Reflection: High Quality Task Introduction to Matter: Plaid Pete & Seth Sort Out Their Homework - Section 6: Reflection & Closure


I begin the school year by introducing and supporting the academic language that I expect students to use in the classroom.  I provide each student with a copy of the Academic Conversation Card printed on card stock.  During the first few weeks of school, I will introduce each of the 5 different categories.  I do this by highlighting one of the categories in a specific color (e.g. orange, yellow, blue, pink, or green) and then ask my students to do the same thing.  I model examples of how the language is used.  I then provide opportunities over the next few days for students to use that language.  I require all students to have the card with them during the activities.  Once students are consistently using academic language, the cards are no longer needed.

I reinforce the use of the language by using both social reinforcers (noticing and praise) and tangential reinforcers.  For the tangential reinforcers, I have constructed a "Bingo" Board - a large laminated Bingo chart with squares in which students write their name.  I have 2 wooden die - one with the letters B-I-N-G-O on the sides and 1 with numbers.  I roll the dice periodically to determine "winners", erase the board, and then start again.  Winners choose from the treasure chest - a basket with homework passes and other items from the dollar store.  I use this reinforcement system quite heavily, and fade so that it isn't even used at all by the end of the year.  

This process has greatly increased the use of academic language in my classroom, not just for my English Language Learners - but for all of my students.  

You can find the 5 categories and many of these stems in the book Academic Conversations by Jeff Zwiers and Marie Crawford.

  High Quality Task: Supporting Academic Conversation
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Introduction to Matter: Plaid Pete & Seth Sort Out Their Homework

Unit 1: What's The Matter Plaid Pete?
Lesson 12 of 22

Objective: SWBAT classify items from a list as matter or non-matter, and describe common properties of matter.

Big Idea: What is matter? Students help Plaid Pete and Seth with a homework assignment that has them sort items from a list into categories of matter and non-matter.

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12 teachers like this lesson
Science, academic discussion, notetaking
  65 minutes
2014 10 07 14 56 30
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