This email was passed on by one of the teachers in the Maggie Group.
At one point in my life – a long time ago – it was normal to assign a zero if work was not done. But – the “assignments” section of a student’s mark was no more than 10%, and they had a week to do each assignment – with teacher help if they wanted. This worked quite well, and most students did their assignments and did well.
As years went on, I found this less effective. Students changed and so did I.
I was then introduced to an idea by Kim Schonert-Reichl, a psychologist. She called it a “2 by 10”. It has really worked for me to get those who don’t tend to do the practice they probably need. It’s an idea that is so simple and which most of us know works, but by giving it a name and consciously applying it … it helped.
Take the student who is not getting work done (or who causes disruptions, or whatever). Give him/her 2 minutes of undivided time 10 classes in a row (thus 2 by 10) and you will see a difference. I usually see it by the third day. By the 10th day, I hardly recognize the student. A former student from about 6 years ago still comments when he sees me how I changed his attitude to math (I hadn’t explained the 2 by 10 to him – I just applied it.)
(as emailed to the B.C. Association of Math Teachers)