I have found, and heard from others, that a basic procedure that is followed for class time makes planning easier and then students just know what is coming and happening. Co-op classes start this Friday, so I gotta get my button gear and start planning class time. This structure should make it easy to plan several weeks out (which helps make sure I’ve got the supplies I need).
Each class is 50 minutes. And, of course, the very first class will be a bit different just because it’s the first class. But, in general:
- 10 minutes: Group narration of the reading.
- 10 minutes: Questions from students about reading and/or socratic questioning from me
- 30 minutes: activity time. “Centers” style: 3 to 4 activities set up in different parts of the room that students can move between. OR dissection time!
I struggle with keeping track of time, so I’m thinking I’ll set up alarms on my tablet (since I ain’t got a smartphone!) for each transition. When doing an activity at home your time constraints might not be as tight, but to make sure we get to everything I’m going to have cut off narrations and questions after the 10 minutes. To make sure we don’t go too long on any one subject, here at home, we use a timer. Alarms means I don’t have to reset the timer and the specific time isn’t going to change week to week (unlike at home, where one day we start at 830 and next day we start at 845…)
There are weeks/topics that don’t have any sort of activity to take from the book (I tend to either use the activity from the book or upgrade it, not come up with some new activity). If I can’t come up with anything, we will spend the “activity” time discussing the topic, with structure in the form of a bit of extra reading, alternative viewpoints and questions.
Pam Barnhill of https://edsnapshots.com/blog talks about ‘procedure lists’ and even offers neat looking forms for writing out procedures for your subjects in the Plan Your Year set. She talks about using these in history, geography and all sorts of subjects.
If you are doing a more formal science course this year, at home or elsewhere, what procedures do you foresee needing? I’m planning to write out procedures for
- activity stations
- microscope use
- cleaning up
And I’ll have that procedure list out for students to reference each week.