Monday, January 29, 2018

Teaching Your Future Forgetful Self

From homework, to extra-curriculars, lunch, friendships/other relationships, as well as chores and other duties at home, so much "life" happens in between today's class period and tomorrow's. Units of study are typically scheduled to end on Fridays so that students can cultivate skills throughout the week and test on Friday with the weekend being a mental break and a new unit/topic starting the following Monday. As much as a week-long Thanksgiving Break is desired, it occurred in the middle of a 7th Grade Math Unit causing Medlin Middle School teachers, N. James and B. Salazar, to get creative in overcoming this potential forgetfulness.

Following a rigorous Scope-and-Sequence, students began studying TEKS 11A (model and solve one-variable, two-step equations and inequalities) and 11B (determine if the given value(s) make(s) one-variable, two-step equations and inequalities true) with only three days remaining before Break. In having this unit resume upon return, James and Salazar wanted to find a way for students to not only learn the foundational skills within the limited time, but also retain the information post-break to maximize instructional time focused on next-steps with minimal review.

What better way to remember content than become your own future self's tutor! To do so, students were tasked with creating a video tutorial utilizing Sketch IO and Screencastify that included the following requirements.

Multiple scaffolds were put in place to ensure students were reinforcing correct information. To start, these on-level students were allowed to be in groups no larger than 3 so peer-teaching could be utilized to support and clarify learning. Additionally, students were tasked with prewriting a script which encouraged planning and preparation instead of an on-the-fly performance; furthermore, this script had to include a few Key Terms in order to provide structure to the video whose remaining components were largely decided by student-choice.

Upon return from the week-long Thanksgiving Break, students had access to their own tutorial as well as a shared Google Folder containing their classmate's videos. This repository was valuable because students could hear and see explanations in student-friendly language from multiple viewpoints and problem sets. Creation of this video is at the highest level of Blooms Taxonomy in which students must synthesize information to create their own original work. Through creating a tutorial to teach yourself and others, students not only had to remember, understand, and apply these math concepts, but then use this to analyze the required steps and evaluate their order and purpose so that they could formulate this video. Applying higher level thinking commonly solidifies the learning to long-term memory so that instruction could resume right where they left off before Break with the tutorial videos available for memory jogging and review.

This activity meets ISTE's standard of being a 'Knowledge Constructor' in which "Students curate information from digital resources using a variety of tools and methods to create collections of artifacts that demonstrate meaningful connections or conclusions." (3c)

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