Six Degrees of Separation
There are multiple ways to use this strategy. One is a Worksheet Buster game that evaluates and deepens students' understanding of the assignment but doesn't fully "grade" the assignment. The other is individual and grades two teacher-selected problems from the assignment.
Six Degrees of Separation, Homework Edition is similar to the standard game. You may have heard of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, a theory that any two people on earth are connected to Kevin Bacon in six connections or less. The homework edition of this game similarly theorizes that any two questions are connected in six connections or less.
For the Worksheet Buster game, assign each student one problem from the assignment. Pair students off. Partners compare their answers to both problems and agree on the correct answers. Then they discuss how those two items are connected. Share the thought prompts from Homework Gallery Walk and examples (below) to encourage students to make connections. At the end of your designated time, each partnership shares how they connected their two problems. Play again by assigning different problems or having students keep their problem but work with a different partner to make brand new connections.
Students may find it helpful to use resources like their text book, notes, designated web sites, etc to find out more about the content to be able to make connections. How great--students having a reason to use their textbook or notes! Students looking to find out more about the content! Going beyond the assignment!
Have fewer problems than students? Duplicate the numbers you're using. Multiple students can do the same problem and be paired with a different number to form an entirely different connection. Or multiple pairs can do the same problems and compare connections.
You can have partnerships fill out the form that goes with the teacher-selected version or play the game to help students get the idea, then have them do the teacher-selected form for you to grade.
The teacher-selected form used allows you to grade two key problems from the assignment. Prior to using, consider the assignment and pick two significant problems. Indicate them on the form or on the board. Students then complete the form and turn in, allowing you to see their answers to the two problems and also evidence of their understanding of the rest of the assignment and the covered content. This could even be used as a bell-ringer at the beginning of class to kill two birds with one stone!
As you can see from the examples, there's not one right path. The value of this exercise for you, as the teacher, is to see your students' thinking. Some may connect the problems literally. Some may connect the processes. Some may pull knowledge from beyond the assignment. You're not just checking two homework problems--you're glimpsing their thought process.
-You could also use Six Degrees as a Lecture Buster without a worksheet--ask students to connect any two ideas from your content. A character to an event, a character to another character, an event to a historical figure, one vocabulary term to another term, etc. By having all students connect the same two ideas and then sharing the various ways they connected those concepts, you'll generate deep conversation and memorable connections that improve learning AND quickly gauge how well your students are understanding what you're teaching.