Reflection: Students with Disabilities All New-Tons Of Fun Lab Stations: Day 4 - Section 6: Constructing Explanations: Balloon Rockets


When writing ABCDE paragraphs, I quickly learned that students with writing disabilities that have an IEP or 504 needed help organizing their science ideas. In this lesson, I have included an adapted version of the ABCDE paragraph for students that fit that description to use. This version is meant to serve as a scaffold that helps students learn how to format a discipline-specific paragraph. The word scaffold means that is it a tool that can provide support as the students build their writing foundation. However, it is not meant to be used as a 'crutch'. Specific and intentional instruction about how to write paragraphs should be given to these students that are utilizing this version. Without taking the time to conference with these students and help them identify the important transitions used, the format/structure of the paragraph, and the patterns in the way that the data is used, the adapted version goes from a scaffold to a fill in the blank worksheet. Without instruction, the students are not building the foundation they need to become independent writers. The goal is that at some point, they would not need this version.  

I often have students follow a pattern like this:

1.  Student uses adapted version for the first 2 - 3 labs of the year.

2.  Teacher conferences with student after/during each use of the adapted version.

3.  Student writes a full paragraph on the next 2 - 3 labs, but has the adapted version next to them to use as a reference if needed.

4.  Teacher conferences with student after/during each independent attempt with the reference handy.

5.  Student attempts a paragraph independently.

Now, this pattern doesn't work for everyone.  There are some students that will require more intensive and lengthy work to reach independence.  For these students, you could simply move towards students independently writing an assertion and using the adapted version for the rest.

The key is that these tiered/adapted versions should be used to build understanding and promote growth and independence! 

  Use Adapted Versions as Scaffolds, not Crutches
  Students with Disabilities: Use Adapted Versions as Scaffolds, not Crutches
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All New-Tons Of Fun Lab Stations: Day 4

Unit 8: Forces and Motion: All New-Tons of Fun!
Lesson 4 of 6

Objective: The student will be able to apply Newton's Laws, when building Newton's cars and then apply it all to balloon rockets.

Big Idea: Want to get your students excited about literacy? This lesson provides an exciting context to work on scientific reading, writing, speaking, and designing. Students complete fun labs as they create Newton's Cars and launch balloon rockets!

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