August 26, 2010

Do what I do, not what I say

One of the things that I decided to do based on recent classes I've taught is to try to reinforce the importance of students reading the material before coming to class.  To that end, I decided to implement reading quizzes due every morning that class meets.  But I also want to have walked in my students shoes as much as possible, so I have decided to read every section that I've assigned to them and take notes like I want them to be doing.

It may seem obvious to do this for every class, and certainly when I've taught the upper level courses I read and re-read (and sometimes re-re-read) all the sections we cover.  But for introductory classes I find that to prepare I generally need only skim over the chapter to see what topics are being presented and in what order.  Then, I have enough to worry about with prepping demonstrations, clicker questions, homework problems, in-class tutorials and anything else I can think of to help cover the topic in an active-learning classroom to have a lot of time to actually read the whole chapter.  Starting early, though I hope to get far enough ahead that I can finish all the reading assignments before the end of the quarter.

The reading quizzes are going to have two questions which will be the same each time, and then one or two additional questions which will be unique for each quiz.  The questions which repeat are: "What are two important concepts that you learned from the reading?" and "What are two concepts from the reading which you struggled to understand?"

I plan to use these questions to guide my note-taking as I read the book.

No comments: