The Sort-of-Scientific Method

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Mar 27 2013

Trying Something New

Day 123: My first day teaching research skills was … Interesting. The goal was to give kids a bunch of resources, and have them attack the resources in pairs to answer two purpose questions each. They had a graphic organizer to help them do this, and both me and the librarian to help them.

Ultimately, most groups got at least some research done. But the graphic organizer proved immensely complicated, the idea of each pair looking for two questions was confusing, and kids struggled to find information that fit their question. The concussion group asked if concussions were a disease. The drugs group asked what drugs to focus on. The lung cancer group asked, “Isn’t it obvious what causes this disease?”

So … room for improvement. But hey, it definitely wasn’t a train wreck. Management was fine. As the librarian and I figured out the challenges, we directed students better, and they got more done.

When tired, it can be damn hard to see positives. Yesterday, to put it mildly, I was falling asleep standing up. But thinking about it now, it was neat to see kids reading books to find evidence, and I’m glad I’ve added this research component to the health fair. Even more generally, I’m glad I added something really new to my curriculum. As we get toward the end of the year, finding time and energy to develop and implement new things can feel next-to-impossible. I’m glad I bucked that trend.

About this Blog

Experimental Procedures of a Second-Year Teacher

Greater Boston
Middle School

Subscribe to this blog (feed)