Classroom Design
A: If I have a class of 30 students, I will let them sit in groups of 5 or 6, depending how the class is. There will be a table at the back called the scaffold station, where kids who need extra help for the day, can come and work with the teacher. I would like to make the students work by following a class routine every day. I will establish this routine in the beginning of the year and let children become familiar with the routine so that the rest of the days of the year they know what to do all the time.
Routine for each workday excluding tests and special events.
Everyday lessons will happen with:
Based on the routine, I think they have enough autonomy. They can work in their stations with their groups. If they do not understand something, they can come learn with the teacher. If they are done with their work, they can ask for enrichment sheets. I like using and teaching with the smart board for most of my lessons. I also like IXL for math and science for the students to practice at home. The student can also pick their own pace of learning using IXL, or when they are in class, based on group work or one on one with the teacher in the back.
Students will be working together when they are working in their stations. Everyone in the stations will have a different role to full-fill, solving one purpose of getting the work done, and in turn, understanding the learning target. The students will be working alone when they have learned the skill and can move on to higher level worksheets. They can work with the teacher, away from their stations, when they do not understand something or need clarification. In their stations when they are working together, they can also discuss or generate ideas about things they need to do or learn, like brainstorm ideas, or discuss a process. More specifically, math problems or science questions based on an experiment.
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Gerald ArditoSyed,
You have clearly been thoughtful in your response to this Excursion.
I have a couple of questions for you.
1. Routine
You said:
Does that mean that your classroom would look exactly the same from day to day? Would it very by content area (say, ELA vs Science) or by any other factors?
2. You said:
I am wondering what you mean by that. What do enough mean? What do you mean here by autonomy?
3. Student roles. You said:
I am confused about how this would work. Can you provide more detail?
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Syed MohsinHello Professor,
I would like to start by saying the second question is very good. I think a little more clarification would help. I have tried and seen others implement this routine for Math and Science. I am not sure, that it would work for ELA in the same manner. I will try to teach my lessons in this way, and during tests and maybe other things that require more attention, I will teach them through the lecture method.
After the Do Now portion of the lesson, I would be teaching the new concept/skill for the day. The purpose of this type of lesson plan concept is to teach students to achieve autonomy/control in their learning. To see if they understand the lesson I have taught them at that point. If some students realize they already know the skills that were taught to them, they can move on to the enrichment sheets and give in that for their classwork for the day. If they are somewhat in the middle of mastering the skills, they can work in groups at the stations(I will talk about the station roles in the next paragraph). If students are completely confused about the lesson for the day, they can start by coming and working with the teacher right away. I think if this routine is done with them enough, they will learn to evaluate where they are in the mastery of a concept/skill.
At the stations every student will have a role, student teacher, material gatherer, notetaker, timer. The purpose of all the students is to all work on the problems at the stations, and then change stations. These problems are suppose to help them practice their new skills. The different roles help facilitate this group work. For example, if a student in the station cannot finish the problem before they need to move on to the new station, the note taker person for the group can help that student complete the notes later, from their notes( btw all students will be taking notes). The student teacher can also help any student that needs help with a problem or skill. The material person, gets all the materials etc.
Teachers who i have seen implement this routine told me that it took them couple of weeks to have it working smoothly. I really like this routine as it really gives student autonomy to take control of their own learning. I also thinks it motivates kids to learn at their own pace and not be stuck with level of learning/pace of others in the class. Often times, i have seen that children get bored if they know something already, waiting for their classmates to catchup. I have also seen that, when students really do not understand something, they are totally unmotivated to even pay attention in class. This is when direct, one on one instruction with the teacher can help them move forward.
Thanks for your questions. Hope this clarifies it.
Sincerely,
Syed Mohsin
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Gerald ArditoSyed,
Thanks for your thoughtful response to my comments and questions. This really stuck out for me:
I will try to teach my lessons in this way, and during tests and maybe other things that require more attention, I will teach them through the lecture method.
I am curious about what you are saying here about direct instruction (lectures, for example), versus cooperative work. Are some teaching methods only good for certain types of information or learning? What do you think?
Teachers who i have seen implement this routine told me that it took them couple of weeks to have it working smoothly.
I would have to agree. It's like any classroom routine. You need to be clear about what you expect, then communicate those expectations clearly, and then allow the children to practice the routines.
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Syed MohsinHello Professor,
I think that a combination of the two methods (direct and collaboration ) is better than just one method. You never know who will benefit from either of the methods. When it is a totally new concept for the kids, direct instruction works best to get them started on the concept. For example, I would think, it would be hard for kids to learn the "process" of calculation in math for some problems if they are not taught the "process" or the performance task part of the operations in a math problem. In other words, they have to know enough to be able to understand the problems that are posed to them. Collaboration, on the other hand, works best when the students are already exposed to some of the learning and can logically figure out a solution or a concept.
Thanks,
Syed Mohsin
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Gerald ArditoWell said. I would still ask you to reconsider what might be possible in constructivist teaching methods, especially with middle schoolers.