At the end of most quarters, I ask students to fill out an anonymous feedback form about what is working and what is not in our class. I use these feedback forms for many reasons, but most directly so that I can modify and tweak my instruction based on their ideas. Here is a word cloud and some selected quotes from the following question:
What activities/methods/strategies have we done in class that have worked well for you?
Working on the white board, usually standing up helps me a lot. Another thing that helps me do better in class is having A quizzes because i can reflect on them before we take the B quiz and i am more confident in the material
I like doing math in notebooks for example but then using the white boards for further practice. Also the online questionnaires are very helpful and interactive.
(I think the student’s “online questionnaires” comment is referring to the Desmos Activities.)
I really like when we use the standing white boards because I like the fact that we have a ton of space so I can see all of my work and erase little mistakes without the annoying marks that an eraser leaves on paper. Also I like it because it gives us the opportunity to move around and work with other people outside of our seated groups and I think standing helps me think better.
Whiteboard work is really beneficial to me. It allows us to work together on problems and work without it being permanent, allowing us to make mistakes. I also enjoy the Desmos activities.
I liked using Desmos and working off of white boards. I also like changing groups every two weeks.
Reassessing works well with me. Desmos is a great website. Standing up in class works very well
… So the loudest pings were: whiteboards (loud and clear!), group work, the use of feedback quizzes before a “B” (graded) quiz, and Desmos Activites.
Now some feedback on the following question:
What activities/methods/strategies have we done in class that have NOT worked well for you?
I find that taking notes in my own notebook rarely helps me, and so I don’t usually record things here. Since personal notes are not required, this isn’t much of an issue, but I learn much more efficiently by actively doing problems.
seated whiteboards and I don’t like that there’s no mandatory homework to help me
The small amount of homework doesn’t push me to review what we’ve learned in class and leaves me more lost during standards and take homes. I don’t necessarily mean give large amount of home but 3-5 questions when take homes aren’t assigned would be helpful.
It is sometimes hard to study for our tests because most of our practice problems are done on the boards.
“The Desmos activities are a little too quickly sped over, it would be better to either go over more or just not do them.
Puzzles need an appearance.”
Sometimes it’s hard to do the seated whiteboards when the work takes up a lot of space because depending on who you are sitting with that week some people like myself prefer to write everything out individually and you can run out of room so maybe to fix that we could always have the option to stand if our group decides that that would work better for the problem that we are trying to solve.
Sometimes the online desmos do not work well for me. If its at the beginning of the new topic and I am still not grasping the concepts I am sometimes lost (doing more work with peers may be more helpful for me).
I feel rushed when doing group activities if somebody in my group understnads it better. This is just dependent on the person. Like when asking for help, they just quickly explain instead of helping me really understand how to do it.
I tend to remember things through watching HOW something is done then learning it and then examples. Following instructions to arrive at an answer is more my thing. Although, I am adjusting to the figuring things out on my own. It is just taking time.
I like using whiteboards but I really like having example problems in my notebook so that I can look back to them to help me on homework and to study.
Desmos can be really hard at some points, and really easy at others, I haven’t really found an in-between.
The take home tests haven’t really helped me all that much
So it was a bit more scattered. Some nice notes from the students about the lack of permanency of the whiteboards. I’ll partly address this concern by encouraging them to print out the class notes for the day (they have all the worked examples that I did on the tablet in a pdf in a shared google drive folder). Another small set of concerns on the Desmos Activities, and I think I can address those concerns by administrating the activities better, and making better activities in the first place. Some group dynamic issues of a group moving too fast (or too slow). This is harder to address as a whole class, but I’ll keep my eye out for it more as I go around the room and make sure everyone is on the same page.
I strongly encourage you to give a similar feedback to your students. Some really important stuff gets shared by the students. I love it.