Reflection: Routines and Procedures Food Chains & Food Webs: Pre-Requisite - Section 5: Vocabulary Activity


I was recently evaluated and my evaluator asked me about whether my kids were just ritually compliant or whether they were actually engaged.  Really, there are fewer questions in the world that can make me see red faster! First, it is such a judgement call.  I love being evaluated but I am sick to death of Monday morning quarterbacking.  Second, what is the big deal about ritual compliance?  In fact, I would argue that ritual compliance is a necessity in class and that it leads to higher levels of learning and doing.

This activity is a perfect example.  Are kids really ENGAGED in learning the vocab?  I don't know! They seem to like it, they talk to each other, they smile.  I don't think they go home and say, "OH MY GOSH!  We did the best vocab activity EVER today."  But isn't a better question, "Are they learning the vocabulary?  To that question I can say YES!  They are learning vocab better than they ever did before.  They are using the words in discussions, and getting the words right on tests and quizzes, they are pulling out their glossaries and using the word wall.  

And ritual compliance is a big part of this activity.  It is always the same.  I don't switch it up because the kids do better with a structure they can depend on.  The first few times I do this activity the students shyly put forth ideas on the table, worried that I am tricking them and am really going to ask them something hard.  Now they THROW their ideas on the table exuberantly because they feel comfortable and capable.

Sometimes, when evaluators get into engagement they forget that the most important aspect of engagement is the students' belief that they can do the work.  Rituals, routines, and procedures may look like compliance but in actuality they are the structure that allows the students to feel safe and secure in their work. 

  The power of routines
  Routines and Procedures: The power of routines
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Food Chains & Food Webs: Pre-Requisite

Unit 6: Energy in Life: Food Chains & Food Webs
Lesson 2 of 7

Objective: Students will be able to access the foundational knowledge they need to understand energy diagrams.

Big Idea: Producer or consumer? What's the difference?

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