Algebra and geometry took concept tests today. These are always kind of interesting because they take less than 20 minutes, which leaves me with 30 minutes of instruction time. Today I introduced factoring special products then they took the test.

I am not sure what the best way to spend the other 30 minutes is… (we take concept tests nearly every week)

I have tried:

- Testing then teaching and vice-versa.
- Finding some interesting puzzle/problem for students to work on after the test.
- Study hall after the test (Another way of saying I didn’t plan anything)

My go to is something like #1. The issue with this is my lower students get the concepts on the test mixed up with the new concepts I just taught (Especially today when we covered factoring special products and then multiplying special binomial products was on the test). Plus I am not sure how much of the information students actually retain when they know they have a test coming in the next 25 or so minutes.

#2 is what I would like to do all the time. However, students don’t seem to get as excited about these problems and feel that since they already took a test, they can check out for the rest of the day.

#3 is… a waste of valuable time if I test each week.

Finding a balance is hard, I am interested in how you use the extra time after a quiz/test.

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Chris Vaudrey has some really awesome posts about a project he did with his class called the 20% project- http://mrvaudrey.com/tag/20-project/. That would be a great ongoing project with lots of intrinsic motivation for the students.

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Looks like fun, thanks.

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I had a lot of success earlier in my school year with providing students with wooden puzzles. I know they may be expensive. But, it could be a goal to work toward to have a class set of different wooden puzzles that students could struggle on. I do a similar thing with concept tests, and would love to get back to that.

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I just inherited a box of said puzzles from another colleague!

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If you test every week, could they have a project that they only work on on test days? Something that interests them, a group project that they present to others…lots of options.

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Nice, that really does provide a lot of options. I want to look into that, thanks.

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