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In middle and high school science classrooms, time and attention can often feel like they are in short supply. But starting the year off by scaffolding habits and developing resources that set students up for success can go a long way in maximizing science learning time and minimizing distractions, so that educators can keep students focused—and rekindle their natural curiosity about the world around them.
Posting daily objectives and starting each class period with a related “do now” helps get everyone on the same page, while using instructional strategies like the scientist circle—where students face each other and contribute ideas—gives every student a voice and encourages them to articulate their thinking. Putting anchor charts and other visual resources, especially student-generated ones, up on the walls can help students become more independent thinkers, eventually turning to the posters for reference instead of asking teachers for help, and sharing a progress tracker that helps students monitor their ongoing investigations and celebrate their findings keeps the whole class on track.