Saturday, October 07, 2006

3-Period Lesson

One more thing I found, from Marshall Montessori IB High School--from the biology teacher:

The Three Period Lesson:Each unit will be presented as a Three Period Lesson. During the first period, at the beginning of each unit, the instructor will present a story (conceptual summary) to introduce the unit, give an overview of the unit schedule, present mini-lessons, and discuss assignments and project requirements. During the second period, students will become an expert on the content and processes through research, exploration, experimentation, and application of their topic in a paper, created piece, artistic expression, etc. During the third period, students present their final product to the class, sharing their knowledge and collecting the expertise of their classmates. Students are accountable for both the material researched and presented.

I had never thought about a 3-period lesson approach for high school. It's a huge part of the preschool/kindergarten Montessori experience, but not really talked about after that. It's almost so simple. The above is an adapted 3-period lesson for older kids, but why couldn't a more traditional 3-period lesson be done with older kids, especially those needing to feel more confident?

Period 1: You present the information. I think I do what teachers tend to do--try to get the kids involved in this stage too much and too quickly. Some kids are ready, others aren't. (Omg, as I type all this out, the various pieces to different problems are all fitting together and making themselves so clear!)

Period 2: You have them identify things. This could apply to all kinds of things. I'm thinking math here, specifically, but even in LA and French and the 12yo's science, and with dd for German and... (Excitement is growing.) I show the 15yo the equation we'll be working with. Explain and provide and example. Then I ask her questions to show me the different parts. I provide an incorrect example and have her identify where it's incorrect. This is the recognition stage of learning. I rarely had to spend much time in recognition stage as a student--sometimes 0.0001 seconds. Am I expecting the kids to be like me? You know, it's funny, I learned about the recognition level of learning in my teacher training, but few programs actually incorporate it. It's vital though, I think. Too many programs move too quickly from the presentation to the recall/understanding stage (Period 3).

Period 3: Have them use their knowledge to attempt questions on their own.

I love wonderful insights. :) Marva Collins, while I'm not able nor willing to entirely adopt her full approach in our homeschooling, got me going on realizing the confidence levels have to be built up, there are ways to talk to kids and approach kids to help them be more confident and motivated and simply direct them when they're unwilling to direct themselves. But it wasn't enough, because I feel so strongly about the Montessori approach. I couldn't fit the pieces together between the two somehow for the levels I'm working with this year. But I'm beginning to!

1 comment:

Lisia said...

I like this idea of applying the three period lesson to doing projects with older children. I think this will work well with my nine and eleven year olds.

So, period 1, look at the information: read books, visit people and places of relevance (museum exhibitions etc.). Your quote says experimentation is done in period 2 but maybe some experiments, which present information, are appropriate to period 1.

Period 2 is trickier I think ... children need to use the information in some way in order to get more familiar with it ... maybe this is the time for Montessori classification activities and other activities aimed at organising what they've learned. I guess this is when children will pose questions stemming from the information gathered in period 1 and research answers.

Period 3, present the information to others in some form: tell others about it, write about it, make a poster or lap book or model. I've noticed that 6-12-year-olds do this spontaneously: pretty much every time one of my children's friends comes to visit, they will at some point start a sentence, “Did you know ...” and proceed to tell me some obscure fact about clouds or animal welfare or car engines... whatever they have been studying lately.

I don't remember any period 2 in the project work I did at school. First we would plan our presentation (period 3) then we would read and research what we needed for our presentation (period 1 but thinking all the time about period 3). I think children enjoy the period 1 work more if it is done for its own sake: to gather information.

My 11yo ds recently decided to do a project on global warming. Over the last few days since I read your post on the three period lesson, I've been reading books on global warming with him. It's been very relaxing just reading and discussing without asking myself all the time, “What can I get him to do with this?” I think his own questions and discussion will direct me as to when he's ready to delve deeper and what form that should take.