Friday, March 29, 2013

Are You Struggling with How Common Core Affects Science?

I was asked what effect common core has on science education.  I have been looking, and found very confusing and mixed information.

Some sources only want to discuss the Next Generation Science Standards, or other moves towards National Science Standards.

Some articles and references seem very anxious and concerned about common core changes.  Other seems to advocate that the changes are minor for science.  Here's my take.

Most references that I found reference the appendix of the ELA standards, which is for informational text, science, social studies, etc.   That's where I first turned too.  There are many references in there about reading and writing informational text, procedures, drawing conclusions, supporting with evidence, etc.  In my mind, these are all things that we do in science already.  The common core puts more emphasis on them, and ties them more thoroughly with other subjects and with specific language objectives.  They are skills that scientists (and science students and teachers) are hopefully already doing.

However, one area that I think we struggle as science teachers and don't reach our full common core potential is in reading strategies.  (CCCS on reading informational text (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI). We expect kids to be able to read, or we find alternative ways around it, such as notes, hands-on, demos, videos.  We do need to teach reading strategies, even though we are not reading teachers.

This is something that I work on a lot in my classroom because the district I work in historically has students with very low reading levels.  Along with this, I have always taught courses ending in a state exam, where the reading level is at or slightly above grade level.  This is not a good combination.  Reading level is the biggest predictor of how they do on the exam.  (a topic for another day).

Anyway, one strategy I use for reading out of a textbook is this freebie available at my store.  It is really a scaffold to teach a good strategy for reading a textbook.  It includes what to do before reading the chapter (previewing), what to do during (vocabulary, looking at text features, recording new information and connecting it to what is already known) and after (questions you still have and reflection on what you learned).

It is in a format that kids can readily fill in and understand.  This has been very popular with our ELL and SPED teachers and students, and used for students in grades 7-10 with very good results.

If you use it, let me know what you think in the comments.  If you have suggestions or other strategies you use, let me know that too!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

1 comment :

  1. I teach elementary, but this looks like something I could definitely use with my high school son!
    The Bomb-Diggity Classroom


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