Thursday, July 21, 2016


I frequently assign reading passages to my students as homework. These are readings that are not from the text.  Many are from Discovery Education, but I use other sources also.  I posted about my favorite places to find good readings HERE.

I don't like to spend much class time reading - I prefer labs and discussions, but I strongly believe that reading non-fiction, scientific text is important.  So I search for articles that reinforce or extend what we are covering in class.  I include passages about current and historic events too.

Making a worksheet to go along with the readings is not very effective; kids are way too good at looking for answers without actually reading the information.  Still, I need to know that they have read it and are ready to spend a couple of minutes discussing what they read.  And there needs to be some type of accountability piece.

I found this strategy ( I don't remember where, if someone does, please let me know so that I can give credit where credit is due) and it works really well.  

On the page they students are to read, I put this:

As you read this article, mark the passages 
with these codes:

!  This is important.
√  I knew that.
X  This is different from what I thought.
?  I don’t understand

I made a sheet of address labels with this on them, so I can simply peel off a label and stick it to a paper before copying.  You can print a copy of my labels HERE.

A quick check of the papers lets me know if everyone did the assignment.  I don't take a grade, but not having it completed affects participation in my class.   It also gives a great way to start a discussion.  What was important about this?  What was a surprise? What is confusing?

This has been a painless way to get my students reading and discussing science!

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