Friday, April 19, 2013

Day 5: Sink or Swim

STAAR Crunch Day 5 Agenda

1. Warm-up
2. Check homework
3. Sink or Swim

This review game was from a meeting with our instructional coach, Gayle Lechler!  I had never played before and was nervous, but explained this to my first block and asked them to work with me :)

I gave each team (3-5 students depending on size of my class) an index card and told them to create a group name and write it on the index card.  Students received STAAR problems from reporting category 5 - Probability and Statistics.  I instructed students which problem to work on and then drew an index card.  That team answered - if correct they could choose to "sink" a member of another team or "swim" a member of their own team that was previously sunk.  Sinking players are not allowed to talk or help their team members, but they are still required to work problems.

It was really easy and the kids got really into it.  They didn't care that it wasn't leading anywhere and that nobody was necessarily winning.  I was prepared to grant immunity to any players that were repeatedly being chosen to sink, but it wasn't necessary.   Some entire teams ended up sinking... in which case I chose one player to answer the question-  if correct they saved themselves and the game could continue.

With my first block, we discovered it was a little more fun to have a handful of problems worked and then complete a couple of rounds of sink/swim rather then doing one question at a time.  In the rest of my blocks I gave them 20 minutes to work on problems with a partner before starting the game aspect and it worked really well.

Unrelated- but highlight of my day:
Students have been earning tickets for a prize drawing Monday.  Since sink or swim didn't have a "winner" I decided to provide an opportunity for one group to earn bonus tickets today.  I asked them to estimate how many tickets were in their class jar.  I expected students to just look at the jar and guess a number....which some of them did, and that was fine.  But I heard conversations between other students that were SO exciting.

I had drawn a chart on the chalkboard recording the percentage of students turning in a completed homework- with work shown- each day throughout STAAR Crunch this week.  I forgot to take a picture :( but something like this -
I heard students saying, "Well there are 20 students in our class, so day 1 if 75% brought homework back...then 15 people brought it back and earned tickets.  Day 2 if 90% brought homework back, then 18 people earned tickets, and so on.  This was so beyond what I expected when I decided at the last minute to let them compete in a quick estimation contest.  Really proud of the mathematical conversations I was hearing :)

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