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Teaching 1P ESL Science


  1. John Myers /

    agendas in the form of clear learning targets are very important
    student need to know
    - where they are going
    - when they know they have arrived (assessment)
    - ideas on how to get there (teaching)

    we do better when we know the rules of the game of learning

    you also might want to use some reading to learn and writing to learn approaches once students have reached a literacy level that will allow them to enjoy the science

    Good seating plan stuff here.

    • Heather Lye /

      Thank you for the feedback. I have never been good at remembering to set those things out clearly every class. We do have forms of routine. They know that each section of learning will start with glossary terms, then a lesson, some practice, sometimes a video, a practice assessment (sometimes one that goes with the video or another form of practice), get feedback returned, have a quiz.

      I find it particularly difficult to give them an agenda each class because I never know how much we will get through on a given day. And I am particularly challenged at keeping the more intellectual students engaged while giving the weaker students time to complete work (even copy definitions!).

      The students who finish work more quickly I provide them with the applied textbook and a section to read and answer questions from as extra work to improve their reading skills and science vocab.

  2. John Myers /

    Routines count for students since they get predictability through structure. They count for both students and teachers as they allow classes to more easily divert: to remediate, accelerate, or take advantage of a “teachable moment”. Pacing of lessons comes with experience. As for dealing with varying rates of completion, applying principles to real life contexts is another way to add to the learning of those who finish early in addition to what you have noted. You want to find out, did they finish quickly because they can do the work easily or were they being sloppy?

    What happens if I have 10 minutes of work with 5 minutes left in a class?
    If you rush they will not learn it so synthesize and summarize (or get them to) and finish the next class.

    • Heather Lye /

      If only each of those things in the routine didn’t take the class half an hour. I check for sloppy work by checking their work for accuracy before they are permitted to move on. Some of the students in my class should really be in a essentials/locally developed level of science. It creates a great challenge as they (one especially) could monopolize all of my time. This is what makes it especially difficult to enhance the learning for the “better” students, but most of them that get the time to do the extra reading seem to enjoy trying it.

      I never rush work with these guys. When we have a few minutes left in class and can’t start the next part they usually ask to play “would you rather” where I give them a question such as “would you rather listen to music or watch tv” and they go to opposite sides of the room depending on what they would rather do and then have to discuss with each other the reason they picked it. A way to practice their English speaking skills.

      In any event, thanks for the discussion about it. I know that I will continue to learn from these guys and to adjust through the process.

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