It’s good to have a routine. But then it’s also good to sometimes change up those everyday activities. This week began a new routine in the classroom.
Students were greeted at the doorway. They almost ran into each other as they realized they were expected to line up and wait for further instructions. Their routine of simply entering the classroom first thing in the morning was interrupted. They paused and smiled with curiosity, wondering what was up my sleeve. After our regular greetings, each student received a small piece of paper with three questions on it. They followed the instructions to take a seat, remove their lab work from their backpacks and answer the questions. Furrowed brows, scribbling pencils, and the flipping of lab pages followed. Immediately students were immersed in the work at hand, reflecting on and processing what was accomplished in the previous class and preparing for the current lesson.
They passed their papers forward and we discussed what the rest of the lab entailed. As they gathered goggles, dawned aprons, and assembled supplies, I took a quick look at the entry tickets, immediately assessing what the students did and did not understand about the lab. As I circled between the lab pairs during the lab I was able to target the misconceptions.
Furthermore, at the end of the class we jointly created a set of tables to clarify the definitions for and identification of the positive and negative controls in the lab (relating to the entry point questions).
The entry tickets directed me in how the lesson needed to progress and took the students down a path of greater understanding. The technique will become a regular addition and will also spread to my other classes. Adding a new technique into a lesson also engages the students and generates a new kind of energy within the classroom. Encouraging more formative assessment and the courage to try new techniques in the classroom!