Reflection: Student Ownership Day Three of Plaid Pete and Friends Build A Model Ecosystem - Section 4: Team/Pairs Activity


Building Student Ownership for Learning

"Mrs. Miller, I have a question.  I wonder about . . . Oh.  You're not going to tell me the answer.  Are you?"  I just smile.  Now you are learning!

I wait for this moment every year.  Sometimes it happens in November, sometimes in December, and then sometimes - not until January.  It hardly ever happens in October, or sooner.  It takes them awhile to figure out that I am not the large vessel of knowledge in the classroom - the one with all of the answers.  I will help them look for the answers - and point them in the right direction, but I won't give them the answers.  The best part is when they start to realize that they can find the answers - either on their own, or even better - with the help of their peers.  

"No.  I am not going to tell you if the answer is correct on your study guide.  Yes, we will eventually go over the study guide - but not until you probably have all of the correct answers anyway, so you might as well go check your answers with somebody else."  There is a method to my madness - because if they are talking about the answers I know they are reviewing the material in some fashion.

Building Student Ownership for Behavior and Self Management


As the year progresses, I also allow my students the freedom to start making some choices about whom they work with.  However, this is not done without considerable preparation.  If I did this at the beginning of the school year - they would choose their best buddy, and rather than productive time spent reviewing for a test; we would have 5th Grade social hour. 


I spend a great deal of time asking questions - "Is this a good choice for you?  Will this partnership/team/group be productive?  Would another choice help you be more successful?"  This is a far better strategy than saying, "You can't work with _____ because you talk too much and are off task; or "______ is not a good partner for you because you don't make good choices."

The questions ask students to reflect on their behavior.  It offers them the opportunity to self manage and places the locus of control for their behavior on them.  The sentences pass judgement on their behavior and the locus of control stays with me.  The problem with that is that as soon as I turn my back or become distracted with another task - they have lost their manager!

  Building Ownership for Learning & Behavior: It's a Process!
  Student Ownership: Building Ownership for Learning & Behavior: It's a Process!
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Day Three of Plaid Pete and Friends Build A Model Ecosystem

Unit 2: Plaid Pete Discovers What Matters in Ecosystems
Lesson 19 of 20

Objective: SWBAT collaboratively construct a model ecosystem and create diagrammatic models to show transfers of matter and energy within that ecosystem.

Big Idea: What can be learned by observing a model ecosystem? Students collect data, use their physical models to examine matter and energy transfers within ecosystems, and begin a study guide for the unit test.

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