As the students enter the classroom, I greet them and ask for their revised meaningful paragraph assignment from last night. Prior to class, I have established homogeneous groups for this entry activity. Once everyone has arrived, I quickly tell the students where I want them to go with their group. I like to keep my groups smaller than 5 so that everyone has to contribute, and there is no one sitting on the sideline! After collecting the paragraphs, I quickly sort through those which are incomplete and meet with these students while the other class begins critical friends. Typically speaking, there is usually only one or two who did not finish the assignment. I do not embarrass these students, but I do pull them from their groups to meet with me. I do this so that I can find out if there was a reason that the student did not get his or her homework done, and to make it known to the rest of the class that you better get your work done (especially a small assignment like this one) or else you will have to do critical friends with the teacher!
I do not always make time to run critical friends a second time in an activity. However, since it is our first time using the protocol in the class (and we will use it multiple times throughout the year) I decided to run it a second time. This serves multiple purposes:
After allowing 12-15 minutes for critical friends, I run critical friends over our critical friends process. Confusing? :)
Let me explain…
Running critical friends OVER critical friends allows the students to talk about things that they like about the process and specific instances of growth that they experienced because of it. They can also offer up things that they would like to see done to make the process better. Want to create a strong culture in your classroom and model to the students what you expect from them? Try allowing them to share success stories and take their suggestions to heart! Even if you think that their ideas will collapse, show them that you are willing to try for the betterment of the team – not say “ahh, that won’t work” and do it your own way. Again, you don’t have to do this every time, but it sure goes a long way at the start of the year when you are looking to build relationships with the class and set the tone for the learning environment! It’s not mathematical modeling – its ROLE modeling.
Following the students handing in their final versions of their meaningful paragraph, I circulate the review and extensions worksheet. I tell the students to focus primarily on #1-10, and that the entire worksheet is not due tomorrow. I allow the students to work collaboratively, as long as it is in a professional manner. As the students work, I rotate the classroom and offer support. I keep a list with me of all of the concepts/questions that the students are struggling with. This leads nicely to the concluding phase of the lesson.
I have selected the review problems based on my forecast on what I think the students will struggle with. Because statistics standards were not formerly included in my Indiana Academic Standards, but the Common Core includes them, I will need to revisit this over the next several years to make sure that I am meeting my students needs.
I have selected the extension questions to take concepts to a new level that we previously did not go into as much depth on. A good mix of review and extension helps keep the lesson moving forward if I misgauge the needs to my students.
To wrap up class, I ask for the students’ attention and make a list of the most pressing issues that came up during the work time. After we create the list, I ask the students if they have any additions or modifications to what is on the board. Based on the list, I individually tailor a start-of-class optional workshop to meet these needs on the flowing day (this may vary class by class). The students are expected to continue with the worksheet and finish as much as #1-10 as they are able; bringing specific follow up questions to the workshop tomorrow.