2018-19 Tripod and C6
I initially wanted to focus on Confer, encouraging student voice to help students gain confidence in their science communication skills. The results of the survey showed a higher interest for me to help clarify students understanding of difficult concepts. Because of this, I focused on Clarify with a hint of Confer encouraging students to build confidence in communicating their understanding, thinking and knowledge of the difficult science concepts addressed this year.
In my class, students work individually, then collaboratively when a new concept is introduced to determine what they know or want to know. I introduce a new concept with a KW-L format. I ask students to model, list words and/or write sentences related to the topic. Students collaborate on a white board to visually see the thinking of other groups. I like this activity, because they use different styles to communicate their thinking and knowledge.
I encourage kids to discuss what they think and what they know in small groups, to perhaps clarify understanding or correct any misconceptions. I spend a lot of time encouraging students to take risks to share their thinking, ideas and knowledge in groups and in class discussions. Over time, using the suggested words encourages students to take a risk. I work with them to understand that to FAIL (First Attempt In Learning) is acceptable. I find that students struggle with failure, especially in front of their peers.
When they create a list of words (now) I think of José Medina’s topic about students needing time to translate words we are using in English, into their own language. This resonated with me. I attended the C6 training this year. Since then, I have made more of an effort to provide time (and space) for students to translate terms they might not know in English. I’ve worked with Russell, Tony, Julie and Luke to plan and scaffold assessments to make them more accessible to all learners, and to create vocabulary lists in different languages. (Now) Students are provided access to the lists in advance of the unit, to preteach the vocabulary. I regularly suggest students take time to translate words, if needed, while taking notes or working on assignments.
Another goal was to clarify concepts by using multiple avenues to deliver the information, in order to reach all levels and types of learners.
Ultimately, I decided it would be in my best interest to work on Clarify, focusing on three of the bullets:
- Explain concepts using multimedia, including text, images, audio and visual.
- Entry tasks
- Ask students to explain their reasoning to reveal points of confusion.
- (Combining clarify with confer. Risk taking of sorts.)
For example, during the Weather and Climate unit:
Students conducted an investigation to demonstrate the heating and cooling of water, in order to help them understand land breeze and sea breeze, as well as convection currents. Students wrote after students collected the data they collaborated to write their claim, evidence and reasoning statements. Students continue to struggle writing sentences with data, regardless of the amount of practice. Once every group was finished we did a gallery walk to compare their CER writing. This activity allows students to see others work and compare it to their own.
This is an example of students talk. Sharing their thinking and knowledge allows them to demonstrate understanding of scientific vocabulary and concepts, in this case to explain convection currents. This also allows individuals to support each others thinking by asking clarifying questions or expanding on what was already shared.
Other examples include:
Note taking, model drawing, video, text & vocabulary review for concepts
The Tripod results dropped in areas I thought improved in and areas I didn’t try to change, improved. What I wonder is why. I have an idea. I really worked on delivering material in different formats during the Weather and Climate unit. Entry tasks, video, note taking, discussion in a science social format, etc. The current unit is not set up for this success, at least not guided by me. The students are guiding their own learning in groups, for example they assign the text, activity, video and quiz to themselves. Though the delivery is different, and some of the information overlaps students might not think of it as me delivering the information in different ways. What I like about the Tripod survey, is students identified where I needed improvement. I’d like to try Tripod again, having students take the assessment in September or early October, then use PLC time to focus on the goals created and generate lessons based on their needs. I felt like minimal time was allotted for staff to work on this pilot (as a whole group). If the Tripod evaluation process continues I ask that more time is provided in the forefront to get goals set up and a plan in place, with check in times along the way.
Regardless of our evaluation process next year, my goal is to return to more student driven lessons using the learning environment matrix below. (While continuing to support all learners in my classroom.)