cheesemonkey wonders

cheesemonkey wonders

Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Festival of Reassessment (SBG)

December is when I am truly grateful for strong routines. They mean I can split the class up and still count on everything moving forward. I am running behind in my pacing, so I needed to set up a mass SBG reassessment opportunity for slope skills yesterday. I set up all the reassessors along the window side of the classroom and all of the non-reassessors on the hallway side of the room. The non-reassessors worked on linear systems skills and problem-based learning while the reassessors worked on demonstrating mastery of slope skills.

Whenever a reassessing student finished their work, they brought it up to be rechecked. I went through it right then and there while they watched. “Uh huh... uh huh... uh huh...” until “Oh noooooo! Why is this negative?!?!? It ruins everything! Go back and fix it!!!” And then the next student moved forward in the queue.

We went through this process of working and my checking and sending kids back for about 40 minutes. “Nooooo!!!” I would circle something and pretend to freak out, sending them back to fix stuff. It became a carnival. “AAACK!" I would say. "Go back and fix this!” Seeing this happen in real-time changed kids’ relationships with their misconceptions. It reminded me of piano practice as a child. Something would splatter in the midst of a phrase or figure and I would have to go back to the beginning, willing the figure to come out right through my fingers on the keyboard.

We kept going until all 12 students had triumphed over slope and point-slope form. What I loved about this process was how it transformed the social focus of the process of understanding to us (the whole class) against the skills. Kids were going wild and cheering when somebody finally triumphed over the "slope and point-slope” process, jumping up and down and hugging their newly non-reassessing classmates and friends.

The goal became one of getting everybody in the classroom over the finish line. From individual mastery to collective. Students stopped focusing on who had status in the classroom and who did not. They stopped thinking about their place in the social hierarchy and instead lost themselves in the flow of doing this f***ing slope and linear equation problem.

And then as each new classmate finally triumphed over the skill, the whole class felt truly victorious.

Everybody got the individualized attention they needed as they drove their skills forward, and we also bonded as a collective community, advancing our work as a group.

In these divisive times, I think this might be an important process to cultivate.


  1. Bravo to you for making class time for this. Currently I only do reassessments outside of class. You clearly anticipated how to engage the students who already knew the skills while giving instant feedback to those reassessing.

    I don't know if this was part of your goal, but I would predict that kids would be more willing to reassess outside of class after this class time well spent. It could also motivate them when they see their grade go up by doing so, and foster a growth mindset of course.

  2. This is such a great way to get everyone involved in the class while also making sure everyone got "over the finish line" as you said. It really seems to set up a team atmosphere, which I feel like most kids gravitate to, so no one gets left behind or feels out of the loop. I also agree with the previous commenter, about how kids would be more likely to be reassessed outside class time after seeing how successful it was in class. A lot of times, people are scared to go for help, or don't think it will actually help them, but seeing it work first hand would definitely make them more inclined to get help and keep up.