IMPACT Live!

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  • 1.  IMPACT in Action - Small Changes for a Big IMPACT

    Posted 14 days ago
    What is something small you've changed in your classroom that has had a big impact on student success?

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    Kelly Spoon
    Associate Professor
    San Diego Mesa College
    San Diego CA
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  • 2.  RE: IMPACT in Action - Small Changes for a Big IMPACT

    Posted 13 days ago
    In my face to face classes, my goal every class is to say my students name during class twice.  This does not count calling roll. It's a challenge at the beginning of the semester but it connects me to students.  Having those connections makes it easier for students to reach out for help because they have a relationship with me.

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    Vicki Todd
    Southwestern CC
    Sylva NC
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  • 3.  RE: IMPACT in Action - Small Changes for a Big IMPACT

    Posted 11 days ago
    I second the importance of learning student names from day 1. My students love it when I see them on campus and can call them by name.

    Another small change that I made was to eliminate penalties for late homework. I use deadlines to provide structure and focus, but I allow students to keep working on problems after the deadline without any penalty. My penalty had been so small (5%, so they could re-do problems to get a score of 95% on every homework assignment), that it didn't really hurt their grade. But, it was really discouraging for students when they missed a deadline. I found that not having a penalty provided a positive psychological boost for my students who were already facing some external stress or pressure.

    So, I like to provide structure and a timeline with deadlines, but give them flexibility to go along with it. It has worked much better for me than just moving my deadlines to be for each test or for the end of the semester.

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    Jennifer Ackerman
    Jefferson CTC
    Louisville KY
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  • 4.  RE: IMPACT in Action - Small Changes for a Big IMPACT

    Posted 11 days ago
    I have done something similar. I like the structure of due dates; my students say it helps them stay on task. I give a three-day grace period for anything that needs to be handed in (assignment, quiz, test, project, etc.). There is no penalty if the item is submitted within the 3-day grace period.  I also have an extension request form on my class page in the LMS. If students need an extension beyond the 3-day grace period, they can fill out the form to request it. This has worked well for me.

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    Celeste Petersen
    Mathematics Instructor
    Clatsop CC
    Astoria OR
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  • 5.  RE: IMPACT in Action - Small Changes for a Big IMPACT

    Posted 11 days ago
    Agreed that just knowing student names is so important. Students always seem impressed that I learn all their names and it's such a little thing. To help with this, I have used name tents that I pass out each class - I know it seems a little K-12, but I tell students it's so they learn each other's names too. I always tell them how I end up in some meeting at school and it's far too late for me to figure out a colleagues name that I should already know. 

    I also like Jennifer's note about due dates. This Spring semester, one of my exams ended up being due on Mother's Day. After realizing, I decided to reach out to extend the deadline for anyone who had plans or needed more time to study. I even sent personal messages to the students who had shared that they were mothers and to a student who I knew was caring for her mother who was ill to wish them a happy mother's day. At the end of the class, one of them emailed and included this in her message "I appreciated so much when you reached out on mothers day to me to extend my exam. That's not something I ever would have asked for myself, so it really meant a lot to me that you thought about me and reached out." I likely spent less than 10 minutes sending emails, posting an announcement, and adjusting the close date in Canvas… and students saw that I cared more about them than an arbitrary deadline I had set at the beginning of the semester.

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    Kelly Spoon
    Associate Professor
    San Diego Mesa College
    San Diego CA
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  • 6.  RE: IMPACT in Action - Small Changes for a Big IMPACT

    Posted 10 days ago
    To reinforce the importance of these small changes, we had our annual faculty PD day and our speaker, Dr. Luis Ponjuan from Texas A & M, said, "the Magic Formula for teaching: KNOW YOUR STUDENTS' NAMES. Know and use their CORRECT name." He also gave some practical advice, "Don't say, 'I'm never going to remember that' or 'can I call you ______ instead?' Repeat their name after they introduce themselves, 'I really want to say it correctly, can you teach me?'" with the reminder that It's ok to practice pronouncing names correctly.

    He was an engaging speaker with plenty of great advice about things faculty can do to create the best conditions for students to succeed. He introduced me to the idea of microaffirmations "to counter balance microaggressions that people face; they show that faculty care and respect them." and he listed these eight suggestions (slightly paraphrased, based on my notes):
    1. Say their name, correctly
    2. Know their story
    3. Learn to listen
    4. Confront microaggressions
    5. Encourage them to share
    6. Appreciate their funds of knowledge
    7. Create safe spaces
    8. How am I going to be more humble as a professor
    If you have an opportunity to hear Dr. Ponjuan speak, I highly recommend it.
    Near the end of his presentation, he said, "You don't have to be the sage on the stage, you just need to be courageous" and that's exactly what this month's discussion is all about!

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    Jennifer Ackerman
    Jefferson CTC
    Louisville KY
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  • 7.  RE: IMPACT in Action - Small Changes for a Big IMPACT

    Posted 13 days ago
    I have semi flipped my face to face  classes and only do a brief summary of material. Most of the class period is spent working in groups on activities.

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    Celeste Petersen
    Mathematics Instructor
    Clatsop CC
    Astoria OR
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  • 8.  RE: IMPACT in Action - Small Changes for a Big IMPACT

    Posted 9 days ago
    Yes, I completely agree about the positive effect when we show that we care about our students, learn their names, and get to know them a bit (e.g., through a "Getting to Know You" journal where they share about their major, career aspirations, units they are taking, expectations, etc.).

    However, that's not what I wanted to mention; a strategy that worked well regarding math learning was letting students do a group activity and then present their work to the class (with subsequent submission to Canvas within a day or two). On campus, they can directly write on the board or have their work projected using the document camera. Online, they can share written work (or a snapshot of it) in Zoom. These presentations do not take much time - usually, it takes a few minutes per exercise and benefit everyone - the presenter and peers. Initially, it was hard to figure out group work online. Still, thanks to shared examples of a few colleagues, including Manisha Ranade's advice to use Google Slides where students post their work, it worked out well eventually.

    This summer, I attended the math modeling workshop with MAA and the SIMIODE team; there are great modeling scenarios to facilitate active learning.
    Thanks,
    Violeta

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    Violeta Kovacev-Nikolic
    Full time faculty
    College of the Canyons
    Santa Clarita CA
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  • 9.  RE: IMPACT in Action - Small Changes for a Big IMPACT

    Posted 2 days ago

    I always do group work but this semester, I want to do something so that each group needs to present a problem to the class. They will rotate between presenters in the group. What I am afraid of is that students will be apprehensive to present so I thought we could start with more hand holding - I will make sure that their process is correct before they present.  I would like to know what others think about this if you have tried something similar.

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    Vicki Todd
    Southwestern CC
    Sylva NC
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  • 10.  RE: IMPACT in Action - Small Changes for a Big IMPACT

    Posted 2 days ago
    Hi Vicki! I love this question. I used to do something that I think could help with that process (this was before the Building Thinking Classrooms rage). I'd have students randomly assigned to groups using cards "Apple 1, Apple 2, Apple 3, Apple 4, Banana 1, etc." I'd put a question up on the board for all the groups to work on. After a certain amount of time, I'd randomly select a # to write their current work on the boards (each group had a board space) - I'd also ask students who had interesting solutions or errors to put their work up on the boards too. I think it lessened some of the anxiety about putting their work out there because:
    • they had been able to get support and ask questions within their group already
    • they were writing up their solution at the same time as 10 other students
    • I tried to value interesting mistakes or places to get stuck when we chatted about the different approaches

    My colleague who I got this from had a final step that I didn't do, which was to randomly select a group and that person had to explain their work. This could be a nice step towards what you're looking to do. ​

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    Kelly Spoon
    Associate Professor
    San Diego Mesa College
    San Diego CA
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