Reflection: Perseverance Microscope Mania Day (Part 2/2) - Section 5: Day 2 Conference Groups: Meeting With Groups Based on Formative Assessment


Conferencing with small groups of similar learners based on a formative assessment directly tied to a learning target is one of the most successful strategies I use.  When I have explained this strategy to other teachers, I tend to have a conversation something like this:

Teacher:  "What do the other students do while you teach such a small group?".

Me:  "They work on whatever assignment, lab, or activity the lesson is designed for the day."

Teacher:  "But what do they do when they need help? Don't they start to exhibit undesired behaviors while they wait for you to finish?"

The answer is "no".  But, it's not as simple as that.  From the beginning of the year I have taught my students how to persevere when they have a question or are challenged.  We have worked on going to the text to find solutions, rereading directions, and discussion techniques with group members to solve problems.  Students know that when they ask me for help, I am going to respond with something like, "I would love to help you find a solution to how you can find the answer." as opposed to "Sure.  The answer is _______________."  When they know they are going to be accountable for finding the answers themselves anyway, they learn to persevere.  When they know that the answer isn't just a question to me away, they learn independence.  They learn they can function and proceed even when I am working with conference groups.

In short, for this strategy to be successful, it will be important to teach students how to find answers independently and persevere when they run into a problem.

  Conference Groups: What do the other students do?
  Perseverance: Conference Groups: What do the other students do?
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Microscope Mania Day (Part 2/2)

Unit 7: Cells: Structure, Function, and Processes
Lesson 2 of 12

Objective: Students will be able to provide evidence that all living things are made up of cells.

Big Idea: Students read a text about the Cell Theory through the lens of the NGSS Crosscutting Concepts and look at a variety of substances (both living and non living) under microscopes!

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