Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Ultimate Brain Drain

Please forgive my previous venting about the upcoming doom of testing. Sometimes you just need to get a few things off of your chest and everything seems to be so much better. And things have become much better now that I have received a card from a new vendor near my house for 30 days of free coffee drinks (yes you heard me correctly... FREE... and 30 DAYS!) I always tell my students that "a happy teacher is a caffeine filled teacher." With my coffee in hand, I'm set to hit the ground running at 7:50 on the dot when announcements end and we are going head strong until that dismissal bell rings. With new found hope and energy, I've come back to my senses and begun to push my students to their educational limit before their testing begins.

This week we started memorizing our math "Brain Drain" (this nifty little sheet lost it's old name, "cheat sheet," after realizing that maybe cheating didn't sound so good when it comes to testing... ha!) Each student has their own copy of the brain drain to study at their own will and then I challenge them in different ways every day... and yes, these challenges result in prizes!

**I've taught my students in the past to begin copying their brain drain from memory onto their scrap paper as soon as I tell them that "testing may now begin." This way, the students are able to gather everything that they've learned onto one sheet before beginning the test.**

1. Speed Drill- Each student races to rewrite their brain drain on a blank sheet of paper and the first student to hand me a perfectly correct brain drain wins a prize (usually candy)
2. Relay Race- I divide the class into two teams and line them up on opposite sides of the room. Each team has one sheet of blank paper and one pencil. Each member of the team has exactly one minute to write everything they possible can on the brain drain and then they move to the back of the line and it is the next person's turn to write for 1 minute. This continues until the team thinks that their brain drain is perfect and they all sit down to have their brain drain checked. (I use the stop watch on my iPhone to time the students for the 1 works perfectly)
3. Pop Quiz-ical- This challenge was renamed for the pure fact that it does not count for a grade. During the week, I will randomly stop teaching (no matter the subject) and say "BRAIN DRAIN." This is the students' cue to whip out a sheet of paper and begin writing their brain drain as quickly as possible. I set my timer for 10 minutes the first day, 8 minutes the second day and so on. After the timer goes off, students are to put their pencil inside their desk and I check each student's sheet. Every student that has a correct brain drain gets a prize (homework pass, candy, pencil, etc.)

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