Class 9 - 40 minutes
Each student placed a post-it beside their plant cell. I was inspired by the professional dialogue on the firstname.lastname@example.org forum for Irish science teachers, so I decided to begin to incorporate the 'Features of Quality' for assessment of the work of the students. I decided to incorporate peer assessment and to assess in a formative style (AfL) from the Assessment guidelines for the Junior Cycle Science specification. Each student titled the post-it 'My friends feedback to me:' divided their post-it into four columns. The students titled each column:
1. Exceptional (E) - green sticker
2. Above expectations (AE) - blue sticker
3. In line with expectations (ILE) - orange sticker
4. Yet to meet expectations (YME) - red sticker
All students moved around the room in silence assessing the work of their peers. I moved around the room correcting the homework by comment only. I gave one star and one wish to each student. I was very surprised by the high standard of diagrams. I have never experienced such a high standard of labelled diagrams, which of course had a range of standards within. As yet, my students do not have access to a textbook. I believe this is liberating for them as there are no limits to what they can or should learn. As a teacher, I feel I am not limited by what I can teach to who. We have not made a deliberate decision not to use a textbook, we have not chosen one yet.
From my experience to date this term, the standard of knowledge and understanding acquired by them during homework tasks is limited only by their individual abilities, whereas before I believe they used their textbook as a benchmark. In this way, all students are achieveing their personal best. I must also note at this point, that this is the first time I have had a First Year group where all students have internet access at home.
The students completed a mix and match sorting activity of the cell parts, description and function. On reflection, this activity was quite difficult for First Year students. However, I adapted it in the following ways during the task.
The students were finding great difficulty sorting the parts from the descriptions and functions to form columns and subsequently aligning them in rows.
The students participated in a teaching and leanring activity called: 'Who am I?'
The bell for the end of the hectic 40 minutes sounded as we finished this activity. I think these two activities were too busy for a 40 minutes class. I think, in future, I will spread theses two tasks over two 40 minutes classes.
Homework: Each student stuck in a plant cell and an animal cell. They must label and state the function of each part on the diagram.