Math = Love: Keep, Change, Start, & Stop Reflections

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Keep, Change, Start, & Stop Reflections

Y'all are probably getting tired of reading my end of year reflections.  Back in January, I gave my students a chance to reflect on how the year had progressed up until that point.  I asked for their feedback regarding what they wanted to keep the same, what they wanted to change, what they felt like we should start doing, and what they felt like we should stop doing.

Blank Keep, Change, Start, & Stop Form

I posted the Keep / Change / Start / Stop form and my own resolutions for the new semester, but I never shared my students' feedback.  Since many of the forms contained repeat advice, I have notated this below.

For example, 27 of my students said that we should keep doing interactive notebooks.  Yay!  24 of my students think that I should stop assigning homework.  Not going to happen, guys!  2 students noted that I should remain their teacher.  That's a relief!  I was surprised by how many times my Star Student bulletin board was mentioned.  This year, if a students scored an 85% or above on a unit test, their name was written on a star on the bulletin board.  12 students suggested that I lower the percentage to 80 or even 70 percent.  My students obviously want to see their names written on a star!

My students do not have a taste for classical music.  15 students asked me to change the background music I play in class.  I did a really good job of playing music during the first semester, but I rarely played music during the second semester.  Maybe I just got frustrated after reading these reflection forms and quit???  My Algebra 2 students were quite opinionated about whether they preferred Unit Tests or SBG Quizzes.  We made the switch part of the way through the first semester.

Other notable pieces of feedback...  My students hate the fact that I write the date as a math problem.  Good Things Monday and Funny Fridays were a big hit.  25 students suggested that we keep doing them! My students also wanted to play more games, earn free homework passes, and have the ability to earn extra credit.

One of my students didn't exactly follow the directions.  Instead, she wrote her own Keep / Change / Start / Stop Resolutions.  I think I might have my students do this at the end of every nine weeks as a personal reflection.

Students' Personal Resolutions
Here are almost all of their suggestions.  I tried to group similar comments together.


Keep the notebook. X27
Keep doing the star students thing. X5
Keep the fun work.
Keep the privilege of setting where we want.
Keep the hands-on learning.
Keep the labs we do like the twizzlers thing.
Keep cut outs for notebook.
Keep seating arrangement.
Keep logarithms.
Keep graphs.
Keep adding and subtracting radicals.
Keep Good Things Mondays and Funny Fridays. X25
Keep the new grading system (SBG). X5
Keep learning calculators.
Keep boardwork. X3
Keep being crazy / being yourself.
Keep playing math games. X12
Keep getting up and explaining more.
Keep creative learning.
Keep the zombie game. X4
Keep giving us instructions for what we need for class.
Keep factoring. X3
Keep function/not a function.
Keep having to use the calculators.
Keep Ms. Hagan X2
Keep the SMART Board.
Keep the way you teach.
Keep going over stuff.
Keep the math fun.
Keep being an awesome teacher.
Keep group work. X2
Keep the desks the way they are.
Keep the multiple choice tests instead of the SBG quizzes.  It's easier that way.
Keep the fun math games.
Keep the funny jokes coming.  They make my day!
Keep doing arts and crafts.
Keep daily celebrations.
Keep letting us work together.
Keep using calculators on tests.
Keep doing origami.


Change the music. X15
Change the star student percentage. X12
Change the morning bellwork. X2
Give extra credit. X4
Change multiplying radicands.
Change the amount of homework you give us.  You give us so much, and I fall behind. X3
Change the quizzes.  It's kinda annoying when you make a 3 and you have to do 2 more problems!
More hexaflexagons and jokes!
Change notes.
Change tests.
More hands-on activities.
Change back to teaching the box method and the airplane method.
More help with the calculators.
Explanation on homework.
More activities.
Change the wall color and carpet.
Change the way we sit in class. X2
Change the way we do so much work.
Change nothing.
Change everything.
Change the people in 3rd hour.
Change hard work to easy work.
Make the notebooks more creative.
Go through stuff slower. X3
Change where the boys sit.  They never shut up. X5
Change the color of paper.
Change Good Things Monday to Bad Things Monday. X4
Change markers, boards, and erasers. X2
Change these hard calculators!
Change how we do the notebook.
Change dry erase markers out weekly.
Change some posters around.
Change the way some students just boss you around.  Show em whose the boss!
Change the seating arrangement. X2
Change the distributive property.
Don't do that much work.  Don't do that much math.
Change gluing.
When we take a test and don't finish it, we shouldn't have to take our own time to finish it because I will forget.
Need better glue and better scissors.
Ms. Hagan's attitude needs to be nicer.
Just help us more.
Change the way the classroom is arranged.
Change tardies.


Start having more time in class to do work. X5
Start giving an award for star students.
Start giving us free homework passes. X14
Start grading papers faster. X4
Start playing more games. X10
Start watching movies.
Start using calculators.
Start fun projects.
Start giving more group work/group projects. X8
Start having tutoring sessions after school.
Start ACT Prep. X2
Start giving prizes to star students.
Start giving bonus points. X4
Start giving make-up days. X2
Review days.
Start doing more notebook work! X2
Start having free days.
Start doing more things like Good Things and Funny Fridays. X2
Start going outside. X2
Start giving pop quizzes.
Start playing soccer.
Start taking naps and having parties.
Start going over homework with us. X2
Start being rude to the kids that don't ever shut up.
Start giving harder work.
Start hitting bad students.
Start giving less work.
Start giving less tests.
Start bringing me presents when I do my homework.
Start telling more jokes from that little boy.
Start giving candy for right answers. X2
Start writing the date normally. X2
Start having more hands-on activities in class.
Start doing more crafts.
Start rewarding us.
Start giving us bigger tests.
Start having certain days for students to come in after school for extra work.
Start making people be quiet.
Start giving more quizzes instead of tests.
Start having class projects.
Talk about our work more.
Start having Terrifying Tuesdays.
Start having math parties. X2
Start using roman numerals.
Start playing the zombie game more.
Start doing more fun things.
Start having weekly celebrations.
Start taking field trips.
Start making math fun.
Start letting us use notes on our tests. X3
Start making sure everyone gets it.


Stop assigning homework. X24
Stop waiting to grade the papers.
Stop taking as many notes. X2
Stop giving us hard work. X2
Stop letting [a certain student] be loud.
Stop logarithms!
Stop radicals.
Stop combining like terms.
Stop the math jargon.  Could you dumb it down and make it easier to understand?
Stop not giving stickers.  Give more! 
Stop nothing.
Stop playing stupid music.
Stop factoring.
Stop passing back papers.
Stop reviewing before the test.
Stop notebooks. X5
Stop having us glue stuff.
Stop card games.
Stop allowing [a certain student] to speak.
Stop everything.
Stop doing so much WORK!
Stop worksheets.
Stop allowing [a certain student] to sing. X2
Stop interruptions.
Stop talking!
Stop yelling.
Stop giving easy work.
Stop [a certain student] from copying!!! X2
Stop not hitting bad students.
Stop bellwork. X5
Stop using calculators as much.
Stop having nonworking dry erase markers.
Stop giving tests.
Stop making us show work because I do it better in my head. X2
Stop Good Things Mondays.  Mondays aren't good.
Stop letting the loud people sit next to each other.  It's so annoying.
Stop doing all math.  Stop doing work period. X2
Stop hard work.
Stop going so fast.
Stop working so hard.
Stop changing the desks around. X2


  1. That is an awesome journal prompt, and I'm going to steal it for my kids! I teach at an "alternative" program that just started two years ago, so we're still going through our growing pains. We are trying hard to get our kids to be more reflective, and I think this would fit the bill nicely.

    1. Steal away! I've found that providing my students with a structure such as this really focuses their reflection. Good luck!

  2. So, I realize this is probably the least important aspect of your post, but about the music...

    I prefer instrumental music for the classroom (less distracting, don't have to worry about appropriateness of lyrics, etc.) but as a whole, my kids are not fans of classical music. Frankly, classical music isn't my go-to choice outside of school, either. A couple of years ago, I was introduced to Vitamin String Quartet--hundreds of songs ranging from Taylor Swift to Tupac, all recorded by a string quartet. I've also recently had success with the Hans Zimmer pandora station.

    1. No, this is AWESOME! I don't listen to classical music on my own time either. (Though, my students think I do!) I just looked them up on youtube, and I'm super impressed. I think my students will be too. Now, I just have to find a way to figure out how to play these at school. They have youtube and pandora blocked. I have all summer to figure it out, though. Or, I could always bribe our tech guy with cookies or something to unblock it on just my computer... :)

      You have seriously made my day! My students will definitely thank you!

  3. Awesome info about the music by string quartet! I was hoping to find out more about the zombie game that the kids mentioned.... Sounds fun! :)

    1. Here's a link to where I originally wrote about the Zombie Game. I called the game something else, but it quickly became known as the Zombie Game.

      Here's how I explained it a couple of months ago in a comment on another blog:

      Well, it started out with a different title, but it has evolved into just being called the Zombie Game. My students are obsessed with it, and they don’t want to play anything else.

      Here’s how it goes. Decide how many lives you want each student to have. The more lives students have, the longer the game will last. Each student writes their name on the board (one life) and puts X’s for any additional lives you have granted them. For example, we usually play with each student having four lives. So, students write their name plus three X’s on the board below their name.

      I put a problem up on the Smart Board for students to solve. Each student solves the problem independently on their mini dry erase boards. You could set a timer for this, or just say stop when you think students have had an ample amount of time to solve the problem. When you say stop, students have to hold up their answers to be checked. If a student answers correctly, they now have the right to take away one of their classmate’s lives. I go over the correct answer/procedure and then give the students who answered correctly a few seconds to erase an X under someone’s name.

      A person becomes a zombie after the X’s beneath their name and their name have been erased. They still solve the problems. And, they can erase X’s from other players. But, they cannot win the game. The game is over when only one person remains “alive.” My students get very competitive. They start to form alliances, and they are always anxious to get to the next problem.

    2. Dear Sarah,

      I have been wondering about your game (not using it, unfortunately, because I teach online for adults, mostly asynchronously) and considering a little variation:

      a) students with correct answers could take lives only from students with incorrect answers, unless there is none alive.

      b) zombies with correct answers can take lives from anyone.

      Have you tried something like that? Would/did it work?

    3. I like this twist! It would give zombies more incentive to keep participating actively!