In my 8th grade algebra class today, the students worked in small groups on an EtherPad. An EtherPad is a real-time, collaborative, online editor. Students worked in their small groups to create an outline of a lesson about scientific notation. They began with a very simple outline/template on the EtherPad and the instructions were to give as much information as possible under each category given to them. The lesson was relevant as they had to research real-life examples of scientific notation. The lesson was integrative, as they had to explore the uses of scientific notation in mathematics, science, and technology. The lesson was exploratory, as they had to collaborate to complete an outline with explanations and examples. Was this lesson a developmentally responsive lesson for middle school students? I believe the lesson was because I observed the students collaborating, encouraging, questioning, and assisting their peers. “The middle school curriculum must reflect a genuine concern for young adolescents by addressing self-esteem, self-identity, peers, and friendships” (Manning & Bucher, 2008, p. 90). In addition this activity was exploratory with some independent aspects of writing and researching included. Manning & Bucher explain, “the psychosocial needs of 10-to-15-year-olds address their search for independence” (2008, p. 90).
It is great to start a week with a lesson that I feel good about. My challenge now is to carry that momentum into tomorrow's lesson. As much as I saw my students grow, collaborate, and own today's lesson, I feel that their success helped me to grow as an educator. I want to continue improving my instruction.
How have you kept the momentum going after a lesson that you felt was successful?
Manning, M. Lee, & Bucher, Katherine T. (2008). Teaching in the middle school. Allyn & Bacon.