Reflection: Checks for Understanding Darwin @ the Comics! (#1 of 3) - Section 3: Instructional Input/Student Activities


Since performance assessments can be so nebulous to students on the front end I have learned (all too many times for sure) not to assume that the message actually took root into the student's cerebral cortex.

For that reason (and to avoid foreseeable gaps in understanding), the G.R.A.S.P. protocol really works. According to Doug Lemov's book Teach Like a Champion, "Champion teachers help their students learn complex skills (and I would also add a complex process) by breaking them down into easily manageable steps and, often, giving each step a name so that it can be easily recalled. This allows the process to take on a consistent, often story-like progression." (pp. 78-9)

So there you have it. A widely known educational expert and I both agree that students are better served by clearly articulating a given process (leading to acquiring a skill or generating an end-product)! This also allows for a simple check for understanding at each step. If a student can correctly identify and describe three of four steps, for example, then you've isolated the problem area as opposed to tackling the entire project as a whole and lacking a means to see what questions students might have and where along the process.

  Just Checking
  Checks for Understanding: Just Checking
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Darwin @ the Comics! (#1 of 3)

Unit 6: 6) Exploring Change ("The Theory of Natural Selection")
Lesson 1 of 15

Objective: 1. Students will creatively express (communicate) their understanding (pre-assessment) of Charles Darwin and his theory. 2. Students will understand the various opinions of students regarding The Theory of Natural Selection (aka “evolution”) and suggest reasons for these different points-of-view.

Big Idea: Charles Darwin and his Theory are interpreted in widely different ways by equally different people. Comics can be used to convey these ideas in graphical ways.

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10 teachers like this lesson
Science, natural selection (Evolution), Differentiated Instruction, Performance Assessment
  55 minutes
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