Telling students “Let’s stop. This isn’t working. What should we do different?”

You can think through the way a lesson will work.

You can get to March and feel you know what your students can do. You can think just about anything…and then the lesson starts. Within the first 5 minutes you know…this is not working well.

Well today was that day. So instead of drugging through it…I told my students “Let’s stop.  Do you think we are doing this well?  What can we do different?”

Some got it right away...some didn't...But we all learned!

Our K Science learning objectives:

Must:  Sort objects in order from lightest to heaviest.

Should: Create an hypothesis and conduct an investigation to see if your ‘guess’ is correct.

Could:  Record the results of your investigation and check if your hypothesis was correct.

——- -Well….

Let’s just start with what didn’t work.  These students have created a hypothesis (through drawings) and conducted investigations to check their work (by using X and Checks).  They’ve even drawn out what their investigation would be and what actually happened.  So, I wasn’t amiss to believe this lesson would work.  OH!  And we have also used scales and measured the different weight between objects.

So… first… EVEN though we did all that.  They are still in Kindergarten.  For our first independent, recorded investigation in a month, I should have made it a guided investigation. We have finished investigations in sorting with no recording.  I used observations and interviews to assess.  But recording..it’s been a while


I should have walked them through each step and demonstrated the quality of the work and behaviours I wanted..asked them questions along the way and gave them the satisfaction of experiencing they can do the steps (and recording students that had difficulty doing a guided investigation).

But .. truthfully, I felt they could do it.  There are so many amazing investigations they have done…but recording on paper…drawing…making choices…making a guess…all of it together (after not doing it in a month) was asking a lot.

OH!  And I had them look around the classroom and choose their objects. #1 mistake!!!!!!  Too much choice for the first time.  I should of gave them 3 things rather than have them choose.

Next time:

  • Model the lesson all the way through.  Don’t just walk them through watching me..but have them record it as I do it.
  • Have them use peer assessment to check if they are getting the information recorded and if their ‘practice of science’ is clear.  If it’s not, have the redo those aspects or support them if needed.
  • Then check their work to make sure they have all the steps.  Can they do it with support before I set them out on their own.

THEN…next week…give them 3 objects and have them do the investigation on their own.

THEN…if they have time…have them choose 3 objects from the classroom and do it again.

Was it a total failure? No!  3 of the 4 groups totally got it and did it.  It took time but they did it.  The lesson just wasn’t smooth and I felt like I harped on them more than encouraged them.  I don’t like that.  The one group that struggled.. they would have been much more successful if I didn’t have them move around.

The end result..we all agreed to give it a go next week and do it better!

Lucky tomorrow I teach the same lesson in science…and I will add my changes.


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