Ramsay Kubal: Uplift Williams Algebra 2 teacher uses plastic cups to gauge understanding

ramsay kubalAt Uplift Education, teachers have the ability to utilize cutting edge teaching methods to tailor instruction in their classrooms.  Some teachers look to technology to provide a different educational outlet for their students.  Blended learning with tablets is just one of the technology based learning tools used in classrooms across the network.

Uplift Williams Preparatory Algebra 2 teacher Ramsay Kubal uses a non-traditional technology in her classroom.  Ms. Kubal utilizes red and blue disposable cups to help her measure understanding in her classroom.

“I use a solo cup method in my classroom during practice and for checks for understanding. Students have two cups- red and blue – stacked. The cups always stay on blue. However, during independent practice, students may move their cup to red if they are confused. I help individuals with red cups. When the number of red cups reaches a certain point (around 20% or more of students), I bring the class back to clarify, quickly reteach, or address a misconception. I occasionally use the cups in checks for understanding or to poll the class for binary questions – agree/ disagree, true/false etc.,” she explained.

The pragmatic solution to identify gaps in scholar understanding made Uplift Williams AP/DP Dean Robbie Johnson take notice of Ms. Kubal’s work.

“The Red Cup format has allowed Ms. Kubal to effectively engage her scholars in the learning process and has allowed them the platform to take the lead in facilitating their understanding of concepts. The strategy also allows Ms. Kubal to readily identify areas of growth opportunity for scholars and develop lesson plans and activities tailored to those areas,” Ms. Johnson said.

Ms. Kubal’s reliable classroom culture lets scholars know what to expect and when they can expect it. She gives quizzes and tests on the same day. She uses a data driven system that she calls her “Do Now” system to track student and class progress over the course of the week; and her PowerPoint decks all follow the same sequence.

Ms. Kubal credits her colleagues for helping her polish a classroom culture. “There is a wealth of support and resources available for teachers – within a school, network, and beyond. Asking for help allows you to target your specific areas of struggle and attack them for improvement. I am constantly seeking advice and feedback on how to improve student mastery. Whether it be instructional methods, classroom systems, or classroom culture, I continually aim to improve,” she said.

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