Reflection: Classroom Setup Doin' Science: Microwaved Water (Day 2 of 2) - Section 3: Instructional Input/Student Activities


Three aspects of my courses (especially ninth grade) include a strong emphasis on thinking skills, Cornell note-taking, and organization systems such as a scheme for setting up notebooks. To this end, I introduce the format of Cornell Notes, model it (and include this graphic at the start of each lecture), and, as can be seen in this image, the grading criteria are glued into the inside front cover of all students' composition books (which include all lecture notes among other activities and writing responses). As for any rubric, it should be evident to both the student and teacher how the quality of performance should determine the grade.

I rarely, if ever, have a dispute with students about the grade assigned to work because I regularly communicate the success criteria required for a given score. As an aside, my grading system comprises a "4, 3, 2, 1" framework where a "3" meets standard, a "4" exceeds standard, and a "2" falls just short. In reality, the student ought to be able to predict her own grade even before submitting the work. More often, the student recognizes where she could improve, and knows that she ought to revise the work to meet the described standard. In this image, you will see my initial grade mark (1.5/4) and how this student revised her lecture notes by completing her conclusion to score at a higher level (4/4). Once learned, this skill serves students not only for my course but also for the rest of their formal education!

  Classroom Setup: Cornell Notes
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Doin' Science: Microwaved Water (Day 2 of 2)

Unit 1: 1) Intro to Science ("Investigations by Design")
Lesson 6 of 10

Objective: Students will be able to 1) understand the steps and process of the scientific method, 2) apply the process of the scientific method to various real-life phenomena and construct a valid conclusion (argument) based on evidence, and 3) evaluate the quality of an experiment, especially on the basis of reliability and validity.

Big Idea: Science, when used appropriately, can dispel myths that are not properly supported with solid evidence and sound reasoning. In this way, science can free an ever increasing technological society from ignorance and misunderstanding.

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