Shrinking the vocabulary gap across the socioeconomic spectrum.
It is well documented that children in lower economic status homes typically have a much smaller vocabulary than children from more affluent homes. (Check out links to some of those articles below.) This smaller vocabulary puts them at a significant disadvantage. We want to close the "word gap!" We introduce and practice a wide range of words in our videos, livestreams, and lessons. We support vocabulary acquisition though multiple pathways and strategies based in best practice so that ALL students have a chance to learn and apply new words.
Download word cards and vocabulary lists!
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.
For more info check out these links:
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
So Much Footage!
Our mission to Thailand is incredible adventure made even better because our friends Jan, Tu, and Laimek could join us. Not only can they act as translators and guides but the are ALSO super generous and are sharing all of their photos and videos with us!
This presents a new problem...what do we leave behind? We work hard to ensure that our field mission videos are developmentally appropriate, tell an interesting and cohesive story, and present evidence students need to evaluate the hypothesis. That means not every amazing moment makes it into the videos. We're sharing some of those photos and videos on our social media feeds so be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!
We are also posting some here. We had some of our Super Teachers ask for bonus photos to use to for practicing "productive talk" with their students!
Take a look at one of the photos with your students then try one or more of the productive talk moves as your students describe or explain what they see. I love this list:
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.
Low Tech meets High Tech!
I love, love, LOVE using play dough in combination with 3D printing. Both reinforce learning in three dimensions but in such different ways!
A rose by any other name...
Scientists call it the scientific method. The National Science Teacher's Association (NSTA) promotes the term scientific process. We like to call it the most powerful tool ever invented! No matter how you brand it, this process is the pathway to finding an emergent truth. A process for determining facts.
We have a series of mini posters that you can print and use any number of ways. You could make a jaunty two sided pennant banner by double side printing the posters on card stock, then attaching the posters to a sting or ribbon. Alternately you could bind it into a book and have children turn the pages and sing along to The Science Song!
We've also created some bonus journal pages for students to use during the mission or to structure their own inquiry. Big thanks to Super Teacher, Kristen Tedesco of Maine for her idea! She wanted her second graders to be able to follow the process along in their Go2Science journals!
Here's how this week's lessons can help you address DCIs.
Day 1: To Thailand
If your second grade students need an opportunity to focus on landforms this lesson can help! Take time to look at maps, globes, and google earth. Discuss how these are models. You can even take it further by encouraging students to create their own 2D or 3D models.
Day 2: Market
You can emphasize the following kindergarten DCIs by allowing time during the planning phases to observe your local weather patterns and then make an appropriate plan for your market.
Next Generation Science Standards Topics for Mission:Tigers!
The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) consist of three distinct but equally important parts or dimensions: Guiding Principles, Cross Cutting Concepts, and Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCIs). Outstanding instruction combines all three! Often programs or administrators focus on assessing and measuring one of these dimensions, the DCIs. These are the "topics" so to speak. It is important to expose children to many science topics and the DCIs are among them. However, I've often observed that when the focus is on assessing DCIs, the other dimensions can be pushed aside and when that happens an experience around a topic can become little more than a fun activity or craft project.
You may have noticed that we lead each Go2Science lesson with one of the Cross Cutting Concepts.
We also provide opportunities each school year to address the DCIs. If you join us for all three live missions this school year we will have lessons that help you address each DCI with your students, but most are not a "one and done" situation. By the end of the school year you'll have had the opportunity to focus on many DCIs multiple times and in new and novels settings so students can build a deeper and more connected understanding of these topics than if they'd simply worked through a series of lessons focused on meeting their grade level DCIs.
We understand that for you may wish to know which DCIs will be addressed when so we've created a spiffy spreadsheet for Mission: Tigers! It lays out which lessons provide opportunities to address which DCIs. This can also be helpful in deciding which lessons you might wish to do with your students. We hope it helps!
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.
How can you be an official Go2Science Super Teacher?
What are the requirements to be a Go2Science Super Teacher?
If you think you meet the Super Teacher criteria send us an email telling us how and we'll we'll not only display this icon next to your name on our website, but also send you a spiffy digital badge you can add to social media banners, business cards, signature lines, and any other place you want to let people know you shine! PLUS our Super Teachers have more direct access to us.
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.
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.