Thursday, January 20, 2011

Science Reading and Learning

While I'm working on teaching nonfiction in my reading class right now, I'm still muddling along in science. This is our first year of working through the curriculum, and it's hard. Teaching the concepts requires a deep and well-developed knowledge--I often find myself reading and researching in the evenings and weekends!

Our textbook is glossy and beautiful. However, it is not always the best resource for my students. Often it defines words using other difficult words. Most pages breeze quickly through important content.

I've been working, then, to find other good resources. Reading has a few projectable books that fit in with our curriculum, and we have some choices in our bookroom. When I can't find what I'm looking for, I create things for my classes. This "Animal Adaptations" text is an example of a short article that I wrote. At the start of a unit on animal adaptations, it's vital that students know how to pronounce the word "adaptations"! I wanted students to read a text that uses the word repeatedly, over and over. This would give them the schema they would need to find success in the rest of the unit.

Sometimes, I do create a Powerpoint to illustrate the content. I don't like to do this for every concept, because I want students to have to cope with content area text. But some topics just lend themselves to teaching with bright, intriguing photos! The Behavioral Adaptations presentation below is an example. As we go, I encourage students to use the vocabulary as often as possible. Luckily, the room in which I teach science has tables, so students can talk with others and share their ideas. This makes the presentation less of a lecture and more of an interactive discussion.

Working on new topics is never easy. But at least it's interesting!

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