Since this lesson is the last lesson of a mini-unit, I always have some clean up to do. I call this my "Finish-UP" work. Whichever work we have not been able to finish during the mini-unit or need to spend a little more time on I schedule in. Generally, this ends up being some of the problem solving work. I always use this day to "wrap-up" the lesson by going over the unit summarizing our progress and previewing what is to come. This is a really strong way to close one chapter before starting another.
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Learning Goal: Show learning from the week.
Essential Question: What do you think the most important thing you learned this week was? Why?
The beginning of class is an essential time to harness the potential. Effectively using this time not only gives you more minutes of teaching but can also solve management issues, create motivation and engagement, and build a class culture of learning.
In my class, this time is called Ready... Set... Engage. The students come iton the room, get ready (get their stuff), get set (get settled in their seats), and engage in writing the learning goal and answering the opening question on the board. By the time the bell rings, students should be in their seats and working. Rather than calling attention to students that are not doing their job, I use ROCK STAR SCIENCE tickets to reward students that are working when the bell rings. This goes a long way to developing a positive class culture.
Even though I haven't explicitly talked to students about the scientific method yet, that is what we've been learning. The reason I don't state to kids, "Today we are learning the scientific method," is because as a kid, nothing was more sure to put me to sleep than the words "Scientific Method."
Instead, I like to show students labs (via shared readings), give them some experience (pop up labs) and then state that the process we're using is the scientific method. This song is a great way to make the concept of a method for science "stick", because they've already had access and practice with the words and ideas from the songs so it will be easy for them to hook personal knowledge to it.
Today for my finish up I have three goals:
1) Give students a chance to finish their data collection
2) Discuss the difference between Readable Writing and Writing to Think.
3) Have students write their conclusions.
I gave the students 5 min to finish their data collection. This seems to be just the right amount of time. As we come back together, I go through the Writing to Think Anchor Chart, reminding them of the characteristics of this writing purpose/type.
I say, "Today we are going to learn a new type of writing - Readable Writing" while pulling out the anchor chart and restating the important characteristics of Readable Writing.
I think it is always good to discuss purpose and characteristics of different types of writing with kids so that they will have the logic to make their own decisions.
I then pulled up the anchor chart for Conclusion writing and use the model from shared reading to demonstrate what this looks like. I emphasize with the kids the need to give specific data and not just say, "I know this because my data says so."
I give the kids 5 min to write their conclusions and that seemed like plenty of time.
When I looked at the labs that the students wrote to evaluate how effective the shared reading practice was at helping students understand the genre of Lab Reports and how well students are using the sentence starters to communicate in their conclusions, I was really impressed and pleased.
This group of students have never written formal lab reports before, yet almost all of the the labs look like labs! They have the sections based on the scientific process, the thinking, and the students made a huge effort to invent ways to record data in an inquiry lab.
These pictures are the labs from one table and the video shows me reflecting on the work of two students. one who is an advanced reader and one who is ELL and is developing her language.
In some ways, this is actually the closure for this lesson. I do it at this point in the lesson rather than the end so that the students hear these connections before taking the assessment.
Today I had a slide on my presentation that Listed the four main questions we were answering today.
-Who are scientists?
-What is science?
-Why is the process of science important?
-How do you do science?
I went through each of these questions and reminded the students of the work we had done this week to answer these question, making connections between them. This is a short section, but important because of the closure it gives.
I like to do post quizzes using smart clickers or some other type of technology so that you can instantly get the answers and discuss them. Because this quiz has a couple of short answer questions, I would use a computer program like schoology or Google forms so that the students can quickly answer and get feedback in the first few min. This also cuts down on my grading time while still giving me the information I need to plan the next unit.
I usually only give about 5 questions to a quiz. While this does not exhaustively express all that the students have learned, it does allow me to give the quiz and the feedback in an efficient amount of time. For this quiz, I would give the students about 7 min to complete. Then I would look at the answers and provide feedback for about 3 min.
The final section of this unit is designed so that kids can see how their ideas have changed over time. I ask them to get out their notes, vocabulary, and writings from the unit. I have them popcorn out some of what they've learned this week and I write these on the board. Then I put up a quick slideshow of some of scientist pictures from the first day.
I tell the students that we are going to bookend this week by repeating this assignment only this time using the information that we discussed, practiced and learned this week. I put out the art materials and paper and ask students to work independently using their notes. I give the students 7 min to work and then ask them to write one sentence at the bottom of the picture that summarizes their ideas of who scientists are and what they do.
These pictures will be used in a display outside of the classroom. It is fun to put the before and after pictures together so that students can see how their ideas have changed.
Because I have already wrap-ed up this unit before the assessment, I try to simply let the kids connect to the powerful piece of learning for them. I ask them to get a post-it and answer the question, "What activity influenced your learning the most in this unit? Why?