The challenge with teaching an honors class is making sure you have interesting enough questions to keep your smartest students on their toes while not intimidating the hard-working middle of the class into hatred and helplessness.
First exam was Thursday evening, and so Friday’s quiz question was the following:
Have a conversation with the exam you took last night. Was it a victory lap or a street fight? Did it go better or worse than you expected? In the conversation start figuring out what message your exam has for you.
Everyone thought the exam was a formidable opponent. There was plenty they knew how to do, and also some spots where I made them think. Many are concerned to see how they did, but they also express having better knowledge of what to do to prepare and resolve to destroy the next exam.
My favorite comments:
I kind of enjoyed it. I’ve never had a challenging math test. They have always been straightforward and procedural. This one made me think. … This class has been helping me break my habits of memorize, plug and chug. I would not have done well had I used those methods.
I wish you would just give me numbers, but you are an Honors Exam and that’s what I should expect. By the end, I felt better about you. You made me think and you were challenging, but I think we may be friends. … You taught me that I can think through a problem, even if I am not sure where to start.
(This second commenter, a young lady, got a 100 on the exam!)
Now I better hope I can come up with a good next exam …