TODAY'S BEST PRACTICE: READ TO YOUR STUDENTS...AND HAVE THEM ACTIVELY LISTEN.
I tell the kids, Science is a part of your life whether you know it or not, but it is not the most important thing you will ever learn.. THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU WILL EVER LEARN IS TO READ AND TO COMPREHEND WHAT YOU READ. IF YOU DO THIS, THEN YOU CAN DO ANYTHING...especially Science!
A friend and colleague of mine teaches high school physics and taught Science 1. He read them a book about science. The students really liked it...9th graders....they don' like anything except grunting and slow moving. I began to read to my students (for a list of some of my 8th grade reads go to the end of the blog).
Another colleague, academic block teacher Karen Ward, introduced me to INTERACTIVE STUDENT NOTEBOOKS (a previous blog) and then another colleague, academic block teacher Roberta Wells, introduced me to the idea of having students ACTIVELY LISTEN to reading passages. So I added these 3 lessons learned from my esteemed colleagues and made a pretty neat method of reading current events, relevant fiction, science related biography, or science passages AND MAKING SURE THE STUDENTS WERE NOT DOZING OFF OR SLEEPING.
A typical reading passage active listening lesson is set up as follows.
1) In their INTERACTIVE STUDENT NOTEBOOKS, I have them put the Title of the lesson, usually the title of the reading passage.
2) NEW, OR UNFAMILIAR, VOCABULARY TERMS and their definitions. I use a POWER POINT to have the words and definitions ready to be given as notes to the kids, either before or during the passage. I usually include pictures and clip art to go with it.
3) At least 6 INTERESTING OR IMPORTANT FACTS from the passage. If it makes you laugh, grosses you out, sounds interesting or neat then write it down. If there is a lot of new terms I usually say only 4 facts.
4) REACTION TO THE PASSAGE, this is two parts: WHAT YOU THOUGHT ABOUT IT and WHAT YOU LEARNED (most interesting fact) ABOUT SCIENCE
OPTIONAL: If you have the time, or it's appropriate for the passage. As and effort to assist my Academic Block colleagues I would include these to help prepare for the end of the year state tests.
5) ALTERNATE TITLE FOR THE PASSAGE
6) MAIN IDEA
7) STUDENT RESPONSE: For an extra credit point and a piece of candy, I would have students share their answers with the class. I make a tally mark on the seating chart for each response. I make sure to call on students that do not have their hands up. The tally marks work really well and it helps you to notice the QUIET KIDS and give them attention.
8) I usually include a VIDEO CLIP to go with the reading passage. It's neat and adds interest.
Here is the list of Reading passages I include and the visual that goes with it.
-NASA's Mars Metric Mix up newspaper article-Power Point pictures, including pics of the AIR CANADA 767 that ran out of fuel.
-Mutant Constipated worms by Dave Barry- I also show the movie CONTACT clip of Ellie pleading for funding and talking about "something really crazy". This is all about how research may seem silly now.
-Introduction "Always the unknown" to Chuck Yeager's autobiography about breaking the sound barrier and the movie THE RIGHT STUFF clip of him breaking the sound barrier.
-Introduction to LIFTOFF by Apollo Astronaut Michael Collins, and movie APOLLO 13 clip of the launch sequence that matches the passages perfectly.
-Raptor Red, a novel by Robert Bakker about a Utahraptor family.(this back when we taught life science in 8th grade)
-Preface to 2001 a SPACE ODYSSEY by Arthur C. Clark. This when I taught genetics and evolution...a cool fictional account of life 2-3 million years ago.
I am presenting this topic at the October CALIFORNIA SCIENCE TEACHERS ASSOCIATION CONFERENCE in Palm Springs. At that time I will have a full package for you to down load at my website.
I hope this helps,
Love to Teach and Teach with Passion
Remember...It's not Magic, It's Science