Category Archives: Wordwork

The Periodic Table

Strategic Instruction: Science 9

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While James’s grade 9 science class was learning about the periodic table of elements, he was too! At first one might think, “why does James, a student with Down Syndrome, need to learn about the periodic table of elements?!” and my response, “because every student does!”

I didn’t know this, but the Periodic table of elements is not just about memorizing symbols, numbers and formulas, there is actually a big idea to this coloured chart!

Screen Shot 2014-02-03 at 9.54.58 PMThis book is about the big idea of organization, and how it is applied to the scientific elements. The book is written at two levels, at the conventional level for reading out loud to James, and at the transitional level for James to read independently. To differentiate the difference, James knew that his words were red.

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If only I knew this information back in high school, what a good reminder about how teaching to big ideas can help us connect details that can sometimes get lost or forgotten.

Let me tell you…. all, the students in the class were fighting over this book!

Goal areas: science- sorting and classifying, organizing

Literacy level: transitional, conventional

Text:The Periodic Table of Elements

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What do I already know?

Explicit Instruction: Literacy

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There are great resources already out there in terms of age appropriate and interesting texts at levels accessible to all types of learners. One of those resources is News2You. News2You publishes a weekly unit on engaging topics and current events. Based around differentiated texts, this resource also develops extension activities. One additional aspect that I wanted to include, however, was a lesson that helped me see what my students already knew about the topic. With many of them having so many gaps in their learning, a background knowledge lesson also helped calibrate the group and get everyone on the same page.

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In keeping with the inquiry theme, I tried to develop a prior knowledge activity adapted from the KWL strategy (What do I know, want to know and what did I learn).

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Using the pictures as visual supports, students chose  pictures that finished the sentence, ‘I know that Monarch Butterflies…..’ At its most basic, this was just a choice activity. But as I scaffolded the lesson, picture boards contained additional distrators, or students had to find pictures and words on their own. If additional challenge was needed, I asked students to think of their own responses without visual prompts. Once each student had a collection of pictures and words to describe their thinking, they made a title page for the unit. By the end of the lesson we had a compilation of title pages filled with words, pictures, symbols which all met the same goal!

Goal Area: Literacy-Activating prior knowledge

Literacy LevelEmergent

Support Link: News2You

SuperHeroes!!

Explicit Instruction: Literacy

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Peter is in Grade 10 and his team wanted to work on developing his literacy skills. Being a BIG FAN of Superheroes, we made a theme incorporating this interest. We started with a book of his favourite characters and then built on from there. Because peter is an emergent reader, we included super hero toys as a support to help Peter interact with and engage with the pictures and word in the text.

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As an extension word work activity, Peter used letter stamps and match letters to spell out each super hero name. Individual stamping boxes were used to support his reference matching, but we hope that we will eventually not need them. In the template attached, I have included both the letter and the word boxes. We used stamps, but yo could use markers or glue and sparkles!

Goal Area: Literacy- motivation and engagement, joint attention, matching, print referencing

Literacy Level: Emergent

Text: Superheroes book

Extension Activity: SUPERHEROES word work