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
Academic Culture
Jeff's Classroom Culture

A positive classroom culture promotes student engagement, efficiency, and academic growth. Culture influences how and why students learn and ties the students to the teacher on a personal level. Check out the video below to see how Jeff’s culture impacts student achievement!

 
Feedback Systems
Teamwork Evaluation Rubric

At the end of any collaborative activity, each student makes a copy of this Teamwork Evaluation Rubric and fills out the boxes with his/her thoughts on the overall quality of their group's teamwork. The rubric includes multiple indicators of high-quality teamwork and encoruages discussion about how to improve future iterations. Indicators include noise level (framed as concern for other group's ability to work effectively), quality of work produced, overall teamwork, and level of grit. Students assess their own contributions to their collaborative assignment as well as their teammates' contributions. Students can insert glows and grows where they explicitly discuss their feelings regarding their own work and the work of their peers. I frame this activity as a team-building exercise. Evaluating collaborative assignments can be complicated. The Teamwork Evaluation Rubric allows me to collect a good deal of data about individual student's contributions from multiple perspectives, which is both a fair and thorough way to assess individuals and the team as a whole.

 
Academic Culture
Station Expectations

Students in my self-paced blended classroom work in groups every day to complete a series of activities we call "Learning Stations." Learning Stations provide multiple ways in which my students can demonstrate mastery and build a digital portfolio of content to draw on throughout the year. By creating groups in which my students are paired up according to their supported reading and lexile levels, I foster a collaborative culture in which students don't feel singled out and high quality products can be produced by all groups. To alleviate the stress that sometimes accompanies engagement with highly targeted, rigorous activities, I allow my students to choose Station activities that most appropriately address the Learning Targets (please see the "Learning Targets" strategy video) they might struggle with or want to improve in. Reinforcing Station Expectations with explicit instructions at the beginning of each class is a strategy that ensures that my students understand what is expected of them during the period.

 
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