My Favorite KNOW

  • Why My Favorite kNOw?

    My Favorite kNOw (also known as My Favorite No) can provide formative assessment opportunities. My Favorite kNOw is a great way to look at student mistakes anonymously, without shame, and turn them into learning opportunities. Student mistakes are an important tool when it comes to helping students learn. We write it kNOw rather than just NO, because in addition to analyzing the mistake, we look at what the student has done well. My Favorite kNOw can be done with any math topic or content. It takes very little time, so it can be done often and is easily weaved into a class' daily routine.


    Mathematical Practices:

    The specific task used may expand the Mathematical Practice possibilities, but in general, this routine will encourage students to use: 

    SMP 3: Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others

    SMP 6: Attend to precision


    What is My Favorite kNOw?

    In this routine, inspired by Ms. Alcala on The Teaching Channel, students will answer a question and then analyze a wrong answer given by a classmate. This routine allows for the teacher to quickly assess how many students are grasping the concept and for those who are not, what in particular is causing their misunderstanding. It also allows student to engage in Mathematical practice 3 around critiquing the reasoning of others. It is a form of formative assessment that works particularly well as a warm-up to start a class, or as an exit ticket that is then discussed the next day. It is imperative that enough time be allotted for the analysis of the wrong answer, but keeping the routine to around 5-10 mins is the recommendation.


    How do I Implement My Favorite kNOw?

    Share the purpose with students and stress that analyzing the wrong answer is a great opportunity for learning and not about punishing students publicly for wrong answers. Ask students to solve a math problem on an index card or scrape paper, then turn it in to you. This shouldn't take more than a couple of minutes, set a timer if necessary. You would then sort the cards into piles for correct and incorrect answers. Take a moment to find an especially good mistake – one that lots of students make or one that highlights an important math concept. One way to help in this process is to prepare for this when writing the question. Have specific things in mind that you are looking for in the right answers and anticipate where students may show misunderstandings. It's important that you recopy the incorrect answer to a new card, so that student handwriting can’t be recognized. This helps create a safe environment for students. Ask students to identify what was done well. Some possible questions include; What in this problem am I happy to see? What is right? What do you think I like about this answer? Then ask them to find where the mistake occurred. Have them explain and justify their thinking.


    The video above from Ms. Alcala classroom is a good middle school example. The video below is from a 1st grade classroom.


    First Grade My Favorite No. Kari Maurer. 2016. Standard YouTube License. (