Saturday, June 19, 2010

Left Side Processing Examples

The structure of the notebook is very specific, which I really love. Right-side pages are "teacher-input" which can be lecture notes, lab procedures, reading assignments, etc.

The left-side pages are intended to be creative, student-driven assignments that process the material on the right. So, each left/right side pair is linked in content.

Over the course of the year, my processing activities became more mundane and worksheet heavy. Next year, I want to challenge myself to make those processing activities really strong and give students an opportunity to be really creative and use their unique voices.

Some of my creative processing activities from the past year appear below, with an explanation of the linked content on the left-side page.

Right-side teacher input: Students observed a teacher-directed demo called elephant's toothpaste (hydrogen peroxide and potassium iodide, very
exothermic!). Students practiced making high-quality, scientific observations.

Left-side assignment: Write two questions you have about the demonstration. Sometimes this experiment is called elephant's toothpaste, and sometimes this is called Old Foamy. Give this experiment a new name and illustrate the name with at least four colors.

Right-side teacher input: Cornell notes on solutions.

Left-side assignment: Frayer models, a fairly common vocabulary strategy that I love. I pre-cut colored paper to make this a little more exciting.

Paper is divided into four sections. The vocabulary word goes in the middle. In the quadrants, students fill in: the definition, another gets characteristics, examples, and a picture.

I've seen multiple variations on this model (also multiple spellings... Is it Frayer? Or Freyer?). I will sometimes do definition, picture, examples, and non-examples depending on the word.

Right-side teacher input: Cornell notes on mixtures.

Left-side assignment: The only foldable I did all year. I'm not a huge fan of foldables, but I learned this at the CAST conference and it was too awesome and perfect.

One piece of paper folded in half, then cut three strips and label with heterogeneous mixture, homogeneous mixture, and pure substances. On the inside, include the definition, and example, and a picture.

My favorite part: underneath the "pure substances" flap are two additional flaps! One for element and one for compound. Very clever. Inside these flaps, include a definition, an example, and a picture.

Other assignments I have not done but want to try next year include: haikus, acrostic poems, comics, cartoons and songs. One idea a colleague and I had while brainstorming was to choose 8-10 creative assignments and teach these over the course of the first unit in the year. Then create a wall in your classroom with each of these assignments displayed with the guidelines for each. As you get to a left-side processing page and all of these creative assignments have already been taught and practiced, you can start to allow student choice by saying "choose a creative assignment from the wall" or "choose from these 3 options." That way, students are still processing creatively but there is more freedom of choice.

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