Tuesday, May 31, 2011

PLN: Book Study - Focus, Chapter 6

“Until we put literacy at the heart of science instruction, the goal of science learning for all will elude us.” (173) Similar to the previous chapter on social studies, Schmoker’s main points are the same – we need deep reading, writing and discussion based upon fewer, more targeted standards in science.

Chapter 6: Redefining Inquiry in Science

  •  Critical thinking and content knowledge are interdependent and best learned simultaneously (Hirsch and Willingham in Schmoker 165).
  • We learn content by analyzing and evaluating as we learn.
  • We need fewer science standards taught more deeply. Reduce current standards by 50% (p.178-179 tells you how).
  • Any experiments/labs must be richly tied to the content.
  • “You can’t do scientific work without being a regular reader of scientific articles. Reading textbooks prepares you to read scientific articles.” (Hall in Schmoker 174).
  • Teachers need to model reading and thinking aloud based on science texts. Students need to be shown how to annotate and refer to graphics/charts. (176)
  • Interactive lecture can be the backbone of a lesson. (Ch. 3 of Focus outlines the components for interactive lecture.)
  • Teachers need to develop common assessments and exemplars for each grading period.
    • Assessments should include multiple choice and essay response.
    • Students should be given the assessments up front so they know what to expect.
    • Assessments should be open-book/notes, so students can support their conclusions and arguments with textual evidence.
    • One end of grading period essay question response should be expanded into a longer paper. (3-5 pages)
    • Schmoker does address the grading of these writing assignments – science teachers are not language arts teachers and should evaluate students’ written work on content, clarity and logic (and with a rubric). (184)
  • Students should read selections from the textbook and supplemental and current articles related to science.
    • Teachers have to model close reading and annotation of these texts.
  • Writing and note taking, consistently implemented, contribute tremendously to learning science content. (192)


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