Here are the student responses I got from the end-of-year review questions in the Fireworks portfolio. We did not have time to do the complete portfolio so I just had them answer the questions on pg. 421 in the book. I feel like what they have to say is more important than anything I could add. I only had one student to just absolutely say that he wishes he was taught out of the "old" type of textbook. Of course the responses I am sharing below are the "fun" ones for me to read as a teacher. There were some students that talked about how they didn't like that the book was so "wordy" but those same students later admitted to growing more confident and learning how to work in groups. I also had a few students to tell me that they still preferred to work alone but the overwhelming majority had positive things to say about group work. I told my students to be honest with their responses and give good explanations to support their comments. I told them I really wanted to know what they thought.
The first question set included the following:
How was this experience different from your previous work in mathematics? Did you learn the mathematics differently? How was the math itself different?Here are some of the responses: (I really wanted to fix all the grammatical errors...but I didn't because I didn't want to put my "spin" on what they said.)
- The books we used this year was all word problems and that will help me during high school and college.
- Working in a group helped me understand better cause some of them understand better than I did and they helped me understand it better.
- It was more fun with the activities and been taught different.
- ...the mathematics itself was longer and a bit harder also
- My past experiences I didn't understand anything but now everything seems a lot easier. (this is a repeat algebra student)
- This book is also different because it never (is) just straight on work it always has a fun story. Also it helps you a lot more than any other math book.
- We actually learned about real work stuff. We did a POW about having a house, paying bills, etc...
The second question set included the following questions:
How have you changed personally as a result of your experience? Has your confidence in your own ability grown? How has your experience of working with others changed?Student responses:
- Working with others - I've started talking about it more than just trying to work on it.
- I'm more conficent in math now than I ever was. (this comment was repeated by several students)
- All year I've had a group to work and to collaborate with so I do believe I have gotten better working with others.
- My confidence in math has grown a lot because at first I never answered out loud, but now I know that I can do it.
- I don't hate math as much. It's not as hard as it was. My experience of working with others has grown alot and I can talk better with other people. (this student is a very quiet and shy young lady)
- I like working with other people. You get to see what everybody thinks and their ideas. My personality has grown to like math a little bit more. I still kinda don't like it, but I like it more than I did.
- I think I have become more confident. I think I have learned to work with people that I normally don't talk to.
- It's changed (experience working with other) cause if I need help then I can ask my group members.
- It has helped me change by helping me with the word problems to look for clues through the paragraph. I myself had a hard time on word problems till this book helped me out.
- Personally I changed mathematically. My math skills have grown and so has my confidence in my own ability. My experience of working with others has changed like now I can work better with others. I can cooperate with others better. (This student stated in his answers to the first question set that he didn't like the book. I sure did like the results he got though!!)
- Yes my confidence has grown going into ninth grade. I never like working in groups but now I do.
- From a special education student: My confidence grown alot since last semester. It change because I use to just copy people because I didn't know how to do it but now I work together to figure out the answer.
- Working with others gave me more confidence and helped me understand something I didn't know and I could just tell my group and see if they know so we could help each other out.
The last question set had these questions:
What are your mathematics goals for the rest of your high school years? How have those goals changed over the past year and why?Student responses:
- I also would want to keep learning more math cuase it can actually be fun to do.... But this year in math it has been easier for me and I'm getting higher grades.
- My goals have changed because I feel like I'm trying in my math classes and not just copying.
- I wanna keep improving my math skills for the rest of my high school years and beyond that. My goals have changed over the past year because I learned that I can keep improving my math skills.