Monday, August 15, 2011

Prevent Eroding Lessons; Direct the Flow

Fun in the Coulee

This afternoon, thanks to Ralph Dawes, we studied water flow: It's downhill. To prevent lessons from eroding into bits of facts without substance, try the Lesson Study approach. Our school's observation expectations include the components of Lesson Study:
  • Steps of Lesson
  • Expected Responses
  • Teaching Points (goals)
  • Formative Evaluation (what did the students learn: how do you know; what are the next steps)
By preparing for an expected range of possible student responses, lessons can be altered on the spot depending on what the students demonstrate. Instead of losing momentum in the flow of the lesson because of misconceptions and lack of background knowledge, the lesson will simply flow in a new, needed direction because the possibilities of student reactions have been considered.

I hadn't read "Science Formative Assessment" by Page Keeley, but have borrowed it from the former science teacher for this week. Just skimming through it, I see strategies I already use in the classroom (Four Corners, Fish Bowl, Annotated Drawings, Concept Comics, Reciprocal Peer Questioning, Think-Pair-Share). I can't wait to learn more.

I enjoyed the reflection and discussion at the end; I could hear how others see the application of ideas for their particular situation, which adds to my own set of possible application choices. Just hearing others thoughts suddenly brings clarity to my own ideas, sometimes to seemingly unrelated issues. It develops links within the brain so the flow of concepts connect in one more way.

"A scientist's aim in a discussion with his colleagues
is not to persuade, but to clarify.

~ Leo Szilard, American Scientist

Sheri Edwards
Reflect curiosity and wonder...
Go boldly and scatter seeds of kindness...

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