Reflection: ELL Students What Is a Scientist? - Section 4: Independent Practice and Informal Assessment


As an educator, there are many times that I walk away from a lesson wondering how much my students absorbed, especially my students who are just learning the English.  After I taught this lesson, I took my students out for recess. One little boy in my class who speaks very little English came up to me outside holding a rock in his hand.  He was turning his head and looking at the rock land he pointed to himself and said "scientist".  I almost started to cry.  I responded..."Yes, you are studying the rock.  You are learning about it.  You are a scientist!" 

This little boy who does not have the words to ask to use the restroom, understood what a scientist is.  This really got me thinking about how to best expand the vocabulary of all of my students.  Research shows a strong correlation between the number of words a child uses and understands and success in reading.  With the all the emphasis on assessment in reading and math, content areas like science and social studies have been pushed aside.  This is sad because these content areas really help to expand students' vocabulary.  The reading skills are learned during reading class, but it is the content areas that provide an arena for using and expanding these skills. 

There is much time and energy spent trying to find the "magic bullet" the program or approach that will expand students' vocabulary.  Maybe instead of trying these approaches, schools need to rethink the amount of time spent in content areas. Perhaps a more balanced approach to curriculum will yield the results we all desire. 

  Developing Vocabulary
  ELL Students: Developing Vocabulary
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What Is a Scientist?

Unit 1: What Is Science?
Lesson 2 of 4

Objective: Students will be able to describe what a scientist is and what scientists do by creating explanations and arguments and support these with experiential and observable evidence.

Big Idea: Are your students scientists? Of course they are! This lesson will help them understand what scientists do and how they can be scientists too.

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Science, ELL, SIOP
  60 minutes
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