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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Socrative Changes the Review Game (Dear Katie V2#14)

Dear Katie,

When I student taught at Blue Mountain Middle School in NY, I asked a friend if I could borrow his mini basketball hoop that hung from his wardrobe door in his dorm room.  I went down to the gym and asked the athletic director if I could borrow a referee jersey that the clock keeper would wear at basketball games.  The next morning, I set up a two and a three point line in the classroom and my review basketball game was up and running.  It was the typical review game that I had played when I was a kid, two teams, a student would get a question, if they answered it correctly they would have the opportunity to shoot. One of my first purchases when I scored my first teaching position was one of those Fischer-Price baskets.  The first class who played the basketball review game in 1989 would have seen little difference from the game played in 2009.

That has all changed...

Last year, when my classroom received a class set of iPads, one of the apps installed was Socrative.  Using this app for review has had me change up my review game for the benefit of the student.  In the old school review game, each student only received one, maybe two questions out of 30.  If the student answered it right, was that the only thing they knew?  If they answered it wrong, was it the only thing they didn't?  Who knew?

With Socrative, I have a great formative assessment tool.  I can have each student answer all 30 questions.  I receive an email that lets me know how each student responded to every question.  I know what questions I need to reteach and which ones they know solidly.  The students get instant feedback.  The app tells them after each question if they got it right or wrong.

In terms of shooting, I have split my class up into 4-5 teams, so depending on the average amount of questions their teammates get right, that is how many seconds their team gets to shoot on the hoop (best average gets 90 seconds, worst average, 45 seconds, other teams in between).  You could do the same with two teams.  How they shoot is where you need to be creative.  Don't worry about losing class time shooting.  Think of it this way, if every shot in the old style of basketball review took 20 seconds, and there was 30 questions asked, that would mean that 10 minutes of your class was dedicated to shooting anyway.

Sometimes I think back to the old way I did ran the review game, and miss it.  It was the format Mr. Bernosky used in his Social Studies classes for review baseball and football when I was in middle school.  I think back of the shots that were made "at the buzzer" to win games, or some of the great comebacks.

We all love nostalgic thoughts, but we cannot live in the past at the expense of our students.  And to be honest, my kids today are just as excited to play review basketball using this method as they were 20 years ago playing it old school.

Uncle Kevin

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