Reflection: Rigor What are the Effects of Oil Spills? - Section 4: Explain


There are no bones about it, this is a tough lesson to teach. Science teachers are required by districts, states, and national standards to teach more reading and writing. I started this lesson under the demand for teaching technical reading and writing skills. I taught it last year and nearly cried. The students hated it, I hated it, and the student learning was not worth the pain.

This year it was a lot easier. I anticipated the problems and nipped them at the bud. I walked my students through the reading to help them.  The vocabulary is strenuous and the scientific language is confusing. Determining unknown words before the lesson is pinnacle to student learning. By announcing that the words are adult science words, I relieved the students stress of feeling stupid when encountering an unknown word. By writing the words on the word wall and defining the words, I helped students grow in their knowledge of language. Partner reading helped immensely. Students were instructed to read out loud. Understandable sections had two brain hits, ears and eyes.  I walked around the room listening for problems and helped out when I could. I asked students to stop and discuss what they had read and I encouraged questions. 

I never asked students specific questions about the reading and I'm glad I did not. I wanted to assess student learning through the annotations. The annotations allowed students to focus on their understandings. Based upon the T-charts and the students summaries, the strategy was effective. 

  Reading a Technical Report
  Rigor: Reading a Technical Report
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What are the Effects of Oil Spills?

Unit 5: Exploring Non-Renewable Energy Sources
Lesson 5 of 9

Objective: SWBAT understand how oil spills create environmental issues.

Big Idea: How do contemporary events impact our energy choices? With the use of two reading pieces, students examine the effects of an oil spill.

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