Dixon Middle School recently hosted its first College Day, with Dixon's school halls becoming a...
This article is the second in a two-part series covering Teresa Dickson’s Provo Way award, what a day in her class looks like, and a quick breakdown of a lab assignment to highlight how she creates stellar lessons. Read the first article here.
Each day is a testament to Dickson’s willingness to exceed in her quest to nurture students.
After receiving the Provo Way award, Teresa continued with her lesson and identified a learning target: I can identify the difference between a “science” fruit and a “science” vegetable.
Her students were active participants in learning, completing a simple verb (which will lead to higher-end verbs later on in the year) on Bloom’s Taxonomy.
Again, if you’re unfamiliar, Bloom’s Taxonomy is a framework forwarded by American Education Psychologist Benjamin Bloom and collaborators Max Englehart, Edward Furst, Walter Hill, and David Krathwohl. The taxonomy is a continuum of learning through verbs applicable in devising learning targets and goals for your class. By employing verbs, students are accumulating small skills through action, leading towards mastery of difficult or complex skills. Lower verbs start with recollection, identification, and recognition, and high verbs conclude with creation, like generate, plan, or produce. In this lesson, students are starting with identification using a set of criteria that will help them compare fruits and vegetables. Eventually, students will manage to compare and contrast (which are two higher-end verbs) independently.
Students received graphic organizers with criteria to recognize distinct fruit and vegetable traits, acquired utensils, and then– the treat– each received a fruit and a vegetable to dissect.
Students reviewed lab etiquette as a class, allowing Teresa to manage the flow of her lesson and discuss success criteria for the assignment. Then, students started slicing produce in small groups, dissecting their fruitage, and working through their graphic organizers. Lastly, students concluded the end of the assignment by themselves.
Also unseen to the average viewer is how Dickson’s lesson seeded best pedagogical practices into an inquiry-based lab assignment. Students first learned what unambiguous success looked like by identifying their learning target and success criteria as a class before working in small groups, then using their peers to guide any gaps in their learning. Graphic organizers helped them review criteria and practice active inquiry, a life skill that will carry over to future lessons. Lastly, students worked on identifying the fruit themselves, accomplishing mastery independently. Overall, each student had the opportunity to explore and ask questions in a structured method that led to learning and improved inquiry-based habits.
Moreover, the whole experience was engaging and fun– not that every valuable assignment must be fun, but this is what Teresa Dickson does– she goes above and beyond.
Thank you and congratulations, Teresa Dickson.