What catches students’ attention?

If I knew the universal answer to this question, I would surely post it here, but alas, there are many things to catch students’ attention …. and many ways not to.

However, yesterday I covered in grade 3.a all day long and as their science/social studies teacher, I took the opportunity to start on our unit on experiments and the scientific method.

A simple provocation: A question!

What is an experiment?

I didn’t even expect the class to be as engaged as they were… they shared ideas, thoughts and wonderings. They talked about experiments they had seen, heard of or even tried themselves.

After the first session, I expected them to be eager to continue today but I was amazed by the enthusiasm displayed: Some students talked to adults and consulted books about experiments, took notes and collected questions at home.

I’m thrilled and I hope that many of my approaches will keep them engaged! I will keep you posted!

A quick note: I work at a special needs school for speech disabilities. The students are often delayed in their linguistic development, and display a lot of problems with reading, writing and often speaking as such. 


Life Cycle: The beginning (pre-assessment)

Spending the holidays being ill is just the worst thing, especially since my idea was to check out the botanical gardens in Pisa, to collect good pictures for the Life Cycles immersion phase and so on.

Instead I now cannot walk, I have Erythema Nodosum and that means nothing much to me other than swollen nodules on my lower leg, a swollen ankle, joint pains and inability to walk.

So, instead of enjoying the lovely Tuscan weather, I have been pondering this unit of inquiry a little more. Our initial ideas and planning happened, but it was lacking a way for me to start the unit with the 8 and 9 year-olds.

Now this is sorted, we will actually start to PLAN and INVESTIGATE the unit together. I have created a more science skills/W.A.L.T./Pre-assessment powerpoint series.

This is the pre-assessment for when the kids come in, this will be left uncommented for the time being. It will give me the opportunity to see what the kids can recognize and describe.

Our exploration of the central idea, lines of inquiry, concepts and a first KWHL map. This is not going to be done one after one after one, but will spread throughout the day.

I wish I could give proper credit for this one. I got this off the Online Curriculum Center Resource Section (Science). The publisher is not mentioned. We will explore the scientific methods and hopefully make connections to the Research Skills which come….

..here. What we are going to learn. An exploration of the skills we need for this unit of inquiry. Including science and transdisciplinary skills, but also the mathematical and language skills we need. I want to make the connections with the students as we collaboratively move on the continuum towards transdisciplinary learning.

This is the beginning. I will post more about the end later on!