Friday, August 7, 2015

Lagging

One of the best things about summer for a teacher is getting a chance to reflect upon the last year, (and years), of teaching and consider how to improve for the next year. There are a few things I plan to change for the upcoming year but the biggest and most fruitful change will be implementing the concept of lagging.

There are several sources of frustration I encounter as a teacher while the school year unfolds. One of the most prevalent ones is the lack of retention of important concepts that many of my students demonstrate when it comes time for the end of year assessment exams. Through members of my Twitter PLN, I was introduced to the teaching and curriculum work of Henri Picciotto. What a resource for math teachers for all levels and subjects!

In particular, he presents the concept of lagging homework. The main idea behind this is to provide an extended exposure to older topics while continuing to move forward with new topics in the classroom. So in practice, homework assignments are on topics addressed in class 3-5 days before rather than the topic that has been studied in class that day. In addition, to give students a chance at even more exposure, topics on quizzes are lagged another week or so. The concept Henri presents addresses the fact that not all students learn math topics at the same rate but still keeps the class as a whole moving forward.

After considering his ideas, (and I recommend reading the other linked articles he has provided in his lagging homework post), they make a lot of sense to me and have the potential to allow my students to become more comfortable with new topics at different paces and hopefully improve retention and understanding of those topics to boot.

Implementing this will require some changes to procedures and processes I have used in my class for awhile. At this time I have not ironed out all of the nitty-gritty details but am looking forward to implementing this change in my practice.

2 comments:

  1. Possibly useful for the nitty-gritty details: http://www.mathedpage.org/middle-school/pdf/homework.pdf

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  2. Thank you so much for your comment and link. I definitely plan on short, targeted, homework assignments, shorter and more frequent quizzes, and giving the opportunity for quiz corrections to improve the students grade. Not sure yet how to best implement homework review but I want/need to reduce the time spent on that to make things more productive.

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