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This article is the second in a two-part series covering Halley Kartchner’s Provo Way award, what a class with Kartchner looks like, and a quick breakdown of a lab assignment to highlight how she creates stellar lessons. Read the first article here.
Yesterday we celebrated Timpview’s Biology Teacher, Halley Kartchner, for receiving the Provo Way award. Today, we’re getting into the weeds to see how Kartchner prunes out and shapes up award-worthy lessons.
After the Provo Way Award, Kartchner held a Roach Choice Chamber Experiment. She tasked students with conducting behavioral experiments on juvenile roaches and determining what environmental conditions the cockroaches might prefer. Students identified qualitative and quantitative observations, developed testable questions, transformed their questions into hypotheses, and designed experiments using variables and groups. More importantly, however, the investigation supported student learning through the lens of inquiry-based learning. For those unfamiliar with the learning process, it is a methodology that engages students to create real-world relations through exploration. The lesson aided students in learning how to learn, putting the onus on learning through investigation and experimentation.
Every aspect of the lab ticked off the pedagogical best practices.
Halley Kartchner’s lesson emphasized using academic language on her lesson slides and graphic organizers; students intuitively learned scientific language throughout the lesson.
Her students were active participants in learning, completing high-level verbs on Bloom’s Taxonomy. Again, if you’re unfamiliar, Bloom’s Taxonomy is a framework forwarded by the American Education Psychologist Benjamin Bloom and fellow collaborators Max Englehart, Edward Furst, Walter Hill, and David Krathwohl. The taxonomy is a continuum of learning applicable in devising learning targets and goals for your class. Lower verbs start with recollection, identification, and recognition, and high verbs conclude with creation, like generate, plan, or produce. Kartchner’s lesson plan, for example, works well to introduce more difficult verbs on the continuum as students get further into the lesson: first, they observe and identify roach features. Then, they analyze observations to hypothesize. From their hypothesis, they design an experiment, collect and graph data, and again analyze their findings to create a conclusion that relates to science, society, and oneself.
At each point, Kartchner scaffolded learning with graphic organizers and instructional methods tailored to each lesson section. Students worked as a class, in small groups, and individually to complete portions of the assignment, using their peers as mentors until they could eventually complete lesson tasks independently.
Her lesson is a masterclass in creating a lesson plan that builds student knowledge through various skills, supporting students to learn at a high level according to their inquiries. What’s more astounding is that she likely does this every day– she is so proficient at her work that she makes it look easy.
No one is more deserving of the first Provo Way Award this year, and the staff and students surrounding her at Timpview High School are beyond lucky.
Congratulations, Halley Kartchner, and thank you for your dedication and service to your school.