Thursday, February 12, 2015

Students' Frequently Asked Questions


As teachers, we repeat ourselves... a lot. If you teach middle school, multiply that amount of repeating by 10. Seriously. Middle Schoolers have so much going on, so many distractions, so much to worry about that I find if I don't repeat something at least three times, I can be sure that more than half of the students didn't hear it. It's not that I don't expect silence as I'm talking. I also expect students to look at me when I'm speaking. But if I don't say the words a few times, and then maybe once more in a different way, I can be sure that my class won't have fully understood my directions.

This can be exhausting. 

Now, I understand that this is part of the job and I get that-- but sometimes it's so tiring to explain something to turn around and have a student ask me a question that I just explained. Another version of this is when students email me questions that I've already gone over... multiple times.

So, I've developed a list of "Frequently Asked Questions." It's a list that I can add to, if needed, that I save on my desktop. If a student emails me with a question (or variation) from the list, I simply copy and past the whole list in a response. 



I think this FAQ systems has two main benefits:
1. Keeps me from having to type of lengthy responses to questions that I often have to answer.
2. Teaches the students a valuable skill of looking at a list of FAQ and finding the info they need.

Here are my current FAQs. (you'll notice many are about Standards Based Grading). Any you think I should add to the list?

How can I raise my grade?
If you show that you understand a concept better I will be able to adjust your grade to reflect your level of understanding. Sometimes you will understand something better by the next quiz by learning in class. Other times, you might need to come to office hours so that you can get a little help.

Can I come to office hours on Wednesday?
Yes, you do not need to email me or ask me if you can come to scheduled office hours. Just show up!

Can I come to you during lunch?
No, I am not able to give help during lunch because there is never enough time! By the time you get your lunch, come back upstairs, and eat there just isn’t enough time for us to get much done.

Can I come for help after school?
I can only offer office hours after school on Wednesdays.


Can I come for help before school on ______?
I offer office hours before school on Wednesdays. I sometimes can give help on Mondays, Thursdays, or Fridays. I have a teacher meeting before school on Tuesdays so I can't offer help on Tuesdays.

I don’t see a grade for every assignment, why?
Your grade is based on your understanding of each concept. I use assignments and quizzes to let me know what grade reflects your understanding. There is not a separate grade for each assignment.

Can I retake a quiz?
Each quiz has several concepts on it. While you can’t retake a whole quiz, you can come to office hours for help on any concept you don’t understand. Once you show me that you understand better, your grade will improve.

I was absent, was there homework?
Check eChalk, I post homework there. If nothing is posted, there was not homework. If you missed a quiz, see Mrs. Forest to set up a time to take it.


I was absent for a quiz. When can I take it?
Office hours are the best time to make-up a quiz. You could also ask your Excel teacher if you could take it during Excel.

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