Elementary Science

STEM from an ELAR Teacher Perspective

Hello!

I teach 5th grade ELAR in Texas. In my district, there is a push to integrate science across the content areas, including ELAR. This seems simple enough, but with the looming Reading STAAR test, I am apprehensive to step out of my lane so to speak. I'm afraid that my reading lessons will turn into science lessons, and there is so much academic vocabulary and content that I need to cover. Any advice on how I can integrated science materials without giving up the focus on essential reading standards? 

Thanks for the help!

Kyley Hampton
Kyley Hampton
1548 Activity Points

Good morning! 

I understand your concern, but integrating science into ELAR doesn’t have to be a burden. Your Non Fiction text unit would be a great area to do this and you know there is always at least one Non fiction passage on the STAAR. I know my 5th graders are in their research unit now and this could also be another area to hit science concepts. 

When in doubt pair up with your science instructor. Maybe y’all can find a picture book or science mystery passage that can introduce what’s to come in science. 

Science and writing go hand in hand as well. Science conclusions or CERs are really just mini expository writings. Students can also write fictional stories about science concepts such as the waters cycle. You can have them go through the writing process and even publish and print to a younger grade. 

I hope some of this helps!

Destiny Huggins

Destiny Huggins
Huggins
10040 Activity Points

Greetings,

 

I can empathize with your situation as I am also a fifth grade ELAR teacher. Seeing as fifth grade has to focus heavily on expository texts, there are many opportunities to integrate science into the classroom. Personally, I have taken advantage of the fifth grade science teacher to ask about the content they are covering and used it to pull aligned reading passages. 

In regard to vocabulary, I feel my students may be limited and I do my best to reinforce what they are learning in science as well as introduce new words daily. 

There are an infinite number of resources out there inlcuding reading passages specifically about science related topics. Student's should be provided exposure to STEM related articles as they are bound to show up on their STAAR. 

I hope this helps,

 

Taylor

Taylor Anderson
Taylor Anderson
1245 Activity Points

I love the idea of integration between subjects.  I am at a new school this year and there is a lot of resistance when new ideas or thoughts are introduced.  I plan the science and social studies lessons at my school, we do three weeks of science and then 3 weeks of social studies.  Since I plan both of these I have tried to integrate these two subjects together when possible.  I have also been able to work some science passages into the ELAR block by working with that teacher more closely.  It took several different conversations and it is not much, but I see it as baby steps.  I come from a Montessori teaching background where we did not have to be as concerned with the standardized testing as much.  There is a true fear among teachers about the tests and I feel it is holding us back from being truly innovative with our curriculum.  I am at a small school and there is not a curriculum team.  We just go off of whatever curriculum series the school approved and uses and this makes it hard to try to integrate on our own as a team, and I feel this is scary to my team as well.  

Christy Peterman
Christy Peterman
1033 Activity Points

I love all of the advice given in this forum.  I also had the same concerns about how to integrate science into ELAR without ELAR turning into a science class.  I am studying to become an ELAR teacher and this question has come to mind a few times, but the more that I think about it the more I believe ELAR can go hand with anything.  The advice presented on this forum demonstrates that.  Collaborating with a science teacher feels like a great way to begin the integration of subjects.  Having students write fictional stories about science concepts or integrating reading passages are also great pieces of advice that was previously posted.  It something that I plan to use when I begin my journey as a teacher ELAR teacher.  Thanks for the question as well as the responses in this forum.  It has really helped me.

Kae Eli
Kafar Elias
1340 Activity Points

I can completely understand how you're feeling! I have developed a routine with my STEM activities that helps me keep my ELAR standards there. First, I read a book or a passage to my students and we identify a problem that needs to be solved within the story or information. That kick starts our engineering design process. From there the students decide what materials they think they may need. I give them the bare minimum to complete their designs. The "supply truck" then comes in. As payment for additional supplies my students must answer comprhension questions or STAAR questions for a passage to "pay" for the supplies. The higher order thinking the problem is the more it's worth. This way the are still thinking about reading and practicing strategies, but also participating in a STEM lesson. If a student doesn't need more materials, then I charge them to test their design. 

I would love to explain this more, give some examples or answer any questions if you'd like! 

Best of luck!

Emily Collins
Emily Collins
1666 Activity Points

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