Friday, March 16, 2018

Hot Seat for Trimester 2 Final Review Session & Student Reflections

I don't do a lot of review in my class, but I felt it was necessary the day before students took their Trimester 2 final, which is 10% of their grade.

I focused on 4 big ideas from the test, and sequenced them from the most need to the least need. If you have never used the Hot Seat study team strategy, you must try it. Especially if you are reviewing for a test.

Here are the Slides I used for 7th grade:
For 8th grade: 

Each student gets a chance on the hot seat to earn 2 points for their team. I half-joked at the end that some students did more in this class period then they had in Monday through Thursday combined. The positive peer pressure to understand the problem and show all the work for your team is a healthy type of pressure I believe.

I gave the students the following prompt at the end of their final: Did you take advantage of the option to retake an assessment?? If so how many times? Overall what were the positives and negatives of the grading system? Reflect on how the trimester in math went. What parts did you like? Dislike?

The best reflection was a student who said they didn't understand exterior angle and triangle sum theorem until the Hot Seat activity. That makes it all worth it for me.

Here is what they wrote by period:

1st period:

  • liked graphing and slope
  • groupwork
  • liked mix of independent and group work
  • homework is worth only 10% so it doesn't break your grade
  • thought the vocabulary and the word corresponding helped with their understanding of parallel lines


  • disliked skill 13 (solving fraction equations and solving for y)
  • teams that didn't talk or help each other
  • doing homework
  • transversals on parallel lines
  • CPM and posters
  • I should check students notebooks
4th period:
  • teacher trusts students
  • helpful classmates
  • Hot Seat was great study tool
  • likes the amount of homework (less, more time, lagged)
  • likes 3 attempts at a skill so you could see your mistakes leading up to 3rd attempt
  • switching seats often
  • liked Hot Seat
  • grading system is organized


  • didn't like IM Unit 1 packets 3 votes
  • teacher doesn't check homework
  • wants to change seats more often
  • doesn't like book work (CPM) 2 votes
  • students are dishonest with homework self and peer check system
  • distracted during classwork
5th period:

  • hot seat is a great study tool (4 votes)
  • liked Desmos partner activities
  • Mystery student and class discussions
  • transformations
  • when classmates are not judging them because they don't understand


  • peers not honest on self and peer check HW system
  • same routine every day
  • retakes must be outside of class
  • disliked packets (4 votes)
  • some group members didn't contribute which made it hard to pay attention
  • when group doesn't follow study team norms
  • Hot Seat. Didn't like the pressure to get it right (2 votes)

6th period:

  • when table worked together
  • liked retakes, team reading aloud (helps EL students)
  • grading system shows mistakes, no dislikes
  • liked Desmos Land the Plane activity
  • liked groupwork, helped a lot
  • liked specific feedback with weekly assessments


  • someone not working with the group
  • thought packets (IM) was boring
  • didn't like y=mx+b
  • disliked who they sat with sometimes
  • participation grade stays the same (This made me think I need a rubric for students to fill out at start of trimester, and then revisit at end of trimester. Encouraged Ss to talk to me if they think they deserve a higher grade for participation)
So, I got a lot of good feedback. I clearly need to do Hot seat more often, despite the fact that some kids felt pressure to get it right. Students liked the adrenaline and the pace which kept them super engaged.

I discussed with my classes why they didn't like "the packets" which was the Unit 1 pilot we did of Illustrative Mathematics. Some top students said it was too easy, while a couple said it was very challenging. Kids said it was a little dry, while CPM is engaging with a storyline. They also like exchanging ideas with the whole group. On the other hand, some students liked the timing of IM where it's 2 minutes independent, 2 minutes partner, then whole class discuss. The warm-ups were super helpful because they admitted they didn't know how to do some and it made them more successful in the lesson.

Some said the homework practice problems for IM were too easy, and some said it was too hard. 

I'm not sharing the grade 7 classes feedback because it was more vague and less helpful. 

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