Science Research

As some of you know already, this year a co-worker and I decided to try something different in science this year.

Instead of the traditional method of textbook reading, lecture, vocabulary, study guides, followed by a test- we have left it more open ended and formed research teams.

Our students are grouped into teams of 3-4. We have them create outline, research topics, take notes in outline, write it out. Markus, my co-worker, has done the traditional essay format while I’ve changed it up some with reflections, mini-books, recipes.

Sometimes there’s a topic that I feel should just be considered like a mini topic. Constellations was one of these.

So instead of the entire research process, we read a short informational text to figure out why we see different constellations at different times of the year. We had different opinions in why after reading. SO- I told them to use their textbook to see if they could clarify and then sketch their opinion on the board. This is what that looked like.

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All in all it was an energetic science time with lots of reading closely(rereading) and a competitive spirit in the atmosphere.

Will have to do this again!

Running and Patience

These 2 things could go together. And need to go together. But in this post they will be written about as 2 separate things. So here it goes.

Today after school I ran 3 miles in 38:47 with 3 walk breaks. This is the farthest I’ve run since school started. Actually, probably since the middle of the summer. Yeah-true slacker lately!

But it felt so good! Especially during the walk breaks. HAHA!

And now I’m drinking water as I write this post. Which is also unusual. Go figure. 🙂

Ok-next up is the patience part of this post.

I have a confession. I lost my patience with my 6th graders today. A couple of times. Not the kind of losing patience where you might tend to raise your voice or yell. No-this was a “hanging my head, sort of laughing, and saying I don’t know how to get it across to you”. Yeah, that kind of losing patience. Which is not ANY better than the other kind.

So these are the things I struggled with today:

1. Math-Dividing decimals

Putting the decimal in the wrong place? Quick fix. Multiplying and dividing incorrectly? I truly don’t know how to fix that in the 6th grade. Those are 3rd grade skills that have been practiced relentlessly since then. 

Any suggestions?

2. English-Appositives

Do I care if they know that a descriptive phrase in a sentence is called an appositive? No. I just want them to be able to use these phrases in their writing. Hence-our model sentence each week that we look at and notice and imitate. 

To be fair to them, they did a good job imitating the sentence when the phrase described the subject. But when I asked them to use a descriptive phrase somewhere else in the sentence they had a hard time. Like really hard. Even after I wrote an example on the board. I guess I don’t understand why it’s so hard to imitate someone else’s writing?

3. Research-Life cycle of a star

I’ve been teaching them how to research this year. It is a common core standard. And I believe it’s a necessary skill for the 21st century. For their future.

But I guess I forgot that even though I’ve been teaching them, I still haven’t taught them EVERYTHING about it, and it’s only October. So I gave them the outline of what they would be researching. And they got stuck. If they searched for “the beginning of a star” or “the ending of a star” and got no hits, they didn’t realize that this search might have turned up something- “star life cycle”.

So after all of this, the laughing I did in my classroom wasn’t the funny kind of laughing. And now I feel bad about it. 

I reflected on it after school-as I was running, on the way to dinner, when I got home, and even now as I write this. This is the FIRST year they’ve been asked to do a lot of what I’m asking them to do. I’ve GOT to remember that!

I’ve got to go easy on them. I think if they COULD do what I’m teaching them and asking them to do they WOULD do it. 

So BACKOFF, Shannon!! 🙂

Remember:

They’re not used to writing. They’re not used to researching. They’re not used to creating.

Give them time. Continue to model, model, model. Continue to support. 

They will get used to writing. They will get used to researching. They will get used to creating.

Rome wasn’t built in a day. 🙂