Reflection: Writing Across the Disciplines What Do Fossils Tell Us About Our Earth? Day 1 of 2 - Section 7: Independent Writing


The writing assignment was to explain what fossils are. It was not too much of a surprise to read my students give me examples of fossils instead of explaining what a fossil is. Here is an example: SomeGoodVocabularytoExplainFossils. At least he does state the fossils are the things that decay in the dirt. That is a component of what makes a fossil. This other writing example, GoodAttemptToExplaingFossils, mostly gives examples of the characteristics of possible fossils but does not explain what a fossil is in depth (other than the sentence about how layers of rock help turn bones into fossils). I may revise the lesson next year to make the question more specific so that we can avoid just naming examples.

Moving on, WhatHeLearnedAboutFossils is an example tells us about how fossils can be the skeleton of an animal and provides with good information about where fossils are found and their size and how fragile they can be. However, it does not explain what a fossil is.

Lastly, BeginningtoExplainHowFossilsForm is an example makes a good attempt in explaining how a fish can turn into a fossil, but it stops short of fully explaining how a fossil is formed.

Learning the skill of explanation is a challenging skills for English Language Learners. They need much practice and understanding how a fossil gets formed and then have to explain is also challenging. So my students had a rigorous task. They got a superficial sense of what is means for fossils to be formed, but I feel it was a good start.

What are my next steps? It is necessary to repeat and reteach the concept. Since I used a video and and a book, using a diagram might be helpful. Going step my step and asking the students to explain it orally to themselves first may aid their comprehension of it. I will have to see how that goes.

  Writing Across the Disciplines: Independent Writing
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What Do Fossils Tell Us About Our Earth? Day 1 of 2

Unit 3: All About Rocks: Learning Science Through Informational Text
Lesson 4 of 10

Objective: SWBAT ask and answer questions about fossils.

Big Idea: Fossils are clues to our past. Today, my students will be building knowledge through a video and a story titled, Fossils Tell of Long Ago, by Aliki.

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  60 minutes
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