Below are several strategies that have been utilized in my classroom
so far this year:

1. Critical Friends: Students work
their chemistry (math) problems or create their
graphs individually and then share them with their partner ("shoulder
buddy"). The work is then shared with their group of 4 ("pod
partners"). The group chooses one work to represent the group, and
the group posts the work on a board. The groups rotate clockwise to the
next board where they critique the group's work. They leave a positive
comment, a comment pointing out something that could be done better and one
addressing something that is missing. The groups continue to rotate every
2 minutes until they return to their own board, where they read the comments
left by their critical friends. For homework, the students rework their
problems and turn them in for a grade. I use this method to critique
phase diagrams and chemistry problems.

2. Say Something: Students are in pairs and
take turns reading paragraphs and summarizing them. One student reads while
the other summarizes; then they switch roles. We read about physical and
chemical properties.

3. Jigsaw Presentations: Students
each read a section of the text and summarize the important ideas. The
students create posters and teach the other students about their topics.
Students take their notes from each other. This year students each
read about a group on the periodic table, created a poster and presented it to
the class.

4. Scratch Paper Daily Grade: At any
point, I check for understanding by giving students quarter sheets of scratch
paper. They work one problem and I take them up. This only takes
about 3 minutes, and I can check the papers in about the same amount of time. They are worth 10 points. If the student
scores 8 or above, he/she gets a ticket for the Friday Four drawing. The
students enjoy it, and it helps keep them on task. It is a great way for
me to check for understanding and give quick feedback.

5. Frayer Model Word Map: Students
write the word in the middle, the definition on one side, a real world example
on one side, a representative picture on one side and defining criteria or
characteristics on one side.

6. Mingle: Students are in groups of 4
(pods), and each student reads about a different concept. Students use
the Frayer Model to write about the concept. Of the 7 or 8 groups in the
class, 2 or 4 groups study the same concepts. Once they have their
written notes, they find others with the same concept by mingling throughout
the room. They share their
work and add or change their models to make sure they are correct and
thorough. After we mingle,
we form the below circles (Inside / Outside Circles) and students taught each
other about pure substances and mixtures. I also used the mingle strategy to
practice making ionic bonds. I
gave students index cards, and they noted the valence electrons and drew the
electron dot structure for an assigned element. After that the students “mingled” to find
other elements they could form an ionic bond with. After they found each other they used the
boards and wrote their ionic bonds, then they rotated and did the critical
friends activity.

7. Inside / Outside Circles: Students
share information by forming 2 circles. The
inside circle faces out, and the outside circle faces in. The outside circle moves clockwise so
that students can share information and critique each other’s work. We did this as a jigsaw
activity. I also had
students answer critical response questions and critique each other’s work.

8. Two Truths and a Lie: Students reported
on elements by writing 2 truths and a lie about the element. They
presented them to the class, and the class made an educated guess about what
the lie was.

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