This last week moved us closer to completing work and setting the stage for transition in topics. In the last paragraph, I have a question on presentation ideas. Your thoughts are greatly appreciated.
In Academic, students seem to be very comfortable with our wiki, though little problems crop up (i.e. accidentally deleting whole sections.) Patience is needed for these little things. Students do catch on and working on assignments gets faster and with less incidents with time. As they are now ready for something new, we were to begin blogging. Edublogs, however, was not ready for us (maintenance issues.) Therefore, we will begin some time this next week on our class blog. Plants are easily overlooked by students and one where we are spending a bit more time. Leaf classification went well. Each group created a dichotomous key from the leaves studied in class. Each group used leaves and the key from a different group to analyze how well the key worked. They created a discussion in the tab on their team page to obtain feedback from those using the key. Homework consisted of reflection from different activities in classification and the problems/solutions of classifying. Other activities from the week: collaborative research on microscope use (not higher level thinking but to see what they remember and find out what they know) and research on grains (each group is given a different grain) which will be used when we discuss plant productivity and our food and fiber system. This next week, we apply what we have learned in studying monocots and dicots and prepare for animal classification and a survey of the animal kingdom.
In Biology, we continued research on white-tailed deer and listened to viewpoint and management thoughts of the town mayor and a state conservation officer. With new viewpoints and information, they will return to creation of a proposal and preparation for the debate in our project. Many students are unsure of themselves in speaking in front of others and many need experience. They will have a powerpoint to guide them, but I have been thinking that perhaps allowing them to form their viewpoint by podcast or short movie may be an option. If we used those methods, the town council meeting could then be a debate session on the proposals and clarification through questioning. As our periods are only 43 minutes long, they could review the movies, fill in a grid wit basic information and the debate would occur the next day. What do you think of this option?