Monday, September 12, 2011

Speaking and Listening in science

   Think about this:  If your students aren't talking in science, chances are they aren't fully processing what they are learning either...hmmmm....

Good science instruction should start with a discussion - not a lecture.  Teacher pose a question to review a concept or vocabulary word presented in a previous lesson or simply introduce the focus question for the new lesson.  The conversation begins...

Let's talk about whole class discussion protocols:

  • Think-pair-share:  when I want the whole class engaged (and not zoning off) I will pose a question for them to answer. First, give them a minute or two to think - then they share their answer with a partner. This can be as simple as turn to your neighbor or visiting a clock buddy (cooperative grouping strategy).  Why I like this:  I have noticed that this allows my quiet, less outgoing students a chance to express what they are thinking in a safe and meaningful way.  Many of our students need to talk through their thinking for meaning connections and this is a perfect way to provide this structure.
  • Pick a stick:     Write every students name on a craft stick and put in a cup.  Some teachers even put their own name on a stick so that they can express an idea!    One new suggestion I saw was to put tape across the middle of the cup so you can store the names you have called on one spot...Why I like this: This is a great way to keep you honest!This allows you to call on names randomly and give everyone a chance.
  • Whip around: Each student take a quick turn sharing a thought or reaction in a circle or at their desks.  Questions are phrased to elicit quick responses that can be answered in a few words.  Ex:  Name an animal that lives in a pond ecosystem...Why I like this:  It's quick and fun!
  • Group posters:  Have the small group record their ideas on a poster and do a quick share or gallery walk.  Why I like this:  It allows kids to work together and it is a quick snapshot into the group's thinking...plus, it is a tangible record you can display in your classroom!

PS:  Tomorrow: I will discuss Partner and Small group discussions...

1 comment:

  1. I have never used the "whip around" strategy. I'll be testing that out tomorrow during our mass lab!

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