This shows you the differences between two versions of the page.

Link to this comparison view

astro300_f10:fifth_day_plan [2010/09/27 22:39] (current)
Line 1: Line 1:
 +======AY 300 - Fall 2010: Fifth Day Lesson Plan======
 +===== Goals of today'​s class =====
 +    * Discuss GSI visitations
 +    * Understand how to write effective worksheets by writing one from scratch
 +    * Understand how to fairly grade quizzes
 +    * Plan for next sections!
 +===== Recap Previous Week & Peer visitation (20 min) =====
 +Start in small groups for 5-10 minutes. Transition to the larger group.
 +    * How did sections go?
 +    * What worked/​didn'​t work?
 +    * Share interesting things you saw during your peer visitations. ​
 +    * Today'​s specific question (related to the reading): How are you handling questions from students? What could we do to better encourage questions?
 +===== Homework Discussion (15 min) =====
 +   * Continuing discussion on "​questions from students"​ in the big group. ​
 +       * Each member of the class shares their favorite tactic or idea from their part of the assigned reading, in particular discussing how they might implement this technique or idea in their section (or, perhaps, how they DID implement it in their section).
 +       * If time: Discuss some pitfalls of question-taking. How can you discourage questions? ​
 +==== Our List from the reading discussion ====
 +  * **Starting the Discussion**
 +     * Have //​students//​ recall lecture ideas rather than the GSI
 +     * Ask open-ended questions with multiple answers/​opinions
 +  * **Guiding the Discussion**
 +     * Close the discussion by prompting for student feedback, and remaining issues/​questions/​concerns
 +     * Make room for assessment of student understanding by:
 +        - T/F or MC questions
 +        - Think-Pair-Share question
 +        - Have students paraphrase other students'​ answers ​
 +  * **Participation**
 +     * Don't always accept the right answer (at least at first), i.e., ask for rephrasings,​ call on other students for opinions, etc.
 +     * Give the class time to warm up
 +     * Ask questions where students can give their opinions rather than facts
 +     * Have the student write responses to questions you pose before anyone can offer an answer.
 +  * **Asking and Fielding Student Questions**
 +     * Know the questions //and// how you will ask them
 +     * Let the students know you //care//
 +     * Break down yes/no questions into "​how"​ and "​why"​ questions ​
 +     * When a student answers wrong, emphasize parts that are right and be appreciative of their participation (e.g., "​Thanks for your input..."​)
 +     * Make student feel that their responses matter to you--devote enough time to address their answers/​give feedback
 +===== Grading (30 min) =====
 +  * Give out a blank example quiz--one of mine or aaron'​s from past years?
 +  * Have each group develop a key and rubric for one or two questions. (10 minutes)
 +     * emphasize that reading some responses first is important.
 +     * discuss how to handle erroneous info.
 +  * Give each student a few example student responses to those questions. Have each student grade a handful of example student quizzes based on that rubric individually. (10 minutes)
 +  * Compare grades given and discuss. (10 minutes)
 +  * Discuss and recap the main ideas of grading as a class. (5 mins)
 +        * The most important part of grading: **Grade fairly and consistently for ALL students**.
 +        * Try not to look at student names while grading anything.
 +        * Grade in blue or green. My (Aaron'​s) philosophy: Grade your own work in red, because you don't care about your own feelings. Grade other people'​s work in blue or green. ​
 +==== Notes from Past Years====
 +=== Free-Response Quizzes and Exams===
 +    * Most questions should have 1 and only 1 correct answer (matching, fill in the blank, put in order, //etc.//).
 +    * Paragraph or few sentence responses or plotting can be uglier.
 +    * Try to give partial credit where you can.  **Always** give points for correct steps even if the final answer'​s wrong. ​ If they get the final answer but their steps or logic to get there is wrong, give them some points, but not too many.
 +    * Obviously if they screw up part (a) by a factor of 2, but carry that extra factor through parts (b) through (f) and get everything else right (while including the factor of 2), they should **only** lose points on part (a).  Also, stress this fact to your students so they don't get frustrated if they can't do (a), but the rest are doable (maybe even tell them to make up an answer to use for later parts, or in the question say 'use 5km for the rest of this question if you don't get part (a)').
 +    * In longer answers, you should usually reward for correct information more than you punish for incorrect information. ​ With that said, if they say something really wrong or even contradictory to the rest of their answer, they should be penalized a decent amount.
 +    * Hopefully on your quizzes and exams you stress to students that they must write clearly and explain their steps and logic clearly. ​ If you can't read their writing or understand what's going on, **you should usually assume it's wrong.**
 +    * Be suspicious: If you see similar, very wrong answers, flag the tests and compare their answers to other questions. Hopefully you can look out for cheating while the quiz/exam is actually going on, but you won't be able to see everything.
 +    * Talk (probably through e-mail) to students in your section(s) who performed very poorly (grades of less than 40% or 50%).  They may be too shy to ask for help even if they know they need it!
 +===Scantron Exams===
 +    * You'll grade these kinds of tests with your fellow GSIs, in the 6th floor lounge most likely.
 +    * Have a few people people double-check the answer key Scantron //for each version of the exam// **BEFORE** you start running all the tests through the machine.
 +    * Note any questions that are missed quite frequently. Reasons for this can include:
 +       *The question was poorly written or possibly too hard
 +       *The students just didn't know that material very well
 +       ​*There'​s an error on the answer key
 +       ​*Something went wrong with the machine or the answer key Scantron
 +    * Note anyone who missed a TON.. Reasons:
 +       *They really just don't know what's going on
 +       *They marked the wrong test version (you might be able to re-run it through the machine with the correct answer key or their GSI or the Head GSI might have to grade it by hand)
 +       *They used some writing utensil that the machine doesn'​t like (their GSI or the Head GSI might have to grade it by hand)
 +       ​*Their test is too wrinkled or has coffee spilled on it or whatever (their GSI or the Head GSI might have to grade it by hand)
 +       *Use your judgment here; it's annoying to grade a Scantron by hand, but if they really just accidentally spilled something on it, then you should probably grade it by hand with no penalty. ​ If they'​re dumb enough to mark the wrong test version, well, they might deserve some extra points off for that.
 +    * It's a good idea to skim over each of your student'​s tests to see if there were any obvious bad erasure marks or anything like that which may have led to an answer being marked wrong unfairly. ​ However, don't feel bad if you don't catch every one of these -- your students will not miss any!!
 +    * Like after quizzes, strongly consider talking to students in your section(s) who performed very poorly (grades of less than 40% or 50%).
 +    * Usually not the GSI's responsibility to grade.
 +    * Basically, all of the above rules apply.
 +    * Cheating is certainly more of an issue since you can't watch everyone do their homework, so beware! ​ As mentioned before, hopefully the graders will flag any possible cases of cheating and then you can take a closer look at the actual assignments and decide whether or not any academic dishonesty actually occurred.
 +===Section Grades (if applicable)===
 +    * You should come up with some objective grade calculation (unless one is already provided to you by the prof and/or Head GSI).
 +    * A grade for Discussion Section might include (**ONLY** if these aren't assigned grades on their own elsewhere in the course grading rubric):
 +        -attendance in section
 +        -participation in section (group work, coming up in front of the class, asking the GSI questions, worksheet diligence, //etc.//)
 +        -in section quiz(zes)
 +        -star party attendance
 +    * Usually this isn't a huge part of the overall course grade, but it's sometimes a non-zero amount of points and you should be fair and consistent about assigning them.
 +    * With that said, if someone really went above and beyond and worked really well in section, usually you have the authority (as long as it's cool with the prof and/or Head GSI) to give them a little something extra in their section grade (though you probably shouldn'​t give them over 100% of the section points).
 +    * On the other end of things, sometimes students with borderline grades will try to wring a few extra section points out of you to push their grades up to the next letter.
 +===Overall Course Grades===
 +    * Usually GSIs don't have much control over this. However, GSIs occasionally help decide the course grading rubric before the semester starts.
 +    * The course grading rubric should be well-defined and a (relatively) simple calculation.
 +    * It should be spelled out in detail on the syllabus (which should be handed out or posted online at the very beginning of the semester).
 +    * **Converting numbers to actual letters is the hardest (and usually the most mysterious and opaque to students) part of this process.**
 +    * Finally, most profs/Head GSIs will let each GSI have a small amount of discretion in final letter grades (with pluses and minuses) for their students who are right near a letter grade cutoff.
 +       * Most profs/Head GSIs will try to choose the cutoffs such that //no one// is close to any of the boundaries.
 +       * However, this discretion is fairly common practice since the GSI should know the student (and their performance in the course) better than either the prof or Head GSI.
 +       * Thus the GSI can use the student'​s performance in their section to decide whether or not to bump them up above or below the cutoff.
 +       * With that said, unless the student was absolutely horrific in section, GSIs should probably never bump anyone down below a cutoff!
 +Hand out the [[astro300_f09:​grading|grading]] handout.
 +===== Break (5 min) =====
 +===== Worksheets (45 min) =====
 +==== Activity ====
 +  * Recall our discussion of what makes a good worksheet (see [[third_day_plan|Day 3]])
 +      * Quickly make a list of what we talked about: What makes a good worksheet?
 +      * Discuss how you would design a worksheet to meet these goals
 +          * **Identify learning objectives:​** What do you want the students to ultimately get out of the worksheet? Is it to understand a particular topic, be able to solve simple problems using one of the formulas, combine various concepts to draw conclusions,​ etc.?
 +          * **Identify interesting questions/​problems:​** How will you accomplish these objectives? Is it through solving homework-type or canned problems? Can you introduce a concept through actual observations and real-world phenomena? Questions related to a class demo? Which are better for what learning objectives? ​
 +          * **Think about factual vs. open-ended discussion type questions:​** Similar idea: Would a discussion benefit or would group work on individual problems do better? ​
 +          * **Length:** How long should the worksheet be? Should each group be responsible for completing the entire worksheet? Or should the workload be broken up and discussed as a class?
 +   * In small groups, pick a topic relevant to Astro C10 or 7a. Discuss what would be a good worksheet on that topic. Sketch a draft of such a worksheet to use in a 50 minute section.
 +       * Topic Ideas:
 +          * Phases and eclipses
 +          * Planets/​solar system stuff
 +          * Celestial Phenomena
 +          * Orbits/​Kepler/​Newton
 +       * What will the worksheet consist of?
 +          * Problems? Discussion questions? Diagrams? Paragraphs? ​
 +       * How will you introduce and incorporate this worksheet into your section?
 +          * Will it guide the entire 50 minutes? Will it be referenced only when necessary? Is it an optional handout (weird...)? ​
 +       * Josh and Aaron will roam and assist.
 +End of activity group discussion:
 +     * What were the difficulties in drafting the worksheet in your groups? ​
 +     * Recap material in groups. The discussion should highlight some of the //Tips// below.
 +     * Remind them that they will have to contribute their own worksheet to the EBRB.  ​
 +==== Notes from Past Years ====
 +Remind everyone that they'​re required to contribute their "best original worksheet"​ (or a significantly improved one) to the EBRB.
 +==Worksheets should:==
 +  * Explore the topics discussed in lecture, focusing on the most important points. The aim is to make the students //use// an idea after merely having it //told// to them.
 +  * allow students to examine their understanding by doing sample questions - but without the stress of being graded and with the assistance of groupmates
 +  * serve as a reference after the student leaves the classroom
 +  * Beyond the above, they can also:
 +     * explore new topics not covered in lecture in detail that are interesting,​ cutting edge or fun!
 +     * serve as a fill-in-the-blank 'note sheet' for a more lecture-style section
 +     * simply provide an incentive to experiment with a particularly involved demo activity
 +==How to present worksheets==
 +Worksheets are intended to get students collaborating in groups, which has been proven a great way to get them to learn the material in depth. How do we get students collaborating the way we want?
 +  * Students need to believe that their work is going to be evaluated in some way -- not necessarily in a grade, but that somehow the effort they put into the sheet (or fail to put into it) will be considered.
 +  * You need to use good worksheets! Easier said than done, of course.
 +  * Mixing up the makeup (and possibly the size) of the groups in your section can help change things up and get students to concentrate on the worksheets and not get as off-topic by talking to their usual groupmates (//i.e.// friends).
 +  * You should stress early on in the semester (basically from the first time you do any kind of worksheet) that the information in the worksheets is often a restatement of material from lecture and some of it might be on a test (the magic phrase).
 +  * In fact, if the information is important enough to warrant lecture-time **and** a worksheet in section, it //must// be important.
 +  * Also stress the fact that section and worksheets and demos are supposed to the more fun, hands-on aspect of the class (as compared to lecture).
 +==What makes a good worksheet?​==
 +  * Interesting/​important topic (everyday experiences are always good, as are topics that students are always interested in: Mars, aliens, comets/​meteors,​ Big Bang, black holes, //etc.//)
 +  * A variety of types of questions ​
 +     * Answer format: multiple choice, fill in the blank, calculation,​ read a graph, free/​paragraph response, plot data, draw a schematic, "​discuss with your groupmates",​ //etc.//
 +     * Presentation/​group format: individuals,​ group, as a class, demo-related,​ //etc.//
 +     * Applies both within a worksheet and week-to-week
 +  * Active participation (get students up and moving and talking, writing on the boards, presenting to the class, //etc.//)
 +  * Promoting the idea of group activity (//e.g.//, difficult or tedious for a single student to do, but can be naturally broken into independent components for different individuals)
 +  * Separate activities/​examples for separate groups to compare/​contrast at the end of section (//e.g.// build up an H-R diagram)
 +  * Be visually engaging: make your worksheets look nice (include pictures, picture captions, fill-in-the-blanks,​ //etc.// but don't make them too cluttered)
 +    * On just about every one of Dan Perley'​s worksheets he includes a nerdy, science-related comic.
 +  * Relate concepts to commonsense notions and everyday experiences (if possible)
 +  * Use of real or realistic data and images, instead of clearly fake examples, as long as it doesn'​t excessively complicate the activity
 +  * Symbols are defined and used consistently with elsewhere in the course
 +  * Be relevant to homework/​exam questions (so students feel it was worthwhile to them)
 +  * //Be creative//​. ​ Non-standard worksheets can work well.  Try things that aren't discussed here - and let us know if they work!
 +==What makes a bad worksheet?​==
 +  * Too much calculation (many students will not bring calculators to section, even if you remind them constantly, and some will not be able to do exponents or scientific notation!)
 +  * Too many mundane tasks (students will quickly lose interest if the questions are just "do this calculation,​ then this one, then this one" without ever seeing the big picture until the end or not at all)
 +  * Covering esoteric or "​boring"​ topics or topics that are too advanced to do much with at the Ay 10 level
 +  * Too long: students can't finish the critical parts by the end of section and it's difficult to interrupt them to review in the last 10 minutes. If students learn that their worksheets won't be gone over every single time, they'​ll lose the motivation to actually do them
 +  * Too short: some groups finish the activity and become bored (as a precaution, consider adding extra 'bonus questions'​ at the end you may or may not cover)
 +    * Answers to bonus questions can be posted on your website or given out via email or at office hours or TALC if you'd like.
 +  * Sloppy wording (however, the standards are much less strict than for exams, quizzes, or homeworks)
 +  * Rehashed, basic, dull questions more appropriate for homeworks or exams: take advantage of the group format -- you can push your students'​ abilities since there are many of them working together on the worksheet!
 +  * Not relevant: doesn'​t build understanding of the most important subjects -- which, let's not kid ourselves, are "the things that will be on the final."​ (If you think that the questions on the final are not addressing the most important subjects in the course, the thing to do is **fix the final**.)
 +==Instructors present some of their own example worksheets used in their sections.==
 +  * Divide into groups, hand out a sample worksheet to each group. Groups go over worksheets, present to rest of class:
 +    * Summarize content of worksheet
 +    * What they think its good and bad points are. Remember the metrics: will this get students talking to one another? Do you think it's the right difficulty? Will there be a good way to review the answers?
 +    * Hand out copies of the worksheet in question to the other groups while it's being discussed.
 +==Worksheet tips:==
 +  * Make sure you're intimately familiar with the worksheet before section. ​ Work everything out yourself (and make a key).
 +  * Use caution if simply printing old EBRB worksheets. They may refer to obsolete parts of the text, may have subtle errors, or the questions might be slightly different than you remember from just giving it a quick read. If using a worksheet you didn't write yourself, always work it out //​completely//​ to be sure it's bug-free.
 +  * Give some background, not just questions. ​ Let them know why the activity is interesting and/or relevant to them.  (Of course, you can also just to this verbally.)
 +  * Start with a really easy and obvious question (and preferably an interesting one).  Don't let the students get stuck immediately and stop caring. ​ If they'​re led into starting the worksheet with a simple question or two, they become '​invested'​ in the activity and are more likely to stick with it.
 +  * Leaving minimal empty space on the worksheet encourages use of the board. ​ However, it also makes it harder for students to write their answers down and discourages individual participation.
 +  * For large sections, give plenty of written guidance for how to solve the problems (you can't help everyone at once). ​ For small sections, it's possible to go as far as completely omitting the directions.
 +  * Always save time to go through the worksheet as a class! ​ Each member of the class need to have some feedback on their answers (even if it's just you quickly running through the problems) or they will feel the activity petered out into meaninglessness. ​ Be firm about ending the activity on time. 
 +  * The main points:
 +     * **Engagement** - Encourage students to engage actively and look at the material in new ways different from how it was presented in lecture
 +     * **Relevance** - Students want more than just an enrichment activity: be sure it's really benefiting them
 +     * **Familiarity** - Customize your worksheets to your section; as with just about everything in section, put your own personality into it
 +     * **Fun** - Worksheets are the single biggest outlet for creativity that you have as a GSI; have fun with it and you'll almost certainly get you students to actually want to do the worksheet
 +===== Design a Demo Groups (5 min) =====
 +Go over the Design a Demo project. Have students pick their groups (3 students). ​
 +===== Assignments for Next Week =====
 +  - Next week, we will discuss how to write good exam questions. In preparation,​ **write at least one multiple choice exam question and at least one free response exam question**, using your best efforts. **Feel free to be creative!** The questions should be targeted for the AY 10 or AY 7 level and can cover any topic in astronomy or relevant physics. We will anonymously critique each other'​s example questions in class next time.
 +  - An **optional** reading that's relevant to the writing assignment is in //​Learner-Centered Astronomy Teaching: Strategies for Teaching Astro 101// (aka the Orange Book) by Slater & Adams. (There'​s a copy of this book in the seventh floor Astronomy Library in the bookshelf to the right of the door as you walk in. The book is thin and its spine is orange. Also, both Aaron, Josh, Jeff Silverman, or Peter Williams have copies that you can borrow for a day or two -- as do a few other astro grads.) Again, reading the following chapters may be interesting but is **not** required:
 +    * Chapter 7: Strategies for Writing Effective Multiple-Choice Test Items
 +    * Chapter 8: Alternatives to Multiple-Choice Tests (especially pages 71-77, 82-84)
 +  - Some other optional readings:
 +    * Chapter 8. Testing: The Details from McKeachie'​s Teaching Tips: {{:​astro300_f10:​testmckreachie.pdf|PDF}}