Sunday, September 13, 2015

Connect with Students using a +1 Quiz ?

Do you want a practically guaranteed way to learn more about your students and make the important connection with them as a valued student in your classroom? You may be surprised to hear that this can be accomplished by having the students answer a quiz question.  

It is the +1 Quiz ? and it's not my original idea.  I heard about the +1 Quiz ? at a conference a few years ago in which Blaine Ray described how it worked. I also heard about a variation of this on the national news last school year when an elementary school teacher did a variation of the same thing Blaine Ray did. 

What is the +1 Quiz ? ? From what I understand, when Blaine Ray gave a quiz to his students, he told them that they had the opportunity to earn a bonus point if they wrote a sentence at the end of the quiz that was about something happening in their lives.  It could be something they were happy about such as their birthday was in a few days, that they had a game that evening, or something more serious such as their dog recently passed away, or they were nervous about a big geometry test the next day.

I vowed to do this in the past (I even blogged about it HERE, saying I wanted to experiment with it), and actually did it one time last year, but then I get forgetful and don't remember to tell the students about the +1 Quiz ?.

On Friday, one of my classes wrote sentences about the information that they learned about their classmates.  It was a nine point quiz and on the spur of the moment I remembered the +1 Quiz ? and told the students that the quiz was worth 10 points; 1 point for each of the sentences about their classmates and 1 point for writing something about themselves that they wanted to share. I gave them permission to write it in English so they weren't limited in what they wanted to write.

Here are a few of their sentences: 

and the one that absolutely made my day:


As I was reading the papers, I was reacting to them in my thoughts.  Then I decided that I should write those thoughts directly on the paper.  After all, the students wrote something about themselves, I'm sure the students will appreciate some feedback to what they wrote.

I learned a great deal about my students from this little exercise beyond their abilities in Spanish class.  Why did I wait so long to try this?  


  1. I love so many of your posts and ideas, but I feel so overwhelmed by your genius!!! And other teachers. I've been reading blogs and tweets and getting ideas to move towards a better model of teaching. I was taught to use the text book, work book, and test bank. Don't stray. Stop trying to do new things, it's already been done, don't make more work for yourself.

    But this!!! Everything I've read on your blog is so inspirational to me!! I just have NO idea where to even start, though. Any recommendations on moving from traditional drill-and-kill textbook teaching to Comprehensible Input?

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Morgan!
      I also am inspired by other teachers that blog and I have learned a great deal from reading their blogs and talking to them at conferences.

      I can give you some general suggestions on how to switch from traditional teaching to Teaching with Comprehensible Input, but if I know a little more about your work situation, I can give you more useful information that will be more individualized.

      I'd love to chat with you through email about this!!! Could you write another comment that includes your email and then we can communicate through emails. I will not publish your comment with the email, so no worries that your email will be posted for others to see. :-)

      I was fortunate to have a forward thinking professor when I was in college, but unfortunate to do my student teaching with a teacher that was insistent that I "use the text book, work book, and test bank. ....Sop trying to do new things." I've been there too and it is not enjoyable for the teacher or the students.

      Hope to hear from you soon!!