I didn't quite get the "diagnostic" into the shape I wanted to use with kids today---but I'm going to keep picking at it. (Yeah, I know, it'll never heal if I do.) And I hope to build in more opportunities for students to reflect during future classes.
What we did today was have a movable feast of study aids. I had the class split up into 4 groups. There were four stations that each group moved to during the class period (about 12 minutes per spot). At one point, a group spent time looking at the resources their book provided at the ends of the chapters, as well as covering the captions for diagrams with their hands and then explaining the picture to a buddy. Another station was for investigating the on-line resources: website for the class and for the text. The third and fourth were two types of graphic organizers. The first was a giant 3-way Venn diagram on carbs, fats, and proteins. The other was a concept map on atoms, bonding, properties of carbon, and functional groups. I really felt like this worked well. It kept kids moving and talking about the material---they did some very nice work.
We had a discussion about these different ways to use information. Not all of them appeal to every kid---and that's okay. But I want them to understand the tools that are at their disposal and also think about how they could use their time with a study partner or group. We also talked about how the average person needs ~21 times of working with new information before they have a "B" level of understanding. Not all of those 21 times can be in class...and more importantly, they have to find a way to "own" all of this information.
We'll see how they do on the test tomorrow.
Meanwhile, I'm still fighting the good fight on being allowed to have the kids blog from school. Our district tech people have been supportive, but slow moving in terms of figuring out how to allow one blog through the internet filter without letting them all through. I finally got fed up with hearing "no," and e-mailed the tech support of the company who makes the filter. Lo and behold, there IS a way to allow a single blog through the filter. I e-mailed the information to our district tech people, who hemmed and hawed, but finally figured it out. As of today, my class now has the only district-allowed blog. Huzzah!
Not bad for a Monday. :)