how to get your high school students to work quickly
Ms. DeSalvo revists the essential questions students must address in their summative research paper.
Colorful, inviting classrooms aren’t just for kids. One of the first things that I noticed about Ms. DeSalvo’s room was the care and attention that she put into her classroom displays. And if I noticed it, I’m sure her 10th grade honors US History students do too.
I’ve never taught older students before, so I was especially interested to see the way in which a high school classroom was organized both physically and structurally.
I saw many familiar pieces - an agenda, explanation of the day’s assignment, connection to previous lessons. But I also saw something new and distinct.
Research packet, graphic organizer and assignment overview for US History - American Imperialism
I’d call it: laying it all out. Ms. DeSalvo spent time justifying why they were completing a research paper rather than taking an exam. She used the context of college readiness to fully explain to her students the value of their assignment. She also explained to them how she made it easier (providing resources and graphic organizers to help) than their college professors will. In addition, Ms. DeSalvo showed students how they would be graded and provided them with a rubric. The result?
One student utilizing her handwritten notes, primary source documents and a laptop to begin the rough draft of her research paper.
Far fewer questions and many students engaged immediately when released to do their assignment! This allowed Ms. DeSalvo to conference with each student—some more than once—and provide high-quality feedback about their writing.
What strategies can you share that set your students up to complete independent work faster and with fewer questions?