Science in the City

Mar 31, 2013

Wow! A Great Literacy Freebie For You

Happy Easter!

If you aren't already a member of, or receive the weekly newsletter, you may want to.  They send out a weekly newsletter (you do not have to be a seller) which gives 10 free downloads of various topics and grade levels each week, some featured products, and some discussion of what is upcoming.  Did you know April is Poetry Month?  There are suggestions from  other teachers of how they are using this in their classroom.  Its a great way to liven up your classroom routine, and stay creative in your teaching.

I am writing about the newsletter because I was lucky enough to have one of my products be one of the featured free downloads this week (see picture below).  Strangely enough, it is the product I just wrote about in my last blog post! (I swear I didn't know it was going to be featured).

Photo: Here it is!!
I love this for the feedback as well.  Here are a few of the wonderful bits of feedback I've gotten today!

"Excellent way for Reading teachers and other core subject teachers to collaborate."

"I like this! It's great for common core and higher-level academic reading."

"Great to use with my ELLs? Thank you."

"This is user friendly for high school students and a great tool to share with pre-service teachers to include literacy in their content area."


"This is a great reading activity....As an ELA teacher it's great to see science teachers promote reading skills. We're your newest followers!" 

Here is a link to this week's newsletter.

I actually first got involved in TpT through looking for a free product, and then signing up for the weekly newsletter with the free downloads. There are some great products coming right to your inbox every week, and some inspiration and ideas from a creative and passionate group of teachers.

Here is a link to sign up for the newsletter (all the way at the bottom look for this)

Mar 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

Mar 26, 2013

What do you do to keep yourself comfortable and happy at school?

I haven't been very happy at my current school this year. Because of that (and I'm hoping to transfer) I haven't wanted to settle in and I haven't wanted to buy things related to school or to keep at school. I relented this week, made a trip to the dollar store, and myself and my kids have been much happier. It makes my day go more smoothly, and at makes me happier.

Here are a few items that I bought:

The tootsie rolls are for the kids for prizes (I do a lot of free prizes, discussed in another post) but sometimes it's good to have something material and small to hand out for prizes. And I'm sure I'll eat a few :).

The soap is for myself and my students. Being a science room, there is a sink but no soap or paper towels.

Band-aids are for my students. I don't know if its the same where you are but kids get a hangnail, paper cut, or some other minor injury and they are very upset, disruptive and want to Go to the nurse. Rather than write them a pass, and have them miss half of class, I can often hand them a bandaid and have them sit down and stay in class.

Some of the others are for me. I'm finding it to make a huge difference that I'm comfortable. I can put my hair up mid-day, rather than waiting until the end of the day when I get home, and the same with lotion.

To add to that list -- pencils. But I don't get those at the dollar store. Watch your staples stores in August. They usually have a two or three day sale when packs of pencils are a penny each. There is a limit of two, but with a teacher ID, the limit is raised to 30?? That is another situation where, although I want kids to have pencils and return borrowed pencils sometimes its better to just give them something to write with and keep class moving!

(If my policies seem harsh, remember I teach middle and high school).

What do you keep in your desk or classroom to keep yourself and your kids comfortable and keep class moving smoothly.

To me, it was a good use of a few dollars!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...