Climate Is What You Expect - Close Reading

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SWBAT closely read a passage about climate and create a visual aid to help others understand the difference between climate and weather.

Big Idea

Climate is the pattern of weather over a long period of time in a given region.


12 minutes

To start off this lesson, I show the video What is Climate? and this Climate Animation from the International Polar Foundation.   I provide students with these guiding questions:

What is the difference between climate and weather?

What is a reason to study climate instead of weather?

I keep asking this question throughout the climate unit. Today I don't call on them to respond.  This is purposeful.  I am trying to develop the habit of mind that will build within students’ capacity the capacity reflect upon a question or theme over longer periods of time.  This is an antidote to the habit of anticipating that rapid fire responses are the best approach.

By the end of this lesson series, students will be able to use specific scientific vocabulary to articulate the difference between climate and weather.  

Simply put, climate can be used to predict what the weather will be in a given location during a particular season, but short-term observations of weather cannot be used to make conclusive statements about climate.  (This type of thinking is seen when there is a blizzard somewhere and someone says that means there is no global warming).




Close Reading - Passage on Climate

50 minutes

I guide students through a close reading of this student reading passage on climate using the following steps:

1st Reading:  The students read the passage independently and silently.

2nd Reading:  I model reading to capture the gist of the passage.  In this step we are looking for the most important information.  When possible, we will use context clues find the meaning of unknown vocabulary.  Using the document camera so they can both see and hear what I’m doing, I go through the first paragraph one sentence at a time.  I underline what I think I would know if I was a 3rd grader, circle any unfamiliar words, and summarize the idea of the first sentence on the lines to the right.  I continue modeling as we read the first paragraph and then call on students to help me with the process for the rest of the passage.

3rd reading:  Now the students reread the passage independently or with a partner AFTER they have previewed the text-dependent questions I’ve written to guide their reading.

Here are some resources for students reading below the 3rd grade level:

Whatever the Weather

Ask a Meteorologist




5 minutes

This lesson has emphasized vocabulary and reading expository text so for the wrap up I ask students:  Write a sentence that restates or adds on to something you learned today about climate, or about how climate and weather are different.

Here is an example of how I walk them through the process of revision at the sentence level: