Teaching Tip: The Pop Quiz to Top All Pop Quizzes Ever!

Today as my students in Mexican American History II and then in Texas History entered the classroom I announced that we were going to have a pop quiz and that this pop quiz would top all pop quizzes ever, anywhere. This prompted a variety of entertaining reactions and prompted a great deal of laughter!

Next week during the Final Exam period students will be doing 7-10 minute presentations over their semester projects. Today, I had them give practice presentations as the pop quiz to top all pop quizzes. Students did not know anything at all about this in advance, so they had minutes to “prepare.”

And, like the previous times I have done this exercise, they did excellent!! 

It works, in part, because students don’t have time to get nervous.

This exercise also shows them that they already know (and have internalized) a great deal of information about their topics without specifically preparing or prating. It helps increase their confidence.

At the same time, it shows them in the real environment what they need to work on, revisit, or polish a bit. They figure this out on their own and get to hear my feedback, as well as feedback from students in the class.

I think it also works because, unfortunately, it will be the only time a few of them practice.

For some, it might have been the first time to practice. Procrastination is always an issue, starting is also always an issue. And we solved that today–a week and two days before students do the real thing.

Students can always use more practice discussing their research, presenting their research, and answering questions live about their research, so it was a great class day and, I’d say, a great use of class time.

It’s always fun doing something different and surprising, too. 

We also spent some time talking about the importance of “dressing up” a bit for professional presentations and necessity of developing strategies to connect with audiences.

Dr. Andrew Joseph Pegoda