Literacy tips for this week's comic!
This week Data Dog uses his Photon Collar to make a hard light copy and brings something amazing back to the house! What would your students bring to class if they had a Photon Collar? I wish I could hear THAT discussion!
PreK: Focus on feelings!
Kindergarten: Focus on medial sounds.
Grades 1 and 2: Focus on multiple modalities.
Tips for reading instruction using our comic!
Wether you are working with pre-readers, emergent readers, or more fluent readers our comics can help support instruction! Read on for grade level specific tips for using this week's comic. Of course, you have readers of many levels in your room so the grade levels are just a general guide.
Kindergarten: Focus on letters and sounds in the sound effects.
Grade 1: Focus on speech bubbles and reading sound effects.
Grade 2: Focus on text panels and bigger words.
Connecting with reluctant readers...
My brother, Eric, and I got along famously as children. It might have been because we were so very different. We each had our own ways to shine. I was artistic, a strong reader, and nurturing. He was athletic, mechanically inclined, and outgoing. If it involved going fast, he was all in! Sitting still to read was not his strong suit.
Two book series, however, were a game changer for him: the Choose Your Own Adventure series and the TinTin Comics. Each of his favorites has shaped an element of Go2Science but I'm going to focus on the latter for now.
- Comics are fun to look at! Children can engage with them even if reading is hard. They create a risk-free way to engage with a story without having to actually be a fluent reader. Ironically, this increased time with text often leads children to want to read. Maybe just a sound effect at first; but eventually the story draws them in and they start attending to text.
- Comics are flexible! If you are a young reader, reading from top to bottom, left to right, page by page can be constraining. While comics follow this convention they also allow kids to pick and choose. They can loop back and re-read. They can read in layers. It's for this reason, I think comics have value for all emergent readers as a sort of training for the type of reading we do online or environmentally.
- Comics are fast! There is less of a commitment involved in starting to look at a comic than opening up a chapter book or even a picture book. The story is broken down into bite-size pieces. Think of each frame or even each speech bubble as a micro goal. A student has a sense of accomplishment for reading any part. This sets up a positive feedback loop that seems to draw kids in and keep them there.
We designed our comic to be engaging to an extremely wide range of readers. Early Emergent or pre-readers can read the pictures and decode the sound effects. Emergent readers can focus on the speech bubbles. Readers that are more fluent can access the text boxes and synthesize the whole frame. As an educator, you are freed from having to assign certain levels to certain children as everyone has an access point and every student can get the "cool book." Our new artist, Ben Matsuya, has given the comic an incredible look and feel. PLUS, he's done a great job attending to all the scientific details Curtis includes.
This year we are also providing the full fame per page in an uncolored version so your students can color their own big book if they wish. While the days of spending hours of the school day coloring are long past, sometimes there is still a time and place for such a soothing activity.
We'll post an installment each week while the mission is live. In the days of binge watching, this is an opportunity for students to wait with anticipation for the next part of the adventure. We'll also share tips for integrating the comic into instruction.
Shrinking the vocabulary gap across the socioeconomic spectrum.
When a child is deprived of food, there is public outrage because child hunger is correctly identified as a moral and economic issue that moves people to action. The vocabulary gap should be viewed with the same urgency as child malnutrition.
We provide vocabulary lists with both adult and child-friendly definitions. We also supply word wall cards for every mission and whenever appropriate provide graphic supports to help students find the words they are seeking. Where ever your students fall along the reading and vocabulary continuum, we provide an entry point!
By presenting all students with some unfamiliar words, everyone has the opportunity to learn to learn and make new connections. Other terms may be familiar words, but used in unfamiliar ways.
This approach works! I love this story from a teacher. As one of her kindergarten students was walking with his parent to the family car after school, this child stopped in his tracks and picked up a shard of plastic. He held it up and examined it carefully as he verbalized his thinking. "This looks like a broken tail light, but I notice that the color and pattern is different than the tail light on our car. The phenotype doesn't match!" The astonished parent related this tale to the teacher who revealed that phenotype was a Go2Science vocabulary word for the current mission. She went on to provide the definition for the parent.
Learning is not just about recall, but application in new and novel settings. This student certainly did that! PLUS, he is learning how to learn and increasing the size of his vocabulary. As it turns out, sometimes size DOES matter.
SES differences in language processing skill and vocabulary are evident at 18 months (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3582035/)
Early Learning and School Readiness: Can Early Intervention Make a Difference?
Tackling the "Vocabulary Gap" Between Rich and Poor Children
Meet Beth and Curtis!
Presidential Award-Winning teacher and hula hoop fanatic, Beth loves bringing real world science to kids! Beth is fascinated by engineering challenges, technology, and outdoor learning spaces. After 25 years teaching kindergarten, she’s excited to share her passion and experience on-line with classrooms from around the world!
Curtis is a lot of things: a scientist, lawyer, explorer, drummer and Ironman. His brain is always churning. His paleontological finds are in museums across the country and he even has an extinct sea turtle named after him. He loves traveling the world and immersing himself in new environments and cultures. Curtis finds joy in sparking the imagination of young learners and making them think in new ways.