Guest Blog by Rhiannon Johnson.
Rhiannon has taught in various Science settings. Her current role is collaboratively teaching in a middle school model at Charles Bloom Secondary in Lumby, BC. Rhiannon is a master at incorporating literacy strategies into her Science instruction. @bostie8o
As a Senior Science teacher, it is a usual assumption that my students already know how to read when they come to me. Taking on the new adventure of teaching Grade 7 this year, I came across a challenge I had never had to deal with before – how do I help students learn how to read?
Being a part of a Literacy Pilot project gave me some fantastic inspiration; I got to take strategies and think about how to scaffold them into my Science lessons. Soon, incorporating literacy strategies into every Science class became my focus, and breathed a new sense of purpose into my teaching practices.
Most classes I begin with a brain warm-up. I would choose a 12 letter scientific word and talk about what it means. Then the students would
use the letters within the word to make new words. We also did word blasts with the “Big Ideas” from the curriculum, where students would find examples of or synonyms for the different words.
I used a lot of activities with Newsela articles. I was able to give students forms of the same article with appropriate reading levels, and then paired up the students to go read the article. On a post-it note, the students would write a “magnet word” or the most important word from the whole article. Then around that word, they would choose 4 words that connect to it, and then finally would create their own original sentence that included all 5 words.
Now I realize that the strategies I have been using can be incorporated into any class, at any grade level. I even find literacy strategies creeping into my math lessons too! I have seen a lot of success with struggling learners, and will continue to incorporate these strategies into whichever classes I teach in the future!