Reflection: Gradual Release Membrane Mania - Section 3: Mini Lesson: Making Meaning From Text Using The NGSS Crosscutting Concepts


In this lesson, the students work with a three page text.  However, by design, they only read a page of the text in this lesson.  One of the pages is read in a previous lesson and one of these pages is read in a future lesson.  Working with critical thinking while reading is taxing work for the middle school brain, I have found much greater results when working with these strategies in small "chunks".  Gradually building independence with short texts can result in students applying the strategies more successfully. 

For example, in the previous lesson, I model what I am thinking about as I read the text and model the strategy the students will be using.  Then, in the next lesson, the students practice with a short text on their own.  After that, in a future lesson, the students read the remainder of the text and even share their discourse and connections to the crosscutting concepts verbally with classmates.  Asking for an increased level of independence in short "chunks" can increase student development.  

In addition, one piece of this "gradual release" is the use of formative assessments and small group conferencing.  In the previous lesson, the students completed a formative assessment where they demonstrated using the reading strategies they apply here.  I sort those formative assessments into stacks of similar learners.  During the time in this lesson where students begin to try this independently, I can pull groups of learners that I know need extra supports based on their formative assessments.  For them, the release may need to be even more "gradual" so I must adjust my instruction accordingly.

  Gradual Release - Using Short Texts to Practice Reading Strategies
  Gradual Release: Gradual Release - Using Short Texts to Practice Reading Strategies
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Membrane Mania

Unit 7: Cells: Structure, Function, and Processes
Lesson 10 of 12

Objective: Students will be able to develop and use a model to describe the function of a cell as a whole and ways parts of cells contribute to the function.

Big Idea: Students use garbage bags, wads of paper, and starburst to create different models of cell membranes and diffusion!

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