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3. Building on What We Know - Cognitive Processing

Questions for Reflection

Question 1: The teacher says she "asks questions to help them draw the kind of concepts that I want them to draw." She appears to lead the children to decide on certain categories rather than telling them. Could the children build their own categories and then compare their categories with those developed by scientists?

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Question 2: The teacher is listing different theories from students without comment. There doesn't seem to be much discussion of them – organizing them in any way.

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Question 3: What was MacLean's goal for the household items activity? How does that fit into her overall plan?

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Question 4: Fe MacLean and Sandie Gilliam make free-flowing classroom discussion look so easy. When I try that, my students either clam up or go off task. How do you get kids started in this process?

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Question 5: Making the pop-up book and drawing the pictures – this looks like it took a lot of time away from instruction. How could MacLean be sure that her students were gaining deep understanding or proficiency as a result of this process?

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Question 6: What strategies are good for locating gaps in a student's prior knowledge without embarrassing the student? I've given pre-tests before, but sometimes they backfire. I'm looking for more.

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Question 7: Gilliam seems to use top-down advance organizers and MacLean seems to move from bottom up – starting with simple, concrete examples and moving to abstractions. Is one better than the other? How do I know which approach to use with my students?

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Question 8: Some of Gilliam's students looked bored or uninvolved from time to time. There are a lot of kids like that in my class. How does she keep them all engaged?

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Question 9: Gilliam appears to have the benefit of a second teacher in her classroom. I'm a one-person show. How can I make sure that all of my kids are getting it when I'm all there is in the classroom?

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Return to Support Materials for Session 3.

Instructions on how to use the Questions for Reflection activity

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