Instructional Closings

Synopsis

My colleagues and I have students write a Synopsis of their learning after every Independent Learning Zone period as well as after Live Investigations. The Synopsis acts as a reflective tool for both large and small concepts. I often tell my students to write what they actually learned or improved upon, not what they THINK I want them to write. I train my students to make a space for the Synopsis in their notebook headings. Occasionally, I will have my students read their Synopses out loud, but most often I walk around and do a quick check, as they are mostly a personal reflection for my students.

Strategy Resources (3)
Students In Action
 
 
Poster
 
 
This is a slide in our Town Hall presentation that we deliver at the beginning of the year to an entire cohort of students. Every student uses the same heading and creates a space for the Synopsis.
Student Work Sample
 
 
This is an example of a Synopsis. Brief and to the point, but clearly shows the learning from the class.
Students In Action
 
 
Poster
 
 
This is a slide in our Town Hall presentation that we deliver at the beginning of the year to an entire cohort of students. Every student uses the same heading and creates a space for the Synopsis.
Student Work Sample
 
 
This is an example of a Synopsis. Brief and to the point, but clearly shows the learning from the class.
Aaron Kaswell
Middle School 88 Peter Rouget
Brooklyn, NY


 

About this strategy

Prep Time:
Moderate
Subject:
Math
Grades:
Sixth grade, Seventh grade, Eighth grade
Similar Strategies
Collaborative Student Groups
Collaborative Station Activities

Students are being asked to create, think, read and write and increasingly higher levels and standards. Being able to reach kids at their ZPD is critical to making sure they meet and hopefully exceed these standards. When students are working collaboratively, they are learning teamwork, practicing CCSS speaking and listening skills and learning from each other - all essential elements for instructing the whole child. It is important for students to have the opportunity to experience and practice using different learning modalities.

 
Independent Student Learning
Like It, Love It, Gotta Have It

Like It-Love It-Gotta Have It is a strategy I use to differentiate assignments within my micro-groups in a Live Investigation. The three names are, in my opinion, a better way of saying high, medium and low. The kids really love the names. In a Live Investigation, there is usually varying levels of abillity or knowledge in that particular skill. By making a high, medium, and low activity, students have the ability to challenge themselves at their own level. I assign different parts of the room for each activity so I can physically see where the students are. Most of the time, I let the students self-assess and they move throughout the room according to which level they are. They are free to move (up or down) from one section to the next. Most of the activites I assign here are digital. I really like using Khan Academy here, as I can track students physically as well as digitally. With this strategy, I can also target the students at the Like It level and allow the Gotta Have it students to fly a bit on their own. 

 
Routines and Procedures
Positioning

Positioning is a strategy I use, especially at the beginning of the school year, to ensure that my students know where they should go, what they will do at each station, and how much time they will spend at each station. Positioning occurs after I welcome the class (please see the "Opening Bell" strategy video) and before they begin rotating. I typically project the group assignment page from our class website onto the smart board and do a few quick checks for understanding before I let students go to their stations. 

 
 
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