Please evaluate my first day plan!

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by HArak24270, Jul 28, 2010.

  1. HArak24270

    HArak24270 Rookie

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    Jul 28, 2010

    First-year teacher, 9th grade bio - 40 kids per class. My goal on day 1, other than to communicate certain class rules and expectations, is to get kids intruiged about biological science. I have 3 mini-activities planned, each designed to faciliate a specific learning objective.

    My question to you is whether you think I have realistically alloted enough time for each of these activities.

    Objective 1: Students recognize that science begins by asking questions, and that biologists ask questions about living things.

    I will show the class images of a few strange and cool-looking animals, such as a two-headed snake or a star-nosed mole. After viewing an image, students will pair up for two minutes to discuss possible questions a biologist would ask about the animal (a Think, Pair, Share activity, 10 minutes).

    Objective 2: Students know the difference between qualitative and quantitative data.

    I will pass out bags of moldy bread, and ask students to verbally share observations about the mold. I will divide the board in half (qualitative data vs. quantitative data) and ask the class where (on which side) each observation belongs (10 minutes).

    Objective 3: Students understand that a hypothesis is a possible explanation for a set of observations.

    I will describe a situation where 50 people got sick after attending a popular sporting event. I will then asking students to come up with some possible hypotheses to explain the mystery illness, and perhaps brainstorm ways that the hypothesis could be tested (10 minutes).

    I figure this gives me about 15 minutes to introduce myself and review rules and procedures at the start of class, plus 5 minutes transition/settling down time (50 minutes total.) Am I off base with time allotment here? It has never been my strong point.
     
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  3. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Jul 28, 2010

    That seems like a lot to do the first day, but it's always better to over plan!

    One thing you might want to consider is that because it's the first day they might be hesitant to talk to one another in groups. If you give them stems to formulate their questions/comments, that might help!

    That third activity also seems like it could be broken down a little more, too. What if you give each group a possible hypothesis and then ask them to brainstorm ways it could be tested. Afterward, the class can share their different theories based on the various hypotheses you gave them. Make sense?
     
  4. HArak24270

    HArak24270 Rookie

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    Regarding stems: is that like a prompt?

    Something like: "One question that a biologist might ask about this animal is...."

    Or should the stem be more specific? "A biologist might ask how this animal breathes because...."

    I think you're right about the third activity. Give them a hypothesis and then let them evaluate it.

    Thanks for the input!
     
  5. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Jul 28, 2010

    A stem is a little more specific than a prompt, like the second one about breathing. It not only will help your conversation, but it will also help your ELL and special ed kids who sometimes struggle with talking in class.
     
  6. KateL

    KateL Habitué

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    Jul 29, 2010

    How will you transition between these activities? They seem fairly unrelated. Run through the class in your head and think about how it will flow.

    Second, how will these activities connect to what you have planned on the following days? Will you revisit qualitative and quantitative data, or are the students expected to know it after doing the 10-minute activity?
     
  7. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    Jul 29, 2010

    Great questions Katel. Although I don't teach science, I think trying to do three activitives on any day that seem totally unrelated isn't a great idea.

    Can you possibly stick with the first activity, which I think sounds great, perhaps give the students more than 10 minutes to complete? The activity really sounds like it could and should last longer than 10 mintues esp since this will be the first time some of these students have meet. It will take them a few minutes just to introduce themselves, figure how what they are supposed to do, who's going to the writing, etc . . Maybe give them more like 15 minutes, debrief the activity, have students give examples of their questions, ask if the students had questions or problems with the activity, then explain WHY you did the activity, and how this activity is an important part of science and how they will use this skill in your class.
     
  8. HArak24270

    HArak24270 Rookie

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    Jul 29, 2010

    Hey, guys. Thanks so much for the valuable input!

    The three mini-activities are tied together in that they illustrate the first 3 steps of the scientific method: asking questions, making observations, and devising a hypothesis. My goal with these little activities was not to fill an entire period, but rather to illustrate a few key concepts as we move through a lesson.

    Of course, I forgot to take into consideration the time I would need to TEACH the concepts before engaging in each activity....:blush:

    My school has us science teachers on a tight pacing schedule that requires us to move at light speed through the material. I usually have to cover 1 section per day - is that normal for an honors Bio class?
     
  9. KateL

    KateL Habitué

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    Jul 29, 2010

    If you try to hit too many concepts, the students will be overloaded and not remember anything. Have you been to new teacher orientation yet? After the first hour or so, I didn't remember any of it (although I could look in the binder they gave me when I needed to know the info later). These students are much younger, and they will be excited and nervous about beginning high school. Maybe try doing a few activities related to just one concept? That way, if they tune out for one activity, they can still get the point through the others. If you jump around too much, you'll lose them, possibly for the rest of the year.

    In addition, at my school, the schedules of the students aren't set for about a week. I have a lot of students moving in and out. If that's the case in your school, don't teach anything essential in the first few days.

    Finally, you might get more responses about the pacing of honors biology if you post the question on the high school subforum. More people seem to visit that one than the new teacher one. And there have been several discussions recently about history classes, so it's time for one on science!
     

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