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Sunday, December 11, 2011

"Favorite No"

Just a quick share - I have tried this a few times this year, because I was looking for ways to more frequently but still quickly assess a whole class. It works really nicely. I don't have anything to add - Lea covers it all. Just watch.


  1. I saw this at a PD and have tried it a few times using yesterday's exit ticket instead of today's warm-up: works really well for me too.

  2. I really like the way the teacher talks about mistakes and the feelings of her kids as she addresses those mistakes. Makes me feel warm and fuzzy! What a great video. :)

  3. I liked that about it too. I make sure t make a big deal out of expressing gratitude to the student whose card I picked, and also keep them anonymous unless they decide to speak up.

  4. Love it. Its so difficult to get students to be comfortable making mistakes.

    I think I have to disagree with "the test is too late [to learn the concept]." If they learn it, they learn it... does it really matter when it happens?

  5. Well, obviously, I don't think so. But I don't really think that's the point of this technique.

  6. love the idea too, but i think the way dangoldner says he structures it makes more sense to me. i worry about lag time in class, so sitting there and sorting 30 notecards in front of kids seems like a bit of a waste of time. doing it from exit tickets from yesterday seems to make much more sense to me. ditto to mimi and kate's hearting the way she talks about mistakes!!!

  7. This is why I love reading blogs. What a great idea, but so simple and something any teacher could do. Will be using in class tomorrow. Assuming I can find index cards.

    Thanks for passing the video along!

  8. If you have a stack of scrap paper, two passes through the paper cutter makes a reasonable size for this. No index cards necessary.

    OT: I heard her saying that test time was too late for her to teach it. (Not too late for someone to learn it.)

    I'll have to remember this for next semester. (With the improvement of doing it with an exit problem, something I haven't done yet.)

  9. I just order index cards in bulk now. I blame Amber Caldwell.

  10. I could also see choosing one problem on the day's problem set to have everyone write down. Then you could flip through them while everyone was still working and have this conversation towards the end of class. I always struggle with how much/little of the work done in class to go over, so this seems like a great way to approach that.

  11. What are the students doing while she is reviewing the problem. Are they required to copy the correct answer.

    Love this idea!

  12. I see vale using it both ways. I love the idea of using this to make exit tickets more instructionally useful, but I also think there is value in having my students do a problem in class and then sit in suspense as I sort the cards (quickly).

    I also think they are more likely to learn from a mistake they just made rather than one they made yesterday. Some of my students, especially my struggling learners, would not remember how they solved a problem the day before.

  13. What Nick said. Also it takes approximately 30 seconds to sort the cards. Also you kind of have a common mistake in mind before you start sorting, so you can fake the second half of the pile.

  14. Thanks for sharing! I'm looking forward to trying out this strategy during my student teaching.

  15. This is indeed very neat. I'm worried (as always) about all the paper used. Can someone convince me that a)you can recycle index cards and b)recycling paper is environmentally friendly?

  16. Julia- I use the back of random papers cut in quarters for quizzes and so will use the same scrap pile for this. Take all the extra one sided pages you have lying around to the paper cutter and you magically have 'index cards'!

  17. Love this idea! I'm going to try it out in January.

    I also cut up scrap paper and keep a stack at every table (kids sit in groups). I call them Think Pads :)

  18. I too found the immediacy of her feedback mechanism wonderful and effective, but what made the deepest impression on me was her warm and non-shaming way of framing the work of the daily anonymous student featured in her favorite "no."

    The emotional intelligence of her framing deserves special mention and analysis. I noticed that the first actual question she asks is, "what in that problem am I *HAPPY* to see?"

    What a warm and inclusive way of celebrating the productive practice aspect of doing mathematics -- that as long as you are exhibiting some kind of synapse activity, we have something quite powerful we can work with!

    And not only did she ask that question, she repeats her question and several variations on it several times. I went and downloaded the transcript to count how many variations she used of her same question, keeping the whole-class emphasis on the productive and positive aspects of the work:

    - "What do I like about this problem. Yep."
    - "Very nice. And, what..."
    - "They distributed, and what, what lets you know
    that they distributed? David?"
    - "There are no more parentheses, and they didn't
    just drop the parentheses..."
    - "Distributing negative two to negative six is
    positive 12. And that was one mistake I was
    absolutely looking for, and I did not see, which
    made me very happy."

    How many of us repeat and reframe the positives over and over this many times in a single activity? By my count, this is six distinctly different mentions of what was done correctly in working the problem.

    I contrasted this with her three specific questions about the flaws in the work.

    Her ratio of actual time spent on the 'what went right' versus time spent on 'what went wrong' was almost 2 to 1.

    This video made me realize how much more effective it is to spend *that* much time on what went right in a problem versus where it went off the rails.

    I really hearted this approach to boosting engagement with discouraged learners.

    Also, to Bowman's and Nick's point (and others), I noticed that she manages the 30 or so seconds it takes her to sort the cards by using a 'narrated wait time' technique as she sorted, saying, "Yes, no, yes, yes, yes, no...." I also noticed, upon watching a second time, that the kids were mesmerized during this narrated wait time, as if (perhaps) they were watching to see whether *their* work would be the "favorite 'no'" chosen!

    Anyway, I noticed a number of open mouths during the potential lag time, which is something I also consider a positive indicator of engagement. ;)

    - Elizabeth (aka @cheesemonkeysf on Twitter)

  19. Kate: I love that you found this! Leah, featured in this video, is my colleague in Berkeley and a dear friend.

  20. Gangsta! Not necessarily digging the index cards. Lol! Won't feel like collecting em! I'd rather them do it in their journals, roam around and then show their work using the document camera. Not sure how I feel about the anonymity, but great video nonetheless!


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