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We came into class and we watched this video about the metric system. It was a video on YouTube because we were learning about the metric system and converting measurements. Then we watched a BrainPop video. After that we took notes on the order of the metric system: kilo, hecto, deka, unit, deci, centi, and milli. Our teacher also taught us an easy way to remember it: King Henry Doesn’t Usually Drink Chocolate Milk. Then we went over about converting them, for example converting 1 kilogram equals 1,000 grams. We did some practice problems and then went over them. We also got a chart that said ‘kilo, hecto, deka, unit, deci, centi, and milli,’ and we wrote things underneath it like ‘1 meter = 100 centimeters’ and ‘1 dekameter = 10,000 millimeters.’ Then we got homework about converting the measurements and we went over it together the next day.
After our mid-year exams, I take the time to ask the girls to evaluate their experience with the exam. They fill out an evaluation worksheet which asks them the following questions: 1. Describe at least two things you did well on the exam. (Be thorough and complete in your explanation! Don’t just give problem numbers but give lots of information about how you approached your work.) 2. Was the exam about what you expected? (Describe the differences and similarities to your expectations.) 3. Describe the kinds of mistakes you made on the multiple-choice section. 4. Describe the kinds of mistakes you made on the short-answer section. 5. How did you study? (Tell about the different activities you did to prepare and how long you spent on each. Try to be thorough.) 6. If you could change two things about how you studied, what would the two things be? (Be specific and describe these in detail. Don’t just say, “study more!”) 7. Looking over the exam once more, which topics do you have totally "nailed"? Which topics need additional work? I then asked the girls to go through the exam and make corrections as they had time and knew how. (For 8th grade Algebra).

The students spent a diligent hour digging into the exam. They evaluated their experience with the exam and their preparation. Our girls, and girls in general says the research, appreciate the opportunity to verbalize their feelings about an activity and this allowed them to work through their emotions as they processed their performance. They begin to react to the learning they demonstrated and what they were able to demonstrate rather than the grade.

This evaluation has also become a good tool in not only my conversations with the girls about the exam but also with other teachers, administrators and with parents. Algebra is a topic which often elicits deep emotions and a feeling of helplessness and/or pride in those who study it. Many girls have commented on how much they realized that they had done correctly and on how much they had learned over the course of the semester, even as they were not happy with the grade that they earned.