I have spent the last several weeks unhappy with my lessons. I have spent a lot of time reflecting on what I need to change in my presentation. Over the years, I have created the following routine during all of my lessons: I review with the students a concept from the previous lesson. Then, I provide an overview of how this skill will connect to the skills we will learn today and tomorrow. Next, I present the new skill for that day. Throughout the lesson, I provide several forms of evaluations to determine if the students are learning what I am teaching. Lastly, I summarize the key points that I want my students to take away from the lesson.
After some reflection, I realized my concern was centered on the number of students not completing assignments for homework. Several of those students claimed they "did not get it." Do not get me wrong, I know some of them just did not complete it and used that excuse. My worry was an increasing number of students being truthful about not understanding the lesson. I could not figure out why, since I provided several examples in class prior to assigning the practice at home.
My "light bulb" moment occurred during a recent conversation with @WHSRowe. During our conversation, Rik mentioned he delays homework until at least three days after introducing a new topic. During this time, he provides examples over a few days to help students become familiar enough with the topic to attempt the practice on their own. Sorry for the pun, but it was a very enlightening conversation for me.
Since our conversation, I have intentionally delayed home practice on topics until three days after introducing a new topic. In addition, I have made a commitment to starting each class with a student centered review where they can work in groups. This delaying concept has made several noticeable changes in my classes:
1. There is an increase in practice completion
2. I am able to provide more examples for the students to work through
3. There is an increase in students' grades for the practice
4. There has been a noticeable decrease in students claiming "I did not get it."
It has taken me a little bit of time to get use to the structural change of my lesson, but I am very pleased with the changes I have mentioned above over the last week. I have grown accustomed to integrating two problems from each of the last two days prior to introducing the new topic. It was a little tricky at first, but I have gotten use to it.
I think I have found the answer to my lesson dilemma. I am happy with the changes I have made. I am glad I gave Rik a call. He helped connect a lot of dots for me.
Please let me know if you made any lesson changes that increased student engagement or achievement...