Today I gave my students the quiz I’d been promising them all week. Every day I had told them to be taking notes during the presentations as they would be able to use them during the quiz. They could use their notes, but not anyone else’s. Of course only about half of them actually did take them, but not for lack of warning! On the way to work I thought about making up this quiz, and the dreariness of another of my tests that the large part of them fail. Suddenly it occurred to me that I could make the test fun for all of us.
I am an avid photographer and often take photos of my students. Every so often I like to show them a little slide show of themselves, which they love to see. Last week I’d taken some shots of the 7th and 8th grade basketball games, and had promised the players I’d show them to them today. I decided that since I was going to set up the LCD projector anyway, I’d just put their test on it.
When I got to school I sat down with the overhead transparencies the kids had used in their presentations, and typed up about 11 questions. For some of them I formatted the questions in such a way that if they knew the answers they would get extra points. Other questions that I felt would be really easy I said only that they would lose 5 points if they got it wrong. Once I had written all the questions, I opened up Keynote and began a new presentation.
Each slide had one question on it, with the scoring possibilities listed beneath it. In between the question slides I put a photo of one of the students. The title slide is shown above. I handed out Cornell notes to everyone and told them to write the questions on the left side and the answers on the right, and we got started. Each time we finished with a question slide, I asked who they thought was going to help them with the next question. They would guess someone’s name, and I’d show that photo. The kid didn’t get to actually help, but I could tell that even the shyest ones loved seeing their photo up there. (Except poor Miguel. He came into the class late and there were none of him. He kept saying over and over, “There’s no photos of me.” Reminded me of Eeyore.)
I don’t know yet how they did on the test, but I will say that it was the funnest test any of us has participated in, this year at least. And there were no behavior problems at all. Well, unless you count the fact that Gerardo and Luis cut 5th period and didn’t finish taking it…