Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Strategies for Teaching Students To Read Informational Text by Using the Interactive Notebook

Teach Comprehension Strategies

In addition to exposing young students to informational text, teachers must also teach them how to read it.
Research shows that good readers are strategic in their reading (Pressley & Afflerbach, 1995) and that explicit teaching of comprehension strategies can foster comprehension development (Duke & Pearson, 2002). 

Strategies that appear to improve comprehension include monitoring students' understanding and making adjustments as needed; activating and applying relevant prior knowledge (for example, by making predictions); generating questions; thinking aloud; attending to and uncovering text structure; drawing inferences; constructing visual representations; and summarizing. With each strategy, explicit teaching should include information about what the strategy is, when it is used, how it is used, and why it is worth using.

Research suggests that teaching even one comprehension strategy can lead to improved comprehension and that teaching multiple strategies can have an even larger impact (National Reading Panel, 2000; Pressley, 2000). 

I like to address these reading strategies with the interactive notebooks. 

Use Informational Text for Authentic Purposes

When you read informational text, you do so for an authentic purpose—to obtain information that you want or need to know (Purcell-Gates, Duke, Hall, & Tower, 2002).   This is how I like to use informational text to enhance my science lessons. I like to start with a hands-on, inquiry based lesson and then provide them with informational text that provides the answers to their questions or explains the phenomenon. 

 Interactive Notebooks and Flaps and Folds provide a way for students to practice the strategies for Reading Informational Text in an engaging and meaningful way. 

You can find this entire set of Flaps and Folds for Reading Informational Text in my store.  This set includes 57 flaps and folds covering 3-6 grade standards and additional comprehension skills for reading nonfiction.

I love using Informational Text to enhance my reading strategies.
That is why I include informational text articles in almost all my science lessons and units.
Remember :
1. Inspire the students with some hands-on experience.
2. Connect the reading of informational text with a science experiment.  This will give the reading purpose.
3. Teach and have students practice the strategies for Reading Informational Text. I do this with Flaps and Folds in the Interactive Notebook.

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Sunday, February 12, 2017

Visiting a Reptile and Arachnid Breeding Facility

 Last summer I had an opportunity to visit a huge breeding facility for reptiles, arachnids and other interesting creatures.  It was an amazing experience.  The owner and operator only sells captive bred, healthy animals and takes great pride in providing education and supporting responsible pet ownership.  

This place was amazing!  We walked into a huge warehouse with stacks going up to the ceiling with tubs of all kinds of critters.  Each one was labeled and organized by species.  

 The owner showed us all kinds of animals and told us all about them.  He was definitely an expert!  He even picked up the Mexican red knee tarantula I was purchasing and was able to tell me she was a female. 

 He showed us how the eggs are incubated in precise temperatures and how the hatchlings were cared for.   All the animals looked healthy.  

If you are interested in purchasing a reptile or spider I strongly encourage you to support a reputable business like this one. Your animal will be healthy and you will not be contributing to illegal collection of species.


For a complete science unit on spiders see Integrated Spider Unit

Sunday, February 5, 2017

STEM Challenge for Team Building Activity

For this great TEAM building Activity, I placed stacks of red solo cups on the floor around the room.  

I gave each team (4 people) a rubber band and four strings. 

I told them they needed to use the materials to get the cups and move them to the table and build a tower!  They could not touch the cups with their hands. 

 Most of the students figured out a strategy pretty quickly.  The most popular method was to tie each string to the rubber band.  Each person would pull on the string and make the rubber band wide open.  Working together they would move one cup at a time. 
This is a classroom management class for new teachers.  After the activity we discussed what was needed to be successful.  The students came up with Communication, Collaboration, and Critical Thinking.  These are three of the 21st Century Skills!

For more STEM Engineering Activities See

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Mimicry and Camouflage Science Lessons With Interactive Notebook Ideas

What to have some fun teaching your students about mimicry and camouflage?  

I start with a concept attainment lesson.  I give the students examples and non examples of camouflage without telling them what they are looking for.  I tell them yes if it shows camouflage and no if it does not.  I tell them their job is to guess the rule I am thinking about. 

Here is a portion of the slide show I use.

When the students figure it out we talk about what camouflage is and how it helps the animal.  

We then each color a moth and hide it somewhere in the room.   The object of the game is not actually to hide it, but to have it blend in to the surroundings.  The students go searching for moths and try to find one.  If they find one they stand in front of it until all the camouflaged moths are found.  

Here are some examples of the students' moths.

I introduce the concept of mimicry by having them read an informational text article on mimicry.   The students define these two words in their interactive notebook and we place a piece of newspaper down on the notebook.  The students cut a moth shape out of newsprint and we place that on top.  It really works and you can hardly see the moth!

Each of these lessons are available in my store.