[Effective in small and large classes and easily adapted to online teaching]
Purpose: (a) present concepts; (b) promote higher-order thinking; (c) allow students to assess their knowledge and mastery during class time; (d) actively engage students in learning content.
Process: A notetaker is a handout given to students electronically before class. Unlike Power Point slides that replicate your lecture, a notetaker encourages students to interact with an organized (but incomplete) body of information intended to promote learning. By deliberately building in learning activities, students engage with the content and become active agents in their own learning. Notetakers emphasize the structure and connections between your content. To use the notetaker as the class progresses, have students work individually or in small groups to complete the activities. Here are some typical learning tasks that might appear in a notetaker:
- Check which attributes of... are correct (excellent assessment)
- Label the diagram, which direction will forces act on this...
- Select, pick out, identify, classify or categorize
- Mark the line on the graph that represents...
- Circle parts of the mathematical formula
- Mark on the map/diagram...
- List factors that inhibit/promote...
- Make a scale drawing (great to assess misconceptions/preconceptions)
- Balance the chemical equation
- Provide words that link these 2 concepts
- Predict what will happen if...
Source: Dr. Robert Noyd, Botonist, U. S. Air Force Academy.
[Effective in small and large classes]
Purpose(s): To brainstorm ideas about a given topic in a way that gets students actively involved. Roundtable can be used for review and recall, for predictions, for practicing a skill, or for idea-generation. It reinforces the value of teamwork.
Steps: Students in a small group (3-5 in number) respond in turn to a question or problem by writing their ideas on a single sheet of paper that circulates rapidly among them. As they write, students say the idea out loud. Students may pass, although you might want to limit that option to one round. As with other brainstorming activities, students should not slow the flow of creative ideas by stopping to explain, question, or evaluate.
Variations: Rather than circulate a blank sheet of paper, students can circulate a sheet containing "prompts" or a diagram (e.g., In an architecture class, the paper contains three subheadings: "Doric, Ionic, Corinthian" and students in turn add the distinguishing elements of these types of Greek architecture). Several rounds can occur: In a biology class, for example, students identify the components of the respiratory system and then in another round, add their functions.
Assessment and follow-on: You can determine how well students understand concepts by collecting the Roundtables and reviewing them. If you asked them to summarize the main points of your lecture, for example, you get rapid feedback about their understanding. Roundtables usually form the basis for later discussions, projects, or assignments.
Examples from various disciplines: Government: Describe the various international roles played by the United Nations; Art: Identify the defining characteristics of impressionistic painting; Medicine or Psychology: List the various symptoms of schizophrenia, AIDS, or co-dependency; History: Summarize the most important events of 1918 or any other significant year; Engineering: Provide examples of well-known engineering trusses.
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