The Sun, Astronomy: Out Of This World! by Dan Green
The read aloud is an excerpt from the book Astronomy: Out Of This World! by Dan Green
Reading aloud to students stimulates their thinking while modeling good reading behaviors. As you read aloud, you expose them to a range of literature and enrich their vocabulary. A read aloud is an important strategy especially for non-readers and low level readers such as ELL and Special Education students. As students listen to the read aloud, they will SL.6.2 interpret information presented orally and explain how it contributes to the topic under study (Earth's place in the solar system).
After reading the excerpt, The Sun, I ask students to Turn and Talk to their partner and share one new thing they learned or a question (SP#1) they have from the read aloud. I give students 1 minute to share and then I facilitate a large group conversation by drawing students into the discussion using popsicle sticks. Both the turn and talk and popsicle stick strategy are useful and easily implemented each day into any lesson.
As student share their thoughts, I am looking for evidence from the read aloud such as: the sun is a yellow, dwarf star or the sun provides heat and light for planets in our solar system.
How To Observe Jupiter, Astronomy, February, 2013.
I ask students to listen to the article (How To Observe Jupiter) using their headphones and then draw and make connections to the article in a reflection. I guide students to search for and then open the article from a link on our district Media Center page. I want students to practice using these search skills and to be able to navigate the district web page or any web page. I want students to listen to the article because this is an active listening strategy that students need to develop and it is an opportunity for them to practice. It is especially useful for ELL, Special Education students, and low level readers.
Using a blank sheet of paper, I ask student to fold it into four, so they will have four squares to write/draw their responses. As, or after students listen to the article, I ask them to write and/or draw their responses. Building my students writing and drawing skills is important to their cognitive development. Using a differentiated approach, I ask students to listen to the article and then write and/or draw a reflection. The reflection is open-ended and offers the student an opportunity to respond in a variety of ways. Students communicate (SP#8) by writing and/or drawing four (4) things they heard or connections they made to the article.
Optional: You can download this article and have students work in small groups to read the text. You could also read the article aloud to the class.
This lesson focuses on several CCSS Speaking and Listening skills such as SL.6.1 which states that students should engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussion with diverse partners, building on other's ideas and expressing their own. I use the strategy Discussion Moves to grow a student's speaking and listening skills. SL.6.1B states that students should follow rules for collegial discussions, set specific goals, and define individual roles as needed and also SL.6.1C states students should pose and respond to specific questions with elaboration and detail by making comments that contribute to the topic, text, or issue under discussion.
What Did You Learn?
I ask students to reflect on the article by having them use the sentence starter "One thing I learned today was..." Sentence starters add rigor to writing and provide a frame of a complete sentence. This is especially helpful for Special Education and ELL students.
I want students to write quietly for 2-3 minutes. As part of a school wide writing goal, I remind students to use TCA's (Target Correction Areas) such as a capital letter, correct end punctuation, and a complete sentence.
Then I ask students to use Discussion Moves to share their thoughts and ideas. I ask students to use evidence from the article to support their answers, ideas, and opinions. I guide students to use their sentence frame for their part in the discussion because I want students to build their speaking and listening skills as they build on each other's ideas. During the large group discussion, my goal is to listen, facilitate, help guide the conversation, and encourage students to stretch their thinking.
Some student responses from the discussion include:
I learned that Jupiter has over 60 moons but only 4 are visible through a small telescope.
One thing I learned today is that the Jupiter is the biggest planet in our solar system.
The student discussion will prompt questions and deeper conversation. It is important for the instructor to listen and address these questions in future lessons. This is a formative assessment strategy that will provide feedback to guide my future instruction. It's important to give students a few minutes to process their thoughts and write a response. It's best practice!