While sharing pints with a few teachers upstairs at McGinty's, Chris Harbeck took a sip of Guinness, then tossed out a few words that changed my teaching--
"I give out points for anything, a thousand here, a thousand there. They don't mean anything."
Simple. Cheap. Effective.
Print out your errorometer, laminate it, hang an Expo marker next to it--done.
Every time a student gives me a reasonably well thought "wrong" (or even an unusual but "right") response to anything going on in class, even if only tangentially related to the natural world, a student can put a point up on the Errorometer. For every 10 points, everybody in class gets 10 out of 10 points in the Test/Quiz category.
Yep, it diminishes the "value" of points individuals receive on tests.
Yep, everybody's grade gets a boost.
But, as a wise Canadian math teacher told me over a pint (or two) of Guinness, if points mean nothing (and we agreed that was true), then giving them out freely and frequently means nothing as well.
|Image PD, quote added by Golda Poretsky.|
No points are given for thoughtless answers--and it doesn't take long for the kids to catch on. Doesn't take long before the kids are debating among themselves whether a wrong answer deserves credit. (The fancier pedagogues among us might even call this metacognition.)
(Yes, points are just about meaningless....even the perpetual A students get to like this after a few weeks....)