Our system has many required math tests. One way that I prepare students for these tests is to give them a practice test. Yesterday as students practiced they weren't as enthusiastic as I like--they were lackluster. As I noted before, I'll think about how to engage them in practice a bit more. Today, I'm worried that they might bring that same passivity to the practice test--how can I change that?
First, I'll remind students about how well they've done all year. As a grade level they've made terrific progress to date. I'll also tell them that it's worth giving the practice test good effort, and rather than letting them choose their partners, I'll assign similar ability partners today. When students work with similar ability partners, one doesn't take over and instead both partners tend to work with good questioning and good pacing.
As students take the online practice test, I'll answer questions and help where needed. I'll assess how the assigned pairs and small groups are working, and think about who is engaged in this effort and who still needs a different approach.
A big part of teaching well is leading learning experiences which engage students--when they are engaged the learning is awesome. That's something I'll be thinking about today as students complete the practice tests.