Saturday, January 4, 2014

Managing Response Rates

This year as part of my professional development, I chose to work on monitoring response rates in my classroom.  When I started I wasn't sure what managing response rates really meant but I did a little research.  Basically managing response rates means that you are using techniques to ensure that students are engaged in questions during your lesson.  I was surprised to read that I was already doing this. Somethings you may already be doing are:

Wait Time
Random Name - choosing students randomly to answer questions
Questioning Strategies - using a variety of question types throughout your lesson

Another teacher who is focusing on the same element shared a cup system for managing response rates with me. You use a stack of cups (1 red, 1 green, 1 yellow) at each students seat.  Students move the cups to show how they are doing with the lesson.  If red is out the are having a hard time, yellow a question, green are good to go.  I adapted this idea to work for my classroom.

These are plain index cards cut in half.  The three colors are post-it flags.  Mine aren't actually post-it brand, you can find a similar product at Dollar Tree.  I call them stoplight cards.

I keep them with the rest of the supplies students use during lessons.

Each team has it's own set of baskets with materials.

This is the same concept, I've just made it music room friendly.  Students can take these cards any where in the room and indicate how they are doing by moving the appropriate flag to the edge of the card. Surprisingly they hold up very well!  So far I've used them with all my 4th and 5th grade classes over a 16 day rotation and we've only lost two flags.

What is great about using this system....

1.  Questions....
I have heard questions that students would not otherwise have asked in a group setting.  It's interesting to hear their concerns or misconceptions about rhythm, melody or recorder technique.

2.  One on One
I don't feel like I get enough one on one time with my students.  It's hard on my schedule to ensure a quality music experience, while hitting benchmarks and monitoring students progress!  I'm sure you feel the same way.  I often find myself sacrificing this one on one time in order to get as many experiences in as possible. I've learned that slowing down is important.  It's great to hear from individuals so that I can truly understand their strengths and weaknesses.

3.  Ah Hah! moments
Remember those misconceptions I talked about.  It's important to hear those because I can better my teaching through understanding where my students are getting hung up.

How do you manage student response rates in your classroom?

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