Next Generation Science Standard Connection
In this lesson I connect to 1-ESS1-1, and the students explain the pattern that the moon is visible mostly at night. After reading, exploring, and making observations the students learn that the moon reflects the sun's light. The students also learn that because the moon reflects light from the sun it is visible during the night. In previous lessons students have learned about the structure of the moon, and they have learned that it moves from the east to the west in the sky. I have also taught several lessons about the orbit and tilt of the earth around the sun. These lessons seem to have some prior knowledge I feel my students need to understand about the sun and earth. Once students have a concept of how the day and night happen, and what causes day and night we can begin to study why the moon is visible at night.
In planning, I typically read a standard and think about all the prior knowledge my students may need to be able to do what the standard asks, and then I design lessons to help my students learn, and when I teach the explicit standard my student understand. This helps keep my students from becoming confused with new information. It's like I am laying a foundation for the studnets.
Almost all of my lessons include the same transitions, and I do this because it seems to help my students persevere through complex tasks. I try to move the class frequently and keep the students working with a partner of a different ability. Using heterogeneous ability groups of two supports one student and engages the other student in a higher order thinking activity as they work to explain and justify information to their partner.
Now, my transitions start in the lounge or carpet where students sit by their partner and have assigned seats. Then we move to the desks in the center of the room for the explore, explain, and elaborate sections. Last, the lessons ends back in the lounge.
The lesson begins in the lounge where I try to activate my students' knowledge, excite them, and assess what they know. I project the lesson image on the Smart Board to excite the class and then I say, "Tell your partner what you know about why we see the moon at night." Then I listen and I do record some of their conversations on a piece of chart paper. Next, I use one of my fun ways to stop discussion. As the students talk I am assessing their prior knowledge.
Then I ask, "Will somebody please tell the class what you discussed?" Then we listen and I follow up with another question. I say, "Will somebody add to that?" I am just trying to get the students to build upon the comments and ideas of their peers.
Finally, I share the plan for the lesson with the class, because when students know what is expected they seem to comply with instructions. So, I say, "Today we are going to read a text about how the moon reflects the sun's light. Then you will fill out a foldable showing your understanding of why the moon appears at night."
When it comes to questioning the first thing to do is to ask the question and write the question on the board. My students copy the question down in their science journal as I am writing. Then I read the text to my class while each child follows along in the text on their desk. This is a good practice to help the students learn the new information without having to worry about decoding, since many first graders are still learning to read. Now, before my third and final whole group reading I ask the question again by saying, "Remember our question: When do we see the moon and why? Now, when you hear the answer in the text as I am reading, underline or highlight it." Then I read the text aloud for the third time. After reading, I say, "Please, record what you underlined in your science journal under your question. You have now recorded a question, and finished research to find the answer just like a scientist." This is what their work looks like: student work.
During this section the students practice their communication skill by discussing the notes they recorded in the explore section based on the text I read aloud. First, the students tell their shoulder partner what they recorded, then they share across the table, and last we engage in a whole group discussion. Engaging students in discourse serves several purposes, and the first is that I can see who understands the answer to the question. Second, students get to practice talking about science, and they can change their notes if the decide they were not correct based on what they discussed with their peers. Third, I can stop in and have a conversation to help the students, and sometimes I do reread the text and help the students locate information. Other times I just make the students talk by saying, "Did you already discuss your notes? Do you have the same information? Did you need to change or add anything to your work?" Last, I use discourse to teach students to build upon the knowledge of their peers, which is a great habit to develop in students. I really promotes collaboration.
So, I say, "Turn and tell your shoulder partner what you recorded in your notes?" I walk around and listen. I hope my students are saying, "The moon reflects the light from the sun." Then I add, "Please, tell the group across the table what you recorded in your notes. Be sure to change anything you think might not be correct, or ask me if you need help." I walk around and look at students work to make sure everyone is on the right track. Last, I say, "Will somebody please share your what you discussed at your table or what you recorded in your notes?"
Now, my students are ready for the section where they take this new knowledge that the moon reflects the light from the sun, and this is why we see the moon at night. My students are going to create a foldable and glue it in their science journal.
First, I say, "Now, you are going to create a foldable: student work where you write one fact about why the moon is seen at night on the "night" side. There should also be an illustration about the fact. On the other side write one fact about why the moon is not visible during the day, and illustrate the sky in the day."
As students work I walk around and help them by asking questions, and making observations. I find myself asking, "What does the sky look like at night? What does the moon look like at night? You can illustrate it at any shape that you choose, since the moon can be different shapes. What does the sky look like in the day? Why don't we see the moon?" These questions lead the students to the answers, and they discover the answer without me just saying it. I also ask some students to tell the me answer and I write it for them in a highlighter. Sometimes I even write the sentence or fact on a sticky note and let the students copy, but it is their knowledge. I am just scaffolding to help my students learn to write, and write in this lesson.
As the lesson winds down I prepare the class to listen to about two or three students read their foldable to the class. This not only excites the class, but having regular presentations inspires the students to do their best. They know it needs to look good if they are going to present their work, plus they must understand the information enough to be able to talk about it.
We do presentations daily, and I use a spreadsheet to check off who has presented so everyone gets the same number of opportunities. The spreadsheet stays tapes to the board, and usually my students tell me who's turn it is before I even get to the board. But, usually everyone wants to present. So, I just let students present during snack, at recess, and sometimes I send them to the kindergarten classes during kindergarten's snack. My students love presenting in their former teacher's class.
Now, first graders do seem to frequently have the wiggles, so I use positive behavior strategies to get them to do what I want. We all chant, "Criss cross, apple sauce, pockets on the floor, hands in your laps, talking no more." Then I add, "Your eyes are on the speaker. You are listening and preparing to give your peer feedback." Peer Evaluation is when the students listening share their comment about the presentations. I usually prompt them with, "Do you agree or disagree? Why" Then students begin sharing and adding to their classmates knowledge.