Science in the City

Feb 13, 2013

8 Important Reasons to Use Foldables With Your Students

Why do foldables work?

My high school students sometimes used foldables, and they seemed somewhat helpful, but for some reason when I got to middle school foldables were great!  Give the kids a chart or some other kind of graphic organizer and they are bored and don't seem to get as much out of it.  Give them a foldable and  they like it.  I wanted to find out why.

I like foldables because....

- They are a little bit kinesthetic.
- They get to be more creative
- They are creating a study tool
- They get to create something that they are proud of at the end.
- They seem to do better at pulling out information, not just copying from the text.
- They really help students organize information.
- Kids like to look back to them to study! They seem to remember where to find their information and find it more meaningful than other notes.

I also wanted to find some other information about foldables and why they work.  I found a lot of opinions, but not a lot of really backed up data.  However, here are some great resources that I found: (discussion of using foldables) (great information on foldables and the common core) (great examples of middle school math and science foldables):
And of course, the creator of foldables  with lots of examples

Here are my products that are in my TpT store that are foldables.  All have been used in my classroom.  These include:
 - circulatory system, excretory and digestive system, heat transfer, sexual and asexual reproduction, plant and animal cells, and more will be coming.  (Can you tell we've been doing human body??!)

If there is a particular topic you want to see, let me know!

Feb 11, 2013

5 Steps to Change Testing And Get Amazing Results

How do we making testing (even unit tests) a growth and learning experience, instead of just an exercise that frustrates kids and takes up time? Here is one thing that I do. I saw it from my amazing mentor when I was student teaching, and have since modified it for my own use, but I think you will be amazed at the results.  Here is what I do.  I don't do it too early in the year, as kids have to learn procedures and expectations/testing behavior, etc.  I also don't do it all the time.
  • On the day of a chapter test or unit test, treat it just like a regular test.  Make them put everything away and work quietly on their own to take the test. 
  • After some time (anywhere from 10-15 minutes, or as the first 1-2 people finish). Usually I like to shoot for when most kids are maybe 2/3 of the way through.
  • Have them work with a partner (either they pick or I pick - depends on the class). 
  • They need to go through their test, with a partner, and agree on their answers.  No copying.  As you walk around they must be discussing their answers if they have different answers, and why they think that's the best answer.  
  • Sometimes I leave it at that.  Sometimes I have a group where I really give them a new answer sheet, and that's what they turn in. 
Why do I do it?  Because as you walk around, you will hear kids having those valuable conversations that don't happen as well under other conditions. They take it very seriously because its for a test grade, and they listen to each other.  You hear kids saying "But it says NOT"  "what does this word mean?  Oh...."  "remember when we did this in class...."  "I think its this because I remember"  

Also, its cuts down the number of kids who just randomly guess, quickly pick answers, or leave blanks down almost to zero.  Maybe you don't have those kids.  I always have.  They get an extra scaffold as they really work through the test questions, and they look closely at the language and choices in a way they don't usually. It also gives them a lot more confidence to work with a partner.  

Try it. If you do, please let me know how it goes :) 

Feb 2, 2013

Science Resource Listing

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