Instructional Openings

Demo Discussion

The Demo Discussion is a strategy I use to provide an interesting and memorable in-class demonstration of complex concepts that my students will learn about in class on a given day, using a variety of digital resources. The Demo Discussion is an excellent way to promote student curiosity about scientific phenomena. The "demos" provide access points for my students to witness and wonder about complicated chemical processes that they will eventually explore and understand at a much deeper level. By leveraging additional physical and digital tools, I can facilitate in-depth analysis and support the development of models to explain the science behind the demo. This strategy also allows me to surface my students' questions and interests about the day's Learning Targets (please see the "Learning Targets" strategy video), to which I can refer and make connections throughout our exploration of that content.

Strategy Resources (2)
Teacher In Action
 
 
 
Graphic Organizer
 
 
This Justify - Think, Pair, Share - Compare (J-TPS-C) template is a spin-off of the classic “think, pair, share” strategy used by teachers for years. My goal in tweaking this activity is to have my students understand that justifying their responses with evidence and then comparing them to accepted literature is a valuable part of the scientific process. We say time and time again that any claims made without evidence can be dismissed without evidence, and students reflect that sentiment by justifying their claims with evidence-based reasoning.
 
Teacher In Action
 
 
Graphic Organizer
 
 
This Justify - Think, Pair, Share - Compare (J-TPS-C) template is a spin-off of the classic “think, pair, share” strategy used by teachers for years. My goal in tweaking this activity is to have my students understand that justifying their responses with evidence and then comparing them to accepted literature is a valuable part of the scientific process. We say time and time again that any claims made without evidence can be dismissed without evidence, and students reflect that sentiment by justifying their claims with evidence-based reasoning.
Jeff Astor
Cindy and Bill Simon Technology Academy High School
Los Angeles, CA


 

About this strategy

Prep Time:
Quick
Subject:
Science
Grade:
Tenth grade
Similar Strategies
Blended Learning Model Overviews
Jeff's Model Overview

I would describe my classroom model as a tweak on a flex model of instruction. I start each class period by giving students a problem I want them to solve, such as “How would you use the gas laws to explain how popcorn pops?” Students then have the opportunity to create their own learning paths by accessing a variety of curated online and offline resources and activities. I determine if a student has achieved mastery on a given concept by evaluating the online and offline work products they have produced during class and by administering more traditional assessments. However, if a student fails an assessment, he or she can always go back and re-take it. My classroom is 1:1 with a mix of MacBooks and iPads, which have become the vehicle for my students to move at their own pace through difficult chemistry content.

Number of Students: ~ 36 students/period

Number of Adults: one teacher

Length of Class Period/Learning Time: 120 minutes (M, T, Th, F); 45 minutes (W)

Digital Content/Ed Tech Tools Used on a Regular Basis: CK-12 BrainGenie; Google Apps for Education; eduCanon; Formative; YouTube; Screencast-O-Matic; Wikispaces; Weebly; Versal; Common Curriculum

Hardware Used on a Regular Basis: MacBook computers (1:1); 2nd Generation iPads; SMARTboard; Surface Pro 3 (for teacher)

Key Features: competency-based; content in multiple formats; problem-based; gamification; student agency

 
Academic Culture
Catch Up Time

Many students fall behind the class pace as the school year progresses, so I build in time to the class schedule for students to catch up. Before or after a break or towards the end of a trimester I won't move the lesson pace forward, giving students the opportunity to get back on pace.

 
Feedback Systems
On The Spot Feedback

Because each of my students is at a different point in the curriculum, it is very important that I make myself available when students need support and feedback. Fortunately, my blended learning model creates many opportunities for my co-teacher and me to work one-on-one with students and with small groups of students every day. On the Spot Feedback is my strategy for connecting with each student in my class every day and offering immediate feedback on their Mastery Quizzes and Level Tests. This strategy allows me and the student I'm working with to understand, in a very personal and precise way, where sources of confusion exist so we can discuss and address these issues before the student moves on to the next lesson.

 
 
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