Reflection: Complex Tasks Geosphere: The Rock Cycle Day 1 - Section 2: Focus


To help students comprehend and organize complex information, I will often create a pictorial, or anchor chart with a diagram and notes. This strategy is inspired by Project GLAD, "a model of professional development in the area of language acquisition and literacy. The strategies and model promote English language acquisition, academic achievement, and cross-cultural skills."  ore information can be found at this site.

Here are the specific steps I take to create a pictorial: 

1. I find a diagram of the process or concept online. 

2. I print the diagram and trace the outline onto another sheet of paper. Sometimes I will make some minor changes: Rock Cycle Template.

3. Using the template, I project the image onto a large sheet of paper for my class poster: Teacher Sketch on Poster.

4. I then write "teacher notes" on the template (Rock Cycle Teacher Notes) so that I'm ready to construct the poster in front of students (instead of writing information on the poster ahead of time). Involving students in the creating of a pictorial supports active participation and student engagement.

5. Sometimes I will provide students with information on each of the key topics. Then, students have background knowledge that helps launch them into an investigation or further research. However, for today's lesson, I present the topics (Teacher Writing Key Words on Poster), students will complete research, and tomorrow, we will complete the poster together. 

6. I am also very purposeful with color-coding. For this particular lesson, I use a red marker for igneous rock terms, green for sedimentary rock terms, blue for metamorphic rock terms, and black for the remaining terms. Color-coding helps students organize and make sense of complex information. Here, you can see the difference between a color pictorial and a black & white pictorial. The pictorial that is color-coded is more learner-friendly.

  Complex Tasks: Pictorial Poster with Color-Coding
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Geosphere: The Rock Cycle Day 1

Unit 3: Earth Systems
Lesson 5 of 16

Objective: SWBAT construct a diagram to describe the rock cycle.

Big Idea: In this lesson, students use multiple online resources to define key rock cycle terms in order to complete a rock cycle diagram poster tomorrow.

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