Reflection: Staircase of Complexity Defining an Ecosystem - Section 4: Explain



In this lesson, I decided to use the Getting the Gist strategy to help my students summarize the information they gathered as they conducted research on defining an ecosystem. This comprehension strategy is designed to help students focus on the main ideas of the text and eliminate unnecessary details and information.  It forces them to concentrate and focus on what they are reading so they can determine what details are relevant to their research, and which ones are not. Most often, students must summarize the text in so many words or less, this can be modified based on the length of the text. For this lesson, I asked students to summarize their research in 20 words or lesson as they defined an ecosystem.

 The Getting the Gist strategy benefits students in many ways. One way is student developing the ability to synthesize information they have read about as they are identify the main ideas. Another way includes improving their analytical skills. This happens as students distinguish between relevant and irrelevant facts and information because they are using their analytical skills to process the key concepts within the reading material.  Furthermore, this strategy helps students improve their reading comprehension and writing skills as they convey information on their given topic. Getting the Gist gives teachers the opportunity to recognize quickly if students’ understand the information they have read by observing their notes and summary. They can provide one on one or small group support to individuals who appear to struggle. The most effective way to help students use this strategy is to provide direct and guided instruction while modeling the expectation.  Students need time to practice apply this strategy. Overtime, students apply this strategy independently.

I found the Getting the Gist strategy very effective in guiding my students through research. To guide them through finding main ideas as they researched ideas, I instructed them to identify and record their top ten facts to define an ecosystem. I provided them with this framework to give them boundaries and keep them focused on their purpose, defining and ecosystem. This also helped them when it came time to write their summary on defining an ecosystem as they were not overwhelmed with facts and information. It was a matter of condensing their information into a paragraph that was 20 words or less.

  Staircase of Complexity: Getting the Gist of It Strategy
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Defining an Ecosystem

Unit 3: Ecosystems and Interactions
Lesson 1 of 19

Objective: SWBAT define an ecosystem.

Big Idea: Students will identify and distinguish between a habitat, population, community, that make up an ecosystem.

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