Following Directions

Saturday, September 28, 2013

The supply station all set up for my first class.

The supply station all set up for my first class.

In the second week of school we did our first lab. I talked about how I had to revamp the lesson by 8th period in this post. We had to re-do the lab the next day as a whole group.

Fast forward 3 weeks to Week 5 of school when I decided that I’d try again. Give them a lab with a caveat, “Today we’re going to do a lab to figure out if yeast is alive or not, and I’m issuing you a challenge: I won’t be helping you.” Cue the cries of “What?! Ms. Reveal! What?” After the initial shock, they accepted my challenge.

My students trust me a lot more than they let on. Maybe a little too much sometimes. I think a push to struggle through something without my help was exactly what they needed. They need to learn to trust themselves. When I set out to write my classroom vision statement at the beginning of summer training, I wrote about equipping my students with the tools to believe that they are capable of high achievement. We’re still working on it, but this lab was a huge step.

My absolutely favorite, science-teacher-heart-melting point in the day was when students asked to start over because they’d followed the directions incorrectly. Of course of course of course you can start over. Of course you can do it right the second time.

After all, I start over ever day. I try it again, I try it differently, and sometimes it works.


Adding yeast a little bit at a time.


3 thoughts on “Following Directions

  1. Loved your blog this week, Ruth. So glad the lab experiment was a success, even if they did have to start over to get it right. I believe you make this class fun for your students. Good job. Xo, Lolo

    Sent from my iPad

  2. Kudos for your wonderful,
    empowering challenge to your students! Isn’t it gratifying to watch them test themselves and find the path to success?
    “Light bulb moments” are the best!!

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