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Connecting Literacy and Science with NGSS and Common Core
Today, August 6th is NSTA's Virtual Conference on Connecting Literacy and Science with NGSS and Common Core. (http://learningcenter.nsta.org/products/online_courses/VirtualConference.aspx)
I'm setting up this Topic in the Community Forums so that we can continue the discussion of the issues raised throughout the day and in the days, weeks, and month's to come.
As a starting point, what are people hoping to hear about at the conference today?
Director of NGSS@NSTA
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I'm hoping to hear about ways to integrate curriculum areas to meet the CCSS and NGSS.
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Looking forward to learning how to connect literacy and science in my middle school classroom.
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I am hoping for practical strategies that I can implement in the classroom.
- Elizabeth Cooke
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Is there a "poster-ready" version of the middle school NGSS sheets that display the performance expectations above the practices, core ideas, and crosscutting concepts?
I want to display these on the classroom wall.
Thank you, Hope
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Hoping to hear about some of the projects that are already in place, but have not been introduced in terms of NGSS and CCSS (e.g., RA). CCSS can push NGSS implementation.
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I want to learn more about how I can help teachers integrate literacy into science instruction without seeing these as separate initiatives.
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My biggest challenge is to get secondary science teachers to buy into teaching literacy. They have already been tainted with initiatives such as writing across the curriculum where they have been asked to "help" the ELA teachers.
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What do you all see as the greatest challenge to connecting science and literacy during curriculum and instruction?
Time in the classroom. I successfully lobbied more more science minutes this year, but I feel for those science teachers that work under time constraints. Many times there is so much science content to be covered it is hard to "Read, Write, See, Do, and Talk" about it all. When will we have time for thinking? (a 6th modality?)
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Probably finding accessible text. Having only taught in urban classrooms, it was always really tough to get students reading and writing when they are missing a lot of the basic skills that they need to do so. Textbooks are oftentimes WAY above their present reading level.
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The very scripted approach of some literacy curriculum seems to be a big challenge in local district.
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Ted-I see two challenges: first) time...everywhere, classroom time is being shortened to the legal minimum with classroom size being increased to the maximum. second) although teachers are agreeing that the NGSS standards are the needed step to enhance and improve science education, I see more and more districts requiring their teachers to be "lock-stepped" into teaching the same lesson, the same day, and assessing their students through a scantron. This is not good science (or even good teaching). Also, the "supplied" curriculum is often inadequate, not relevant or appropriate.
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About finding accessible texts, check out http://www.ck12.org/. It is free, online and you can very the reading levels.
Coordinating literacy strategies and finding a common language for ELA and science is a key challenge to surmount, so that students explicitly see how their expository reading and writing applies to all subject areas during the school day.
More reading sources and more writing translates into time-management challenges for the science teacher, so science teachers need to learn time-saving and effective tools used by ELA teachers
Sharing with teachers, models of lessons/units that offer rich examples of integration, along with ideas for mapping plans for supporting and meeting standards/expectations of all content areas. Without the mapping, even rich lessons suggest that something needs to be ignored if we want to integrate literacy and science.
I have had some teachers asking recently about teaching the math common core through the context of science. Even if their state and district has not fully adopted the Next Gen Science Standards, they found the connections in the NGSS useful for finding "real life" applications to their math standards. I hope we hear something about this today.
For the literacy connection, teachers have noticed the science notebooking provides great writing prompts. Much deeper than writing a lab report, the writing can cut across the evaluation and analysis often discussed in inquiry based learning.
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What you're referring to is exactly why I'm so excited to start using math journals this year. In the past the math notebook was just that, pages of notes and definitions. This year is going to be different. There will be reflective thinking about problems and evidence to support the students' claims. I can't wait to start my own math journal as I model for my students.
What was your biggest "take away" from David Pearson's opening session?
Literacy can be a bully, but should be your buddy
I loved the graphic about "words as concepts" -- I have trouble explaining this to my ELA colleagues who insist that "meaning" is equivalent to "definition". I will share this with them and use it to support development of vocabulary assessment items that go beyond just definitions.
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I agree with the Bully/Buddy and Words as Concepts favorites.
I also liked David's reminder that the CCSS are process standards that help us access and communicate ideas in all of the content areas -- including Literature, Science, and Social Studies. We need to recognize that ELA teachers address content (literature) just as do science, social studies, and mathematics teachers.
Loving this conference so far. If you're looking for a great resource to use for integrating more literacy into science, check out www.birdbrainscience.com
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Subjects taught - from silos to a weaving loom. Great visual!
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My biggest take away is the supportive evidence to build the case for integrating ELA and Science at the elementary level! I loved the metaphor of the loom and the concept of "curricular enconomy". This opening was so worth the price of admission!
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I agree with you. I am a very vocal advocate of improving science instruction for elementary schools students. The first step would be allowing teachers to teach science!
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So many "big takeaways" from Dr. Pearson's talk, and very hard to choose just one. But I learned some new points that I might not have otherwise encountered:
1. pedagogical silo vs. loom/interweaving. This metaphor is so useful, not just for talking about science and literacy, but for all subjects.
2. reasons why critics have been skeptical about connecting literacy and science.
3. NCLB focus on literacy as an end goal rather than a tool.
4. multiple points of intersection between authentic literacy practices and authentic science practices.
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I am looking forward to learning more strategies that I can model for my teachers on connecting Lit in Science.
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I am a HS teacher in an inner city school. My students arrive to me with relatively low reading, writing, math skills. However the the most difficult aspect is their lack of drive, understanding of the importance of doing the best job. They don't see point of a science . I have already tried incorporating read for comprehension and writing. For many they dont feel it is necessary to read and write in science. So I would appreacitate concrete ideas on how to apply todays session. Thank you
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I've been teaching this same population for the last 7 years and I definitely agree that it's difficult to engage the students in the content. I'd highly recommend finding issues that low income populations sometimes face more often such as diabetes, obesity, air pollution, water quality, and anything else that relates to your subject area. I've found that the social justice route can be super rewarding for most students and can inspire some future scientists!
We have sessions going on Reading in Science, Writing in Science, and Discourse in Science. Which one do you see as the most challenging to incorporate into your classes?
Why is it challenging?
What strategies did you hear about in the sessions that you found helpful to better incorporate these activities into your classrooms?
Discourse is most challenging, followed by reading text in class -- time constraints, balancing "hands-on" with "minds-on" inquiry, and the lack of text resources are roadblocks
I find writing in science is most difficult to implement in the elementary classroom. I provide baskets of multi-level books for our science and social studies topics, and elementary students love to share and discuss. The CCSS in ELA have been helpful in that the oral language standards provide guidelines for discussing in a meaningful way. Writing is hardest because the students are at so many levels and they're not used to writing to provide evidence for their claims. Unfortunately, they expect a prompt to write to, and have seldom been asked to write about what they know, how they know it, and how to explain it clearly.
I think discourse requires the greatest shift in teacher behavior and, therefore, presents the greatest challenge. That approach is counter to most of our school experiences.
The California Science Teachers Association (http://www.cascience.org/csta/ngss_resources.asp) has links to middle school learning progressions and additional resources.
- Elizabeth Cooke
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Reply to Elizabeth – please double check the link, I can’t get it to work.
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Discourse for sure will be the most challenging to integrate in the science classroom due to the time factor in the elementary schools. Good discourse takes time. Discourse in Science will be my 3rd break out session and I'm looking forward to it!
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What examples did you find most useful in the sessions that focused on Elementary School, Middle School, High School, and English Language Learners?
I found a lot of the resources from Mark Windschitl's session really helpful. I like how he explained different types of scaffolding. I am looking forward to adapting his claim-evidence-reasoning template for next year.
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I agree, Nicole. I can't wait for the archives to become available. I will want to view that one again more carefully. All of the sessions were rich with useful information and great take-away strategies to begin implementing in our classrooms! Anyone have one in particular they are planning to try?
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Nicole, I totally agree with you in terms of adapting the CRR template. I really want to be more effective with this strategy. I was only so-so with it last year.
Which session level was this one, elementary, middle or high school? I want to make sure I am checking out the archives for this topic across all grade levels.
Now that you have had a chance to attend several session, what commonalities do you see between efforts to incorporate reading, writing, and discourse into the science classroom?
I think David's introduction framed everything so well. My main take away is "do it-write it-read it-see it-repeat-remix." We have to recognize the integral role of literacy in science and not think of literacy as "another thing to do."
Ted, After attending the conference, I wanted to go back over some of the topics. I was hoping to find the link for the archived Virtual Conference, but can not find it. Is it available yet, and if so-where can I access it?
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I found the Archive for the Aug. 6th Virtual Conference. It is my Library now. Thanks.
Great idea to incorporate in the classrooms! It is nice to know that even though it may be hard to achieve its possible to connect literacy and science in the classroom!
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