Reflection: High Expectations Day Two of Alana Explains the Atmosphere - Section 3: Guided Exploration

 

Like most teachers - I repeatedly request that my students use specific science vocabulary. Then I read my students' science notebooks after an investigation, only to discover that they have completely disregarded this directive.  

This is particularly true for many of my English Language Learners.  I am not sure if they lack understanding of the importance of specific science vocabulary; if they are overwhelmed by content vocabulary; if avoiding the use of specific vocabulary has become a habit - or all of the above.

I have come to believe that the only way I can really foster the use of specific science vocabulary in my classroom is to actively promote its use while students are engaged in their investigations. This seems to be more effective than asking them to go back and "fix" entries.  By the time I ask them to fix something, they have forgotten what it was they were doing and need additional oral practice to figure it out.  The emphasis then becomes focused on "correcting an error," rather than clear communication to begin with.  

I routinely engage in student mini-conferences, as seen in this Video Clip.  These in-the-moment discussions are far more effective at changing student behaviors than correcting after the fact.  

  High Expectations: Fostering the Use of Precise Science Vocabulary
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Day Two of Alana Explains the Atmosphere

Unit 4: Plaid Pete is Modeling Earth's Systems
Lesson 11 of 15

Objective: SWBAT describe how winds in the atmosphere interact with landforms to determine patterns of weather.

Big Idea: How is wind created? Students engage in a series of wind labs that will assist them in understanding wind formation in the atmosphere.

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