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!
Is there anything more difficult and frustrating than trying to get your students to write about their reading?!
In my class, I only “make” my kids take notes on the books they are reading with their reading groups. There are two main reasons why we take notes on what we read.
- So we can remember what happened in the book
- So we can have MEANINGFUL discussions about the book with others.
I always struggle with the best way to set up student notes. This year my students are using a notebook but I have tried sticky notes, mini-notebooks, typing, and many apps.
Some of my students take notes on sticky notes and then add them to their notebook, while others go right to the notebook, but I never know if I should give them a specific amount of notes they have to take, or just let the reactions come naturally. I try to balance writing about reading with ENJOYMENT of reading.
Anyway, as a class we have come up with a list of sentence frames that have been a saving grace to my students’ reading notes. It started out with 3 frames, and grew as we learned about new ways to react and reflect on reading.
(Type-B alert! Lines not straight or spaced equally! Guess what? It still works.) This list stays up on my literacy board for all to see, however for some kids, I chose 5 or 6 of these and wrote them on a sticky note that stays in their notebooks as a reminder and a reference.
I constantly refer to these frames as I talk about books, and am encouraging my students to use it as they communicate about literature. It’s a simple tool that has worked wonders! And teachers, you don’t have to spend hrs using pretty fonts and colors to make an effective tool for your class.