This was an enlightening lesson on perseverance and demonstrating growth mindset. We have come to the end of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Haddon; a wonderful book about the challenges facing an adolescent with Asperger’s. I decided to try an alternative assessment: a talk show from my latest PD book, (Steineke 142).
At first the students were excited and there was energetic discussion . They decided on creating a show around what happened to the main characters after the book because Haddon leaves a few questions unanswered. However, when I explained that the content, i.e. the script with textual evidence weighted more that the performance, frustration set in. “Let’s take a regular test”, they whined.
I spoke about enjoying the challenge of a new activity and had a discussion about the essential questions we had discussed:
The rest of the handout was for students to take notes on the various topics covered in the presentation. I added a section on confusions and questions. At the end of the lesson, the students completed an exit note card that asked: “What do you know now that you didn’t know before the presentation on how to conduct research?”
I decided to focus on the process rather than a full research paper. This meant scaffolding the pre-search, research, drafting, citing and peer review . The final product will be an anatomy of a paper with a detailed outline.
We are spending a lot of time on pre-search. I unashamedly admit that I followed the steps outlined in the post I mentioned. The images and videos embedded in the posts make this so easy for a teacher. The mini lessons included:
This seems so basic but is a crucial part of any successful collaborative activity.
The Teaching Channel teachers offer engaging ways to get students to talk about and revise their written work. I chose:
Critical Friends. I actually showed the students the video because it gave me the opportunity to show how students (as well as the teacher) contribute to the success of the feedback. I am scaffolding a writing unit on how to craft an effective argument. The students’ first assignment was to write a persuasive paragraph using a visual prompt from an original site
We reviewed the criteria for an effective persuasive paragraph:
precise examples that support the main idea
analysis (Why should the reader care?)
After sharing their first draft pieces on Google Drive, the students offered the ‘warm fuzzy’ feedback followed by precise suggestions for improvement. It was interesting that the students were keen to discuss the writer’s argument and offer their own views.
However, this time the focus was on composing a cohesive perfect paragraph. I reminded the students to try and give the feedback in the form of a question (see second activity below) which forces the writer to come up with her/his own ideas for revision.
2: Warm and Cool Feedback Once again, I used the video as a way to take the students through the steps and model them in this revision activity.
A tweet by Traci Gardner sent me to an interesting article that gave context to the identity concept maps. I will pair individual and class selfies with photographic and painted self portraits. And then … I will let you know next week.
Although the students resist, I insist they keep an idea/thought/interactive notebook.
I always stress that note taking is one of the essential skills they’ll need in high school and college. They practice Cornell, discussion and even sketch note taking in the hope that they find a system that works best for them. All notes are handwritten.
For this morning’s warm up, I projected and read an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, written only yesterday, with up to date research on the benefits of written rather than typed notes. We had an interesting discussion about low distractions such as drawing and doodling. I explained that according to research, that also helps you think.
It appears that I am not the only teacher who insists on hand written notes. Their social studies teacher has the same idea.
Tim Ferriss's 4-Hour Workweek and Lifestyle Design Blog. Tim is an author of 5 #1 NYT/WSJ bestsellers, investor (FB, Uber, Twitter, 50+ more), and host of The Tim Ferriss Show podcast (400M+ downloads)