Monday, August 23, 2010

Apex Tips for Starting the Year

Periodically, I'll post some best practices for teachers by teachers. Here's one I received from Jesus Martinez at Animo Watts.


Not sure if you would call this a resource, but the following helped me to keep most of my Apex Students on task this summer. 


1.        For the first week give them an attainable goal such as finishing the first half of the first unit.
2.       When the second week begins, challenge their ability to finish 2 units and so on for the following weeks. 
3.       Monitor their progress and assess where students are having issues and create warm-ups for the beginning of class that can be completed as a class prior to beginning individual Apex work. 
4.       Solve these warm-up questions as a class and also allow them to solve them together in groups because some students learn better from their peers. 
5.       Monitor student progress on a weekly basis, call them to your desk and have them sit with you and go over their progress, let them know how they are doing and how much they have left to finish.  This will ensure that you are keeping tabs on them and will help keep them focused.
6.       Some students will make excuses and tell you that it is way too much work, and if so, break down their course work for them into achievable weekly goals that will help them to focus on one week at a time and not the entire course. 
7.       If you have a student who is moving at a very slow pace, make up an excuse and move him/her next to someone who is not a distraction and who is progressing at an adequate pace.  Also you might ask this student in private to help you motivate this student while working next to each other.
8.       Walk around the class and make yourself available for students who may need help with a particular question.  If you don’t know the answer, be honest and say so and then proceed to sit with the student and attempt to solve the question together so that he or she knows that you can relate to the task at hand and also that you are willing to help. 
9.       Always encourage students to work from home if possible, and of course if students are not keeping up with their pace, assign a specific number of lessons to be completed at home. 
10.   Remind students of the benefits and importance of completing Apex courses and also of your ability to make phone calls home when students are falling behind.  
11.   Also tell students that you will make phone calls home if they are caught on myspace, facebook, youtube, or playing video games.  Remind them that if they have time to be on those website then they have time to do work. 
12.   Also, I have found it to be extremely encouraging and motivating to make a positive phone calls home when students are on task and on pace.  This really helps them to want to progress further and achieve more. 
A resource that really came in handy for students was math.com, it helped them with reviewing formulas and other math techniques. 
I hope this helps. 




Article By:
Jesus Martinez
Animo Watts / Art
jesus.martinez@animo.org


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