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Upper El (Mr. D): Story Feedback and Building Humans

** Catching up on blog posts, part II. Let me take you back in time to one week ago...

This week, Upper El practiced giving feedback on someone else's writing, and we took the next step in our Chemistry journey: learning how the human body is built, starting with atoms and working up.

Writing stories is a lot of fun, but getting feedback on our creations can be uncomfortable. There are some parameters that we can follow, though, to provide constructive observations that are helpful and not hurtful. That's where we started.

It is all about observation and doing our best not to offer suggestions––unless asked for them. So, I can observe that I am confused about a certain point in the story, but now it's up to the writer to figure out how to fix that confusion. Perhaps they know, or perhaps the writer follows up with questions. The idea is to let the artist be aware of things in their story that did not have the effect they desired but leave them with the power to change the story how they wish.

Once students were done with their current story, they found someone else in the same boat and swapped stories. They read and then offered feedback. Students looked for questions they had, things they didn't understand, and parts of a story that read slowly or too fast. It was very productive, and after students received feedback, they tweaked their stories to fix anything they needed to.

Our next assignment in our chemistry unit is about building a human from the atoms up. I've made a three-part card set for the students to work through. We grow in levels of complexity from atoms to molecules, and then to macromolecules, and so on. There are nine layers of growing complexity, ending in everything combining together to create the complex machine that is the human body.

For each layer, there is a title, a picture, and a description. Students will match all three together and put them in order of growing complexity. Once they feel they're done, I will check it, and if all is in the correct spot, they can move on to answer some questions about what they've learned in the process. We'll finish this next week.

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