Beth's Blog

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Writing in Science

Filed under: Uncategorized — andersem at 6:01 pm on Friday, October 5, 2012

In fourth grade we take science very seriously. We feel that we have to be very meticulous in our approach to teaching the content because in fifth grade the students have to take the end of grade test in science. With that being sad, the level of expectation is very high. Students are expected to keep a science notebook with labeled pictures, detailed observations, and lengthy claims/evidence.

In our claims/evidence section, students are required to think about what we did during that lesson as well as something that they can claim using evidence from the lesson. Their claim is at least one sentence but usually ends up being at least two sentences. Their evidence for that claim is usually a three to four sentence response using vocabulary words and detailed examples from the lesson.

During parent/teacher conferences, I usually show the students’ science notebooks. Last year I had a parent who was also a third grade teacher at our school. She was blown away by her daughter’s responses and the detail in her writing. She commented that the kids don’t have to do nearly as much in third grade. This made me feel great because we spend so much time modeling and practicing appropriate responses using details to support our statements.

 I know that what we are doing in fourth grade is difficult and time consuming but well worth the time because the students will leave our classroom knowing and understanding how to support their statements with evidence. This increases their overall comprehension of the topic as well prepares them for their future science classes in which they will have to create lab reports using written responses.

While I feel confident in the writing aspect that we have integrated into science, I feel we could do more writing in social studies. We do a lot of non-fiction reading on North Carolina and often have students respond through writing, but it is not as large of a component of our daily social studies block as it is in science. Does anyone have any suggestions about how we could integrate writing in social studies more consistently? I think it is just as critical that students are able to do so, but haven’t come up with any ideas that encourage writing about a topic besides creating more activities that require writing. Do you have a social studies journal? For those who only teach social studies, how do you fully integrate non-fiction writing into your block?



3 Comments »

2

   jbolen

October 7, 2012 @ 9:15 pm   Reply

I love writing in my social studies classroom! My students write every single day in their journal where they record what they did, how they did it, and what they learned. They usually take part in some other type of writing at least three days a week. I often will be talking about a particular thing in social studies and ask students about another perspective on that topic, then I have students write about the event from that perspective–some students have even picked to write from the perspective of George Washington’s horse! All of my test in social studies are writing based. I don’t give multiple guess tests. Writing in social studies allows them to dig deeper for the evidence that is needed to support their claims and also explain their answers. I hope this helps!

7

   shellybell87

October 15, 2012 @ 12:23 am   Reply

Beth,
I teach second grade and I tend to do a lot of project-based activities, especially with social studies. To incorporate writing, I pull strands from other academic areas for the student to practice during social studies, through writing. For example, we are learning about writing opinions and in social studies we just did a community project – so what I had them do was to write their opinion on why their building contribution to the community was important or useful to citizens in the community. They had to come up with their opinion and write two reasons and explain thoroughly and thoughtfully why they chose that particular building for the community.
Michele

8

   gretchenpegram

October 15, 2012 @ 2:03 am   Reply

I love teaching science and teachimg my students to write about it as well! In first grade, we also have science journals where we write up our investigations. We spend a lot of time discussing why scientists write up what they do and learn so that students can see the importance of recording their own investigations. Our science journals start with a vocabulary page for each topic and then we write up the tools, what we did, and what we learned in each investigation. The students need a lot of support in the beginning of the year, but by the end of the year, they are writing up investigations on their own.

I also feel like we don’t do enough writing in social studies. I would love to hear what you come up with!

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