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“Men love to wonder, and that is the seed of science.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

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What a difference a day makes… #hypothesis #primaryscience

Well… the last two days I’ve had the chance to re-teach that lesson. I implemented all of the changes I felt I needed.

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K scientists were able to do the investigation in teams with little support this time!

First, we walked through the investigation together – my kindergarten students recorded as we went along and I checked to see who was able to do things step by step…who seemed to understand the process and procedures, who would need support.

  • I modeled working in a group of 3
  • How we searched for items in the classroom (I felt they really enjoyed being able to choose)
  • How we each made our own hypothesis and then drew them out to record.
  • How we recorded/drew with enough neatness and detail that another scientist would understand.
  • Where I wanted the work on the page.
  • Measuring each item…counting the ticks together…recording the results under the picture of the item.
  • How we took turns.
  • Thought out loud about if my hypothesis was correct.  Why it is ok for a scientist to have a hypothesis that is wrong (I noticed yesterday some students were worried they didn’t ‘guess’ right.
  • Had a peer review…how does their investigation look compared to mine?
  • Self assessment…who feels they know how to do this well?  Who is not sure? Teamed up accordingly.

And started!  AMAZING! Totally different.  Much smoother.  They really enjoyed the investigation.  They finished…with the exception of the few that need more time or support.

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This time I walked through the investigation and had the students record it in their science journals as well. We also role played being a time and how we would work together (take turns, measuring) and how our hypothesis could be different.

We reviewed how it went.  I walked around and checked for teamwork and the process.  Checked results!

I am lucky I get a second chance to try out my reflections.

We all decided we want to do it again because it was so much fun and they want to investigate other items to measure.  We are going to work in the same teams because they all seemed to be a good fit.  Overall I feel they did a great job and are emerging with an understanding of how to create a hypothesis, how to test their guess and then check their results.

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I was really pleased with their results. This student guessed that the rock would be lightest, the apple would be heavier and the hole punch would be the heaviest! They ended up with tie! So they weren't sure if their hypothesis was right (check) or wrong (X). I also made them erase or neatly cross out their work if it wasn't neat. We know that our recordings should be written so we can understand them later or so another scientist can understand what we did and found.
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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?”

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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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New lesson plan format – clearly showing the process, standards, differentiation and assessment

Children need to be at
the center of planning!

Well…it’s late or early (I woke up at 2.30 am thinking I wanted to really wrap this up).  I feel lesson planning is its own cycle..the strongest cycle that connects assessments to teaching and learning.  When I reflect on it…create my lessons…I always break my thoughts into ‘clouds’ (seriously! lol)  In one hovering cloud I have my state standards, one good assessment – how will I know, and overarching, the children and what will engage them.  That doesn’t mean I always do it well. I feel I need more time to really make my plans of a higher quality…but I am working to figure out how to do that in less time.  There is always…room to improve!

I just finished changing my lesson plants for science this week and have chosen a design that integrates areas for our BEST learning cycle quadrants, areas for the Florida Next Generation Sunshine State Standards(NGSSS) and National Association of Gifted Children (NAGC) Standards .

Our BEST learning cycle quadrants remind me clearly of the 4 areas my lessons were broken up into in England.. introduction (BEST calls it a HOOK), Whole group learning, Guide group and/or then Individual practice.  As a science lab teacher with 40 minutes a week (or bi-weekly for one grade) I’m not sure how well I can get through all quadrants in one session…so I’ll have to see how it works over two.  The quadrants miss the ‘plenary’ or reflection closing…but I don’t think that is intended.  I think the quadrants are more the core focus of good instructional practice.

So..to have all the elements shown clearly… I didn’t feel comfortable with the circle design modeled by the county.  I need my boxes!  Maybe I’m square! lol

Anyhow, here it is.  I added a place for learning needs and styles I am going to start or try to connect with.  Then at the end, I always leave an area to write assessment observations or notes..  In these examples, I still need to add the next and previous levels and link to my “Must, Should, Could” and add my gifted standards.  This is science…I still want to add the gifted standards though.  So one step at a time…
K Science
1st Science
2nd Science
Medium Term Plan from Last Term

This year its been like riding a wave just to stay abreast of learning about the gifted, my gifted class, my pgp goal, learning about BEST, using district data software, learning the lingo and type of data…what it all means…linking standards for 3 grades of science…learning gifted standards (still in progress I won’t lie)..writing EPs, making audit files, fitting into a new school in a new way and learning more about learning styles and GOOGLE!  And now to juggle it all in short spurts of times with students.

Students are amazing people!

Truly…just think about it…I see 1st through 6th grade students for gifted pullout.  My 1st grade only has 1 but after that I go up to 8 to 13.  Each grade has different NGSS as well as different gifted standards.  I have spend the last term getting them on Google, teaching them about their learning styles and then each grade has their own project.  I truly want to engage them, meet their needs and encourage them to love learning!  This year has been hard…but I truly feel blessed to be their teacher!

Hope you all have a good week!  I know I need to post more.