Eyes on the Prize

In Geometry today we were reviewing for tomorrow’s test. A student asked to go over a proof about kites that we did together last Friday. It got me thinking about which proofs are really essentially interesting in Geometry AND it got me thinking about some former colleagues in Florida. I worked with a history teacher who had an interesting habit. The day after any test he handed out the essay question that was going to be on the next test in a few weeks. He checked back in on the question during the unit and used this question as a guide to their discussion along the way. At the same school I worked with a photography teacher. At the beginning of any project assignment she would hang up the best photos from previous years and referred back to these as a guide for her students.

So, today it occurred to me that there might be ways for me to model for my students what the goal posts are as we move along through the course together. I think I wrote about this already, but one of the changes I have made this year is that I am handing out previous tests that I have written a few days before our test day this year. My students take this HW assignment more seriously than any other assignments. I wrote the Geometry book we use and I have written all of the problem sets we use. I hope that my students feel that this problem sets are meaningful and worth their time. However, I understand that there are calculations to be made about how to spend time and my students feel that available time is at a minimum. I think that I will not wait until the week of my next test, I think that tomorrow I am going to hand out last year’s test even though our next test does not occur for a few more weeks. I will check back in on this test every couple of days to give the students a sense that we are making progress. I also want to spend this summer compiling about twenty or so proofs that I think are particularly interesting. I will not include the proof itself, I will simply put together a set of diagrams and given information along with the conclusions to be drawn. I think that I want to hand this packet out at the beginning of the year next year and use this as a regular reference during the year.

I would love to hear any opinions about the benefits or drawbacks of these ideas.


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