Friday, October 30, 2015

Friday's Teacher Feature: Sharon from the Classroom in the Middle

Hey everyone! It's Friday TEACHER FEATURE TIME! I would like to welcome Sharon from Fredericksburg, VA!

So,  without further ado, here's Sharon!

Exploring New Terrain 

 Thank you, Rebecca, for welcoming an English teacher to Science Girl Lessons! As part of my newest project to write informational text and close reading activities, I’m exploring new terrain by venturing into science!

   Exploring NewTerrain - Close Reading for Science   

 I really got interested in writing about science topics this summer while admiring the beautiful pictures and reading the NASA updates about the New Horizons spacecraft and its long-awaited visit to Pluto.  

 It was fun seeing the photos change as the spacecraft got closer and closer to Pluto and interesting to read about the suspense as the scientists waited to see what information would arrive here on Earth from New Horizons (and the picture of Pluto with the “heart” was cool).  

 I thought kids would really enjoy reading about this adventure too, and so my first few science resources are about Pluto and the Solar System. I now have both informational text resources and close reading resources about space!  

 For my informational text resources, I create a magazine-style page with one or two short articles and a few other text features such sidebars, charts, graphs, and photos. Then, for the students to work on, I add a page of multiple choice questions and a graphic organizer that focus on text features and also text structures such as cause and effect or sequential order. In addition to my Pluto Informational Text, there is a free sample of this type of resource in my Teachers Pay Teacher store called “Let it Snow! Let It Snow!” I didn’t particularly have science in mind when I made this one, but the short articles are about types of snowflakes and thundersnow, so I guess it is about science!  

 For my close reading resources, I write one full-page article and then include text dependent questions and a follow-up activity (either a graphic organizer or a writing prompt) for each of three readings. These resources ask students to look at the reading in depth and require text-based evidence for many of the answers. There is a free sample of this in my store, too. This one is social studies related; it’s about women winning the right to vote, but it’s free, so you can see what the format is like. So far, I have two science close reading resources for sale; one is a single article about Pluto and the other is a set of four articles, Exploring the Solar System.

   Close Reading,  Exploring the Solar System - Four Articles   

 As an English teacher myself, I know what English teachers look for in reading resources, but I don’t know as much about what science teachers look for. I would guess that requiring kids to use text based evidence is important, and I imagine that certain topics lend themselves to student readings more often than others. But I’d love to know more about just what science teachers look for in supplemental reading materials!   So, if you don’t mind, I’m going to take the opportunity of being on a science blog to ask a few questions. Any responses, comments, or suggestions would definitely be appreciated!
  • With what topics (general or specific) do you most like to have your kids do additional readings?
  • What kinds of follow-up activities do you most like to use (graphic organizers, writing prompts, hands-on activities, etc.)?
  • Do you use multiple choice questions or more open-ended ones? Do you like the questions to specifically ask kids to identify text-based evidence for their answers?
  • Would task cards with reading passages about science topics be another useful resource?
  It's always interesting to explore new terrain (even if it is close to home), and for someone who enjoys writing, working with pictures, and reading about all kinds of things, writing these science materials has turned into a fun project for me. If you find any of my resources helpful or if you have suggestions, I would love to hear from you, and I definitely appreciate the opportunity to share my ideas with science teachers on Science Girl Lessons!

  Classroom in the Middle   

 Guest post by Sharon Fabian, from the Classroom in the Middle blog. Sharon has spent over 20 years teaching English, reading, and other subjects to middle school students. She loves having more time now to create and write about resources for teachers – especially materials for teaching reading, vocabulary, and writing to students in grades 4 through 8.

Be sure to click on the image above to visit Sharon's TpT store Classroom in the Middle!

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