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Whiteboarding and Thinking in Questions

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I’ve joined Sam Shah’s group in  asking better questions. I don’t think this entry completely belongs there, but I did enjoy this particular bit of class today. 

Part of this year’s changes for me is a whole class-set of big whiteboards, and I’m making a conscious effort to utilize them during class. I really liked the things I saw at ChemEd this summer, and I want to see if I can get those benefits to my students this year. 

In class, we reviewed phase changes, then in groups, students draw a macroscale and a microscale version of a phase change. Every class had a group who made Frozen‘s Olaf melt, as well as the Wicked Witch of the West. Some pretty funny things with sublimation too. *

But here’s where I changed a thing. I had all of the groups present their drawings, and announced that two groups needed refinement or fixing. They went back to their drawings looking for mistakes. After a different class presented, I said for everyone to get up and see if any boards needed fixing or refinement, and to do so. This second class got a lot more out of really examining other people’s diagrams, and a lot of discussion chatter came out of it. I think they probably got more out of the repairs than the previous class. 

This probably isn’t ground-breaking for lots of teachers, but for me, it was good to know how I could trust my students (and how they trust each other) to honestly critique peer work. 

* I really want to post pictures of student work, but my district is really restrictive of it. 

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