Reflection: Checks for Understanding I Scream, You Scream... - Section 1: Engage


Throughout all of my classroom lessons, I tend to vary between calling on random students and selecting volunteers to respond.  Some teachers have a preference or philosophy that leans towards one practice or the other, but I seem to believe that there can be a place for both, depending on the situation.

While I do believe in making active engagement mandatory and having kids think on their feet, I am not a big supporter of spot-calling students who seem to not be paying attention. I feel this can cause stress and embarrassment, and that is not the kind of environment I want to create in my classroom. However, I am very clear with the students that they can and will be called on randomly at any time, so they should be actively engaged and prepared to attempt a response at any point in the lesson. Notice how I use the term, "attempt a response", as I do not expect a perfect answer every time. We all know learning is a process, and students may encounter a questions they are not sure how to answer ath that point in time. As long as they are attempting to synthesize a coherent response and they have used evidence from classroom readings, activities, etc, I know they are actively participating and doing their best to master the content at their own pace.

With this said, there are definitely times that I believe calling on volunteers is appropriate. If I am introducing a new topic and work on activating background knowledge, challenging students to think deeper or further than the lesson demands, or soliciting student opinions or perspectives, calling on volunteer students is more appropriate than selecting random students, who may not have the personal knowledge or experience to address.

  Caling on Volunteers vs. Calling on Random Students
  Checks for Understanding: Caling on Volunteers vs. Calling on Random Students
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I Scream, You Scream...

Unit 7: Chemistry and Cooking
Lesson 2 of 12

Objective: SWBAT differentiate between physical and chemical changes, investigate the effects of heat transfer on phase changes, and describe the concept of freezing point depression.

Big Idea: Students learn the basics of chemistry by making ice cream!

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