Reflection: Adjustments to Practice Investigating the Evidence for Evolution (Day 3 of 4) - Section 4: The Classroom Flow: Prepping for Tomorrow's Activity


When I first began to realize that students were willing to come in on their own time in order to create great visual work for activities like this one, I was really generous with my classroom, keeping it open at every possible break for a week or more to accommodate different teams.  However, I found that this did not always produce the experience I wanted students to have:  in many groups one single person would be the only one able or willing to come in outside of the class session and wound up doing a much larger share of the work than was appropriate; other groups came in together, but seemed to get very little done.

I have approached this student need for additional time and my desire for quality work and eagerness to encourage student engagement in the learning process in a different way now and it seems to be working in ways that promote more equitable group experiences and effective time management.  Here is my short list of ways to foster these values, practices, and experiences for both you and your students:

1.  Announce and post when you intend to have the classroom available for additional studio time.  Make sure the times work for you.  Preferably, include at least one lunch and one after school session.

2. Require that groups will tell you ahead of time of their plans to come in so that you can check in with them about what they need to do. This way you can determine if the issue is work time or if the students are actually stuck due to a misunderstanding or confusion about the content itself.

3. Require that student groups agree upon a time that they all can come in together for work.  This makes it a necessity that each student treat the activity with equal priority/value.  I am very rigorous about this and do not allow student groups to work unless every member is present.  If this is an issue and the students who show up express frustration with their missing members, we can agree to arrange a quick end of class meeting in order to organize more efficiently.

4.  Set time limits for studio sessions outside of class time.  I find lunch time (35 minutes) works well and that after school sessions should be limited to 30 minutes.  

5.  Keep the room for student groups that are actively working; no casual hang outs or visiting buddies allowed for these sessions!   I announce this in class and gently remind any groups that bring in extra friends to the sessions.  This ensures that students stay focused and on task so that they make the most of their time without infringing upon other activities and obligations.

6.  Thank student groups for their time and efforts as they leave their additional studio time sessions!  This is a choice that they are making and it is wonderful to know and see through their actions that the work you do together in class is meaningful to them.  

I hope these ideas help you craft an environment that encourages and supports student effort and work!

  Addressing Student Requests for Additional Time with Equity in Mind
  Adjustments to Practice: Addressing Student Requests for Additional Time with Equity in Mind
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Investigating the Evidence for Evolution (Day 3 of 4)

Unit 8: Unit 8: Evolution & Biological Diversity
Lesson 8 of 11

Objective: SWBAT identify, describe, and analyze the four major areas of scientific evidence for evolution.

Big Idea: Use this jigsaw activity and research paper analysis to get students analyzing the different types of scientific evidence in support of evolution!

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