A Laboratory of Wordsby: Jeanne Clidas

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Students are using the tools of scientists when keeping a science notebook. They are also keeping track of their thinking and the changes to their original ideas. To bring students’ existing ideas out for examination, the author implemented a “quick-write,” which entails asking an open-ended question and having the students write all they know in three minutes. When the quick-writes are finished, the students discuss their thoughts with a partner or in small groups. In this article, the author shares how science notebooks can become a laboratory of words that support conversations and continued inquiry.

Grades
  • Elementary
Publication Date
11/1/2010

Community ActivitySaved in 1137 Libraries

Reviews (18)
  • on Thu Jun 29, 2017 12:59 AM

The author uses science notebooks for assessing background knowledge through "quick writes" and "Think-Pair-Shares" to see any misconceptions and then adapt and tailor the learning experience.--Concise.

Deirdre Ricketts  (Jersey Village, TX)
Deirdre Ricketts (Jersey Village, TX)

  • on Sun Jun 25, 2017 11:07 PM

Great resource, really helpful for science notebooks. Thank you!

Rebekah  (Mobile, AL)
Rebekah (Mobile, AL)

  • on Fri Jun 23, 2017 3:20 PM

This article emphasizes the importance for students to write in science. I like how she the author explains that we should not assume that the students know or have any prior knowledge about the topic we are teaching. She assess what they know by a quick write at the beginning of the lesson. They write down their thinking in their science journal throughout the experiment or understanding topic being taught.

Sonia Ramirez  (Baytown, TX)
Sonia Ramirez (Baytown, TX)

  • on Fri Jun 23, 2017 3:20 PM

This article emphasizes the importance for students to write in science. I like how she the author explains that we should not assume that the students know or have any prior knowledge about the topic we are teaching. She assess what they know by a quick write at the beginning of the lesson. They write down their thinking in their science journal throughout the experiment or understanding topic being taught.

Sonia Ramirez  (Baytown, TX)
Sonia Ramirez (Baytown, TX)

  • on Mon Jul 27, 2015 11:56 PM

Loved the tips and especially the Quick Write. ?? Amazing how open-ended questions can push kids to go a little deeper. Circling the vocabulary words..... simply brilliant!

Christi Marquardt  (Cascade, CO)
Christi Marquardt (Cascade, CO)

  • on Mon May 02, 2011 11:18 PM

This article brings up a very good point-that the more prior knowledge a student has, the better the questions they develop about that topic will be. I like how the ideas in this article engage students to discuss their background knowledge around a new topic in a safe and supported environment while creating a written record of these ideas. They then can be referred back to when learning new information and forming testable questions.

Kate  (Louisville, CO)
Kate (Louisville, CO)

  • on Thu Apr 14, 2011 3:02 PM

In this article the author uses a writing strategy called a “quick write”. She asks her students an open-ended question and then has them write all they know about the topic in three minutes. When students are finished writing, they discuss their thoughts with a partner or in small groups. The author explains that not only is she assessing her students’ prior knowledge, but she also can pick up on any misconceptions they may have about the subject. The article is quick to point out that the quality of the question prompt is important. The best questions require more than a “yes” or “no” answer. By asking open-ended, higher level thinking questions, students tend to focus on the personal connections they can make to the concept over being worried about whether their answers are “correct”.

Carolyn Mohr  (Buffalo Grove, IL)
Carolyn Mohr (Buffalo Grove, IL)

  • on Fri Jun 23, 2017 8:41 PM

Writing across the curriculum is highly encouraged at my school. The author takes the reader through the steps of students writing about what they know about the subject before the lesson begins. I would use this as my "entrance ticket" and limit students to the three minutes as suggested by the author. As she said a lot of teachers do not allow for the time involved for quick writes. I plan to try to include this in my student notebooks with the help of the tips in this article.

Linda  (Arlington, TX)
Linda (Arlington, TX)

  • on Wed Jun 21, 2017 11:46 AM

I love the idea of using quick writes to gain insight into student thinking and preconceived ideas. Time is always the most limited resource so I like that it's limited to 3 minutes. Also, having students write brings accountability into a think, pair, share type situation. I'll be using this more often in my classroom this year.

Michele  (Baytown, TX)
Michele (Baytown, TX)

  • on Tue Nov 22, 2016 10:38 PM

This article was great and although not new information, just confirmed my thinking. Since I am not a classroom teacher, I encourage teachers to do a quick write before and after coming to the Science lab.Time is usually the culprit that prevents this form happening. I know we would see results if the time is taken though . The students need that reprocessing time in their own words and vocalizing it to others after leaving the Science Lab lesson . .

Judy Lucadou
Judy Lucadou

  • on Wed Jul 29, 2015 2:28 PM

I really enjoyed the article, especially the quick write idea for the beginning of the lesson. This is so helpful to a student if and when they go back to it in the process they can re think their thought process and see where they were correct or where the misconception might be. In the end it will show that they have gained a deeper understanding of the material.

JEnnifer Polacek  (Harrisville, RI)
JEnnifer Polacek (Harrisville, RI)

  • on Mon Jul 27, 2015 9:06 PM

This was a great article on the how and why of using science notebooks in the classroom. Coming up with good, thought provoking, open ended questions is the key to really making the science notebook an extremely useful tool. I also like the quick write idea. Fast, effective, and meaningful. Quick writes offer great insight into your students' learning.

Charla Cook
Charla Cook

  • on Fri Jul 17, 2015 4:13 PM

Really informative article to find out where our students are before we get into the learning. I think it would be good for students to go back after the unit and update their initial response...maybe even using a different color for it to stand out. That could be used as a great assessment.

Christine Bedwell  (Colorado Springs, CO)
Christine Bedwell (Colorado Springs, CO)

  • on Thu Jul 16, 2015 9:45 PM

I like the way this author is using open-ended questions to engage her students to write what they know about a science concept. I've used KWL charts in my classroom which is limited to single word or fragment comments but this technique definitely engages higher level thinking and allows students to share with their classmates to see what they have in common. I wish the article had a qr code where we could see a video of this technique being taught in a classroom full of 24-28 students! I'm glad the author included a few open ended questions...I'd like to see more examples of those. I enjoyed reading this article!

Michelle R  (Claremore, OK)
Michelle R (Claremore, OK)

  • on Wed Jun 10, 2015 12:41 PM

I really took away from this article that I should do a quick write with my students before starting a new science concept. This would incorporate more writing in my day and the students would be more engaged because I would not set restrictions on spelling or content as long as it is readable and sticks to the topic.

Rebecca Baxter
Rebecca Baxter

  • on Mon Aug 15, 2011 12:59 PM

I liked the author's use of examples to back up her advice in this short article on using quick writes in the classroom. She walks us through modeling the process of teaching, as well as how to use the quick writes as an informal assessment tool. The examples of student work are helpful to illustrate these "quick writes" and how she used them in her classroom.

Wendy R  (Pocatello, ID)
Wendy R (Pocatello, ID)

  • on Thu Jun 23, 2011 7:55 PM

This article discusses how students' notebooks can be used to help teachers understand children's thinking and provide opportunities to address misconceptions. The students do a 3 minute quick write before beginning each different science investigation. The quick write is preceded by an open-ended question posed by the teacher. After the students do the quick-write the students discuss their thoughts with other students. The author goes into much more details.

Kathy Renfrew  (Barnet, VT)
Kathy Renfrew (Barnet, VT)

  • on Thu May 12, 2011 7:50 PM

The author uses "quick writes" in the science notebooks to get a handle on the students' ideas about a particular topic. The teacher doesn't make assumptions. She teaches how to do a quick write. After students do the writing in their notebooks they make their ideas public by discussing them with a partner or small group. The teacher and the student can look at the notebook and see how thinking has grown over the course of the lesson and/or unit.

Kathy Renfrew  (Barnet, VT)
Kathy Renfrew (Barnet, VT)


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