So now that my students are talking like scientists, we are learning to write like scientists too. This year I am really trying to consistently use science notebooks. For the first few days of this unit, we just talked about science and our observations. Once they were comfortable with the sentence frames and vocabulary, we moved onto writing.
I conducted an interactive writing lesson with the whole class to model how to take those observations and record them appropriately. I made a giant version of their observation sheets on chart paper and we filled it out together.
After we did it altogether, they went off and completed an observation of their own. I gave them the option of using a copy and taping in into their notebooks, or creating that template on their own. The results are varied, but everyone is getting comfortable writing about science which is a VICTORY!
I’ll be honest, I got into teaching for 2 reasons.
- Summer’s off
- I wanted to be Ms. Frizzle
She was/is the coolest teacher on the planet (and in space) and she sparked excitement and curiosity in her students. And her outfits were incredible.
Anyway, like the Frizz science is one of my favorite subjects. Unfortunately, it’s usually the 1st subject to get…half-assed. Experiments, models, difficult content, vocab, it’s HARD and time consuming so when corners can be cut, they usually are. I unfortunately have fallen victim to that too over the years, but this year I am trying my best to channel my inner Frizzle and inspire my students to think and sound like scientists.
One way that I am doing this is through the use of sentence frames. I started off using basic ones like “I notice__________” and “I wonder_________” and I am constantly modeling how to use them appropriately. Then I added more complex frames like “I think _____ will happen because ________.”Whenever my students observe something, right now we are growing and observing ecosystems, I prompt them to use the frames to communicate their observations.
In addition to the sentence frames, I introduce a new vocabulary word or two with each science session. As I say the word, I pick up or point to the vocab word so they get used to hearing and seeing the word together. As they speak, I make sure they are using the vocab words. I challenge them to use as many of the words as they can to talk about what they notice or what they are wondering. They LOVE this – anything that’s made into a game right?- and as a result we have had some AMAZING science discussions and my students are excited to sound like scientists!