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.