need to revise

    So, any ideas from the collective hive-mind? If it's relevant, my own class are preparing for Decision 1, although I expect some of them will be wanting help with Core 2 as well. Any ideas for similar situations in other key stages would be much appreciated, too.
     
  3. My strategy is to pick something that I think most might need a recap on, and do an activity - eg. a jigsaw for a Core 2 topic or Decision definitions, or a classroom sized decision algorithm (I'll explain below) and follow up with time for working through past papers...
    Classroom decision algorithms - design a network that you can represent in the classroom - use tables for nodes, display the network on the whiteboard so they can imagine the arcs.. then use mini whiteboards on the tables for the boxes at each node - each student is "in charge" of a node and should update it as required (additional students could direct the students on the nodes - or groups take it in turns)
    Hope this helps..
    Liz
     
  4. sounds good. . . and that's pretty much what I think . . some short activities to break it up between freestyle revision. thanks.
     
  5. afterdark

    afterdark Lead commenter

    Perhaps you are missing the point. You are providing a relatively quiet place where the students can sit and work. Their home environment may not be conducive to this.
    Once you have established that doing questions is revision, then what is wrong with them sitting in relative silence. Or working in small groups talking through what they understand about mathematical ideas. You can just be there to answer questions. As long you prompt all present to watch you, if they want to, when you do actually discuss/solve something on the board/projector etc.
    Many students may not actually want extra lesson time they may simply actually need/want quiet time to reflect and assimilate what has covered over the academic year. Also place that is associated with work may be a great boon in itself.
    Also I would recommend that you take a register of those that attend to use when the blame game gets played about private tuition.
    Sometimes it is simply a case of taking a step back and letting all your previous hard work come to fruition in the sunshine of the youthful mind. Think of it as gardening, too much meddling can detract from what you are trying to achieve.
    Where does your obligation end? When does your input become interference or static? I'm not talking M2 here either.
    Let them get on with it. Be there in case they need you. Have extra questions/past papers at hand. I think you just need to step back a little. Your heart in the right place. You sound like me when I first started teaching in my twenties.
     
  6. googolplex

    googolplex Occasional commenter

    Step back, stop worrying and go with the flow. Most students actually can get on with what they need to do. If anyone wants help, offer it. If they don't, don't worry. You've done your bit by getting them this far.
    Put it another way: if you pick on a topic and teach it to them all, how do you know how useful this is going to be for each person? At best, you may get through to some of them. At worst, you could be messing up their revision priorities.
     
  7. afterdark

    afterdark Lead commenter

    In my experiences most things work well for stronger students, that is why they are designated stronger.
    I understand that but do they all need to be together? after all some are stronger and some are weaker.
    Look at the breakdown of last exam results from the board. At least one board give a breakdown for each questions averaged across your exam group compared to national average. If you insist one having to cover something pick the least well done question[​IMG]. However I would imagine that you had already done this whilst teaching the course.
    It wasn't meant to be patronising. Sorry. I meant you sound super keen as many very young teachers are; Indeed as I, myself once was. Initally I found it very difficult not to be directly involved. Letting go is difficult and it is something we all need to do.
    Do you survey the year 13 students? What is their opinion of what was most helpful? This is best done early in year 13. It won't be much help now. But perhaps you should ask them the question, "was simply having a place well suited to studying/revising the main reason that they attended"
    Sometimes it is more productive to focus on exam techniques and getting them to be honest with themselves. Good Luck.
     
  8. mmmmmaths

    mmmmmaths New commenter

    04:47 Late night or early morning? Definitely after dark!
     
  9. For GCSE students in similar circumstances, I cut up past paper questions and put in tub.
    Divide group into Two teams A and B.
    Group A choose a question from tub without looking. They decide to play or pass.
    Who ever plays answers (1 team member only after 30 secs confering) question by writing up answer plus working on whiteboard,
    Other team mark, so if worth 4 on paper they can award 0,1,2,3,or 4 marks.
    If team mark correctly they recieve 4 marks, if mark incorrectly score zero. Team that did teh question get the marks as is appropriate to their answer ( so if their opponants give them 0 but have fully correct answer they score 4 and marking team 0; if marking team award 4 for fully correct answer they also score 4, if answer is worth 3 and marking team award 3 , then marking team get 4 and question answerers get 3)
    It makes everyone take part and think about the mark scheme.
     
  10. Recently I've provided the students a checklist of what they have learned so far and asked them to rate their understanding (for their own reference). Since I know only a few students are using it as a guide for revision, I prepared a set of short revision tests. All the subtopics to be tested in each test are listed and students are required to practise some questions in their revision book. At the end of each short test, students will assess their classmates' work. I'm hoping this will help them to improve in their grades.
     
  11. I expect them to be quietly revising and working through exercises or papers at home or in the library. I make my sessions the intense part of their revision - focus on the harder concepts, lots of "big picture" stuff and making connections, lots of group work, discussion and competition, working against the clock... I want them to leave enthused and tired out.
     

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