Reflection: Routines and Procedures A Difference of Mind - Section 2: Activity


I am always working to make students independent learners.  This does not come naturally for eighth graders and they need to be trained how to do this (I know this sounds silly, but that is because someone trained us long ago!).

One of the most important tasks that middle school students need to do in order to become a successful independent learner is to learn how to read and follow directions.  While any adult might think this sound easy, any middle school teacher can tell you that the majority of students just do not read/follow directions.  

Part of the problem is that when students choose not to read the directions but ask us to explain, we seems like the natural thing to do and, if I am honest, it is sometimes faster to just tell the students what to do.  However, that does not help them build their independence.  

It has become quite common for me to tape the directions for labs and/or activities to the tables for the students to quickly reference.  This is especially important for stations activities where it is just not practical to go over all of the directions for each station while everyone waits.  This way, when students ask "what do we do?" (and they will!) I can respond by stating "what do the directions say?" because I know the directions are on the table.

As the year progresses, I force myself to continuously refer students back to the directions or rubric to find the answers to their questions.  While this is initially frustrating for the students, it is one of the best things I can do to ensure they have the necessary skills they will need when they enter high school.

  Following Directions
  Routines and Procedures: Following Directions
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A Difference of Mind

Unit 4: Information Processing
Lesson 4 of 11

Objective: SWBAT explain that each person’s brain is unique in its response to tasks controlled by the brain.

Big Idea: Students work through a variety of stations to determine that there is a large variation in how different brains respond to situations/stimuli.

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  45 minutes
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