Monday, September 24, 2007


I seem to spend a lot of time at the beginning of semesters trying to convince my first year students of some basic college concepts. Doing the reading. Taking notes. Looking up words. I hate giving quizes for all the usual reasons, but mostly because I hate grading quizzes.

The reading for today included a discussion of five reading strategies, including things such as taking notes, looking up words, changing reading speeds, and such. Another reading for the day came from the non-fiction "common book" many of us are teaching in our first year writing class.

Today's (open notes, closed book) quiz looked like this:

1) List the five strategies... (blah blah author and page info).

2) What does [a word they were unlikely to know from the common book reading] mean?

3) Which strategy from number 1 would be most likely to help you with number 2?

I glanced at the quizzes, and they all left #2 blank. But they all had an answer for #3! Think it will take?


It was sort of amusing because I always start out with time for students to ask questions about the reading, and one of the questions had been about the meaning of another word in the common book, and although none of them knew it, no one had bothered to look it up.

I write my quizzes before class in my notes; if someone asks a question that appears in the quiz, I answer it fully, and then people do well on the quiz. I hope the strategy rewards good question-asking. And since I tend to build my quizzes to take us to at least one thing I want to discuss, if they've asked the question, then they've gotten us where I wanted us to go in the first place, so yay them! (The "vocabulary" word was prime for leading us into a good discussion, for example.)

No comments:

Post a Comment