Reflection: Accountability Separating Mixtures: Problem Solving 1 - Section 4: Understand and Describe the Problem


One of the things that I want to do better next year is set up a better culture for accountable talk.  Using turn and talks, table talks, and partner discussions are key strategies to use in middle school classrooms.  Teenage students thrive on social behavior and using social strategies to hook students into learning is essential.  However, it is also difficult to get student to have the discussions with quality and fidelity.  I'll confess that many times I would be managing the class and thinking that students were working well only to find out later through watching taped conversations or talking to students that the students were not having the right discussions.

I've been thinking of several strategies that I can use to set up a culture of accountable talk and I'm putting them below.  

1) Share out- having all groups share out adds a layer of accountability to the discussions.  However, it takes time, involves students sitting and listening, and can be invented.

2) Using recording devices like cell phones and then having the students upload their conversations onto a web platform.  I really like this idea but it would involve making sure that we had the right technology and that the students knew how to use it. 

3) Note taking- Using a note taking strategy like a table top blog or round robin notes to ensure that students are having the conversation.  This involves paper and set-up but to me the real problem is it interferes with the discussion.  I really want students to have REAL discussions not spend time trying to write up a shallow discussion.

4) Walk-arounds- Walking around the room and tuning into different conversations.  This is effective at making sure students are on target when you are listening to them...but the moment you leave they can change their conversation.  

Overall I think my best bet next year is going to be to use many strategies but also work extra hard at setting up the purpose behind the discussions and building a culture of learning in the class.  If the students have bought in to the learning community than they won't need as much oversight.

  Accountable Talk
  Accountability: Accountable Talk
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Separating Mixtures: Problem Solving 1

Unit 9: Mixtures: Separating Mixtures
Lesson 5 of 7

Objective: Students will be able to use scientific processes to plan, design and carry out a method for separating a mixture.

Big Idea: Create a flow chart model to guide you through a lab.

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