In this lesson, I have to clean up from yesterday's bad results and help scaffold for the students so they can be successful. Also, I am assessing where they are in their basic understanding of the body from 5th grade. This will determine what level I can teach to in later mini units. My SMART notebook file is attached.
From looking over my students' work from yesterday's lesson where the students were supposed to use their science books to find the parts of the systems involved in getting food and oxygen to the cell and responding to stimuli, I realized that my students were totally confused about what they were supposed to do and what level they were supposed to do it at.
In this lesson, I want to spend some time using a mini-lesson to be clear about the purpose of the research. The purpose of today's research is NOT to become an expert in understanding the body parts. The purpose is merely to be able to remember what some of those body parts are that students have already learned about. We will be going more in depth with them on later lessons. My outcome is that they have a resource that they can refer to later and that they are connecting the organs with the appropriate system and the system with the appropriate job.
I start by holding up a student lab notebook and grounding the students in how their notebook should be set-up. I find that when there is confusion, it is always a good idea to start with organization, because some of the students are simply in the wrong place! Then I open up the document on the SMART board and walk through the first part with the students. First, I set up the purpose and task for the students.
I also model how to get the information from the book, pointing out the table of contents and navigating to the chapter on digestion. When I get to the right chapter I show the students how to skim and scan to find the information they need. Before, I turn the kids loose, I grab some "ROCK STAR SCIENTIST" tickets and check their understanding by asking them some questions
Once I know that the students are tuned in to the work, I state the expectations for working and release them.
Because the students had problems yesterday with this assignment, I am going to chunk it down to two pieces. First, I will give the students 10 minutes to work on the body job, "Getting food and oxygen to the cells," and then I will refocus them and then set them to work on the body job, "Responding to stimuli."
This type of chunking is essential in work that students have already shown is difficult for them. Even though this is a fairly low level assignment, after all they are just writing down the names of the organs in each system, it is still difficult for the students because they are using a new tool - the textbook, and practice a new skill - skimming and scanning. I had thought they might be able to do this easily, but data showed that they needed the additional practice.
I give the assessment on SMART clickers so that I can reteach right at the moment if I need to or I can notice areas right away that I need to spiral in later. It is also very exciting to students to get that instant feedback and to see where they are as a class. It is not a strange sight to see kids cheering, "raising the roof" or in other ways celebrating their success. The quiz is attached below as a powerpoint, however the entire SMART notebook file is in the Teachers' Lounge above.
Another way to capture instant results would be a Doodle Poll, which gives instant results as well. Students could use their smartphones or classroom devices to submit their responses.
No technology? No problem. Use Four Corners - students "vote with their feet" and choose a corner of the classroom to demonstrate their answer choice.
As it is the end of a mini-unit, I spend some time at the end of class going over the main points in the unit. Using SMART clickers is a great way to do this because you can point out areas of strengths in their quizzes. The low tech solution is to simply point out learning behaviors you felt the students grew on. For closure today:
- Restate the purpose of the mini-unit- to remember what we had already learned about the body.
- Summarize the work we did and point out areas they grew in.
- Preview what is to come in the next unit.
Though my class time makes it difficult, I try to always do this closure. Without it, the class feels unfinished and disconnected.