Reflection: Accountability Density - Section 2: Do Now/Activator


Cold call is a basic classroom structure that our school uses to keep students on their toes. Here is how it works. On the first day of school every student fills out an index card with their name on it. I have a pile for each class. I call on students randomly using the cards. The cards help me to make sure I call on every student periodically. Students do not know when I will call on them, but for students with social-emotional or processing speed challenges I may give them advance warning. Students who are able to show that they are paying attention earn a positive effort grade. They can do this by either providing a correct answer or by offering some evidence that they have been following the class discussion. Students who cannot earn a negative effort grade. 

Closely associated with this concept is no opt out. This means that if a student does not know an answer, another student will be cold-called. Once we find the correct answer, students who were unable to provide the correct answer are either asked to restate the correct answer in their own words, or show an increased understanding with a similar question.

At the beginning of the year it is important to point out to students that this system is designed to increase the accountability and flow of the class, and it is not designed to call someone out. Students can keep the class moving by simply saying I am not sure and I can come back to them at a subsequent date. I am careful not to sound judgmental in front of the whole class when a student does not know an answer or was not paying attention, but I do check in with the student later. If the student is having a bad day (siclk, family problems, etc) I empathize, and if they just were not paying attention, I remind them of the importance of doing so.

  Cold call
  Accountability: Cold call
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Unit 1: Chemical and Physical Properties
Lesson 6 of 11

Objective: Students will be able to conceptually and mathematically explain the concept of density.

Big Idea: Density, the ratio of mass to volume, is a tool that can be used to describe and identify substances.

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  60 minutes
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