Let's Help the 6th Graders: Debrief

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The students will be given the opportunity to actively reflect on the teaching and learning process.

Big Idea

Lasting growth happens through reflection! Students of all ability levels can grow and shine in this reflective lesson!

Small Group Feedback Rotation

20 minutes

This lesson serves as an concluding reflection of the previous three lesson series where the students  helped a local 6th grade class analyze the data that they have gathered while building polystyrene boats that haul as much cargo as possible.  It is Day #4 or 4 days in the investigation. 

The Set-Up:  For the concluding piece on the 6th grade end, the industrial arts teacher that I am collaborating with have his students write a journal reflection over what they had learned from the activity and interaction with my high school students.  The teacher will then email these journal reflections to me to be used in this lesson.  Once I receive the journals from the teacher, I print them out and post them at various locations around the classroom.  (Note, you do not need to post every journal, pick and choose the ones that are the most insightful.)  Next to teach journal, I also hang a large sticky note for the students to write comments.

The Activity:  After my students enter the classroom, I ask them to get with their same partners (the person who they taught the 6th graders with).  Next, I pair 2 groups at a time together – making groups with a total of 4 people.  I assign each group of 4 to a location in the classroom with a 6th grade journal/big sticky note.  I instruct the students to read the journal as a group, and write their comments and observations on the sticky note.  Each group will have 4 minutes per journal (project a timer) and we will rotate around the classroom so that all groups visit every journal.  This will take about 20 minutes.  As the activity nears the last couple of rotations, I speed up the timer since most of the comments and observations have already been made.  As an additional note, I remind and allow the students to comment on the thoughts on the sticky note in addition to the journal itself.

Motivation:  I created this lesson with the following things in mind:

  • The students are forced to look back on how they communicated the mathematical concepts to the students
    • What concepts were the 6th graders able to re-explain?  What stuck with them?
    • What concepts did the 6thgraders not grasp?  What caused this?
      • If you had it to do all over again, what would you change?
  • The students learn to analyze the teaching and learning process
    • Did the students want to learn?
    • How did we make the math relevant?
    • At any point were the students overwhelmed?
  • Many times it is more valuable to REFLECT on the experience than do the task itself!
  • The activity also shows the students how much they have grown in just a few short years.

Group Discussion

10 minutes

Reflective Journal

15 minutes

The final component of this lesson involves the students writing a journal over their level of collaboration during the last several days.  This statistical task not only asked the students to work with the 6th graders, but they also had to work with each other.  The questions in the journal are geared towards personal reflection and growth.  Because I often take time in my class to talk about 21st Century skills, I fully expect for them to have insightful comments.  I coach growth in this area not only because it makes them more prepared for future living, but also because it will make them even better math students in my class.

The students will not likely complete the journal in class, and I send this home as their homework for the night.