Close Reading Task Cards

If you are new to close reading be sure to go back and read my previous post – Close Reading in Science.

In my previous post I mentioned the different steps that I teach my students for close reading. Close reading could also be called annotation, but in essence you are reading more than one time and taking notes around your article. It is very interactive.

Sometimes it is hard for my students to remember all the steps or simply what step they are on. So, I created some annotation task cards.

Currently I have printed out 12 sets on card stock and laminated. I also put them on a book ring. With that number I have enough for one set per pair. Students then have a quick reference for close reading and I also know what step they are on as I cruise around the room.

It is simple to make the task cards and the steps are on my previous post. However, if you would like mine, you can find them by clicking the image below and going to my TpT store.

 

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Thanks for visiting. How do you use annotation or close reading with your students? I would love to hear your ideas in the comments below!

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Cornell Notes – What they are and how I use them…

As I was searching through new ways to complete notes with my students I stumbled across cornell notes. I had never used them as a student, but they looked pretty interesting. SO, I decided to give them a try and I love them. For topics when I don’t have doodle notes or I just need to change things up – I pull out cornell notes.

What are Cornell Notes?

Basically it is a way to organize notes into one-two pages of condensed information. On one side you put key vocabulary, questions or things you want to pull out from the main ideas. Then, on the second side – you put your main ideas. At the bottom there is a space for a summary – Yay! Great way to get students to reflect on their learning!

An Example of My Cornell Notes:wp-15420354605574771571906824360260

These are notes that I made to go along with our textbook. We have super old textbooks, but they still have some good information and diagrams. I liked these because I added space for students to draw their own diagrams.

How do I make my Cornell Notes?

I use an awesome template that I found for FREE on TpT. I am adding a photo-link below. It is super easy to use and input your own information! original-2937656-1

I hope you found this helpful! What type of note-taking strategies do you use? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Teacher Feature: Smith Science & Lit

Two years ago I found these awesome resources for incorporating reading into science. The resources were called Read and Apply, and they completely changed the way I present articles to my students.

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These products are created by an awesome teacher, Jess Smith. She has a background similar to mine in that she has taught science and ELA. This is an awesome asset to have with the focus on adding literacy into science.

Smith, like me, also uses interactive notebooks in her classroom and finds it to be an asset for the students. Sort of like they are creating their own textbook as the year progresses.

However, one of the biggest issues that I have found her products address is the issue of comprehension. Many times my students read something and cannot tell you what they read. Then if you ask questions, they cannot give you the answer because they struggle that much with comprehension.

Here is a brief explanation from her blog about how she uses her read and apply products to target comprehension:

“So on top of using our textbooks, I started creating activities for students to read and then an application activity that goes directly with their reading. These reading passages are SHORT (which the kids love) and easy to understand. This allows students to use MULTIPLE texts to comprehend a science concept. The reading passage can be glued into their notebooks, folders, or even on a piece of construction paper while students do the activity on the opposite side. The passages them allow for students to highlight, underline, circle, and take notes in the margin (which they CANNOT do in a textbook!!)

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After they read, they then do a HANDS ON activity to help them comprehend what they just read. FORGET answering questions at the end of the chapter or section! These activities push for higher level thinking and comprehension. I also include a writing prompt for each activity – a great opportunity for students to practice writing (they ALL need that, amen!?)”

So if your students struggle with comprehension, I really encourage you to check out this amazing teacher-author! Have you tried any of her activities? If so leave a comment below 🙂

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Check out her freebie on TpT by clicking the following image – original-2018611-1

 

 

Top 3 Ways I Use Doodle Notes

Doodle notes are a staple in my classroom. I use them for ALMOST every topic that we cover. They give students access to information in a fun and exciting way (not to mention the retention). In my day to day classroom practice I find myself presenting them to students in three different ways.

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PowerPoint – This is probably the easiest way to incorporate doodle notes, especially if you are just starting out. You can present the information that needs to be filled in on a ppt slide and use it in the same way that you would traditional notes.

I do this quite frequently especially if I have more information other than what is covered on the doodle notes to present. If you want to go the extra mile you can scan in your doodle notes and cover up the information with white text boxes.

Some doodle notes products on TpT also have PowerPoints to accompany the doodle notes, which is super helpful and something to look for when purchasing.

2 Document Camera – One of the ways that I mostly present my doodle notes is by using my document camera. During my first block I will put a blank set of notes under the document camera and fill it/color code them with my students. I teach 6 classes, so for the subsequent classes I add sticky notes over the information and present them a la Vanna White – removing the sticky notes as we discuss each item.

3Written Set of Directions –If students need some independent work to work on or maybe you have presented the information in a different set of notes or even if you have a textbook that might have the information that they need, then you could provide a written set of directions. Let’s face it, there is always that one day when you need something for students to be able to work on by themselves. I have done this when I had an emergency and had to leave some work for a substitute. To write directions I just go through the notes and tell them what to write for each item explicitly or I tell them where they can go to find the information.

I hope that my top three help you think through ways to present doodle notes in your classroom. How do you present your doodle notes? Let me know in the comments below!

I LOVE Doodle Notes!

 

For the past four years I have been using interactive notebooks in my classes. My students glue all of their notes and other classwork type items into their spiral notebook. When I first started I was using tons of foldables and all of those foldables took a TON of time. Don’t get me wrong I love a good foldable, however, now I am more intentional about using them.

Enter the doodle notes. As I  was trying to find a way for my interactive notebooks to not be so time consuming (I wanted time consumed with content and not putting together items), I found doodle notes. Doodle notes are an engaging and visual way to take notes. Sometimes students are asked to draw diagrams with their notes and other times the diagrams are provided for them to color code.

Here is an example of the doodle notes that I used for Eclipses in my classroom. Notice it had fill in the blank portions, but the students also had to add to each diagram about lunar and solar eclipses. If you want to use these in your class – click the image – it is from another TpT author.

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I love doodle notes because they really help my students retain the information. They are writing, color-coding and drawing as they learn new content. This has became a way for students to interact with their notes in an intentional way!

DO you use doodle notes in your classroom? Tell me about it in the comments below, and don’t miss my next post about the three ways I use doodle notes!

Teaching About Toilets and Thinking Outside the Box

With the beginning of this new semester we have started our unit on hydrology. This unit focuses on all the water found on the Earth and the water cycle.

I feel like as a middle school teacher I am constantly thinking of out of the box ways to pull my students into a lesson. It is something that is becoming more common in the Science classroom as we search for real life inquiry phenomenon to aid our students understanding. Usually some of my out of the ordinary ideas come up in the form of videos – I mean have you realized how many clips from kids movies can contain science??? I’ll share some of those ideas another time.

This past week I was teaching the kids about ocean currents and more specifically the Coriolis Effect. (Just in case you forgot what that is – it is the concept that water rotates clockwise in the northern hemisphere and counter-clockwise in the southern hemisphere) In the middle of class I immediately thought of toilets flushing. I mean as a kid I had always heard that toilets flush one way and another way in Australia. I mentioned this to the kids during our lesson and then set out to find information.

Now many people claim that this is not true. For example in a fact check  I read that this was false because toilets contain such a small amount of water and so forth. Plus with the way toilets are made today it really depends on where the valve is placed inside.

I did not stop there, because there has to be a glimmer of truth behind this tale. My digging proved to be true. On The Guardian – Speculative Science I found many accounts about toilets and their flushing on the equator. One man even said that while in Ecuador he saw an experiment that proved this phenomenon.

Well this was all the encouragement I needed to add this to my science tool belt. I created an info-graphic for my students to color and add to their notebooks.

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You can find this in my TpT store if you are interested. I know that adding a toilet to a handout seems a little weird, but as a middle school teacher the stranger (and sometimes grosser) things are the better!

Happy Teaching!!