Reflection: Adjustments to Practice History of Earth: Part 1: Direct Instruction - Section 6: Collaborative Practice


Have you ever read about the perfect strategy online or in a book only to see it fail completely in the classroom?  That is how speed dating was for me the first time I tried it.  I realized then that every strategy has certain barriers embedded in it that make it difficult to succeed the first time.  Some of these you can predict and some come out of nowhere.  The key is to try to have strong structures in your class normally and then use great modeling techniques to help students transfer.

In this strategy the barriers to success are;

1) The students are moving around.  Every middle school teacher KNOWS this can end in disaster.

2) The students have to have their work.

3) The students have to understand the point of the exercise.

4) The students need to use a structured discussion.



1) Having strong standards of behavior and moving in your class will help making the moving in this activity work.  You want to be sure that there is no confusion on how or when students will move.

 2) I collect their notes everyday and have my student assistant turn it into a packet that I keep.  This means that in this activity I can ensure that every student has their notes...unless they have been absent for the last few days.  If they have been absent, I allow them to use the modified class notes.

3) Before starting the activity I explain very clearly that the point of this activity is so they can make sure they have the important information in their notes.  I make sure to write the success outcome on the board- To create better notes to use for our timeline project.

4) Finally, before I start the first round, I not only explain the protocol but I write in on the board.  If this is a protocol I use often in class, I even hand out little papers with the protocol on it for students.  The first round I will make sure that I explicitly remind the students of each step in the protocol. 

  Barriers to working strategies
  Adjustments to Practice: Barriers to working strategies
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History of Earth: Part 1: Direct Instruction

Unit 12: History of Earth: Part 1
Lesson 3 of 7

Objective: Students will be able to collaboratively work with other students to improve their notes from the movie resource.

Big Idea: Climate change has been around a long time - but that doesn't mean it's good!

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