“Success Stories In Science”Motivating Reluctant Writers Though Science Notebooking J. Ashley Harris Spartanburg Writing Project Summer 2011
Observe and Write • Write a couple of sentences about this picture.
Explore and Write • Now open the envelope on your table. • Using your senses describe the cloth in your envelope. • Describe how it looks, feels, smells, and sounds. • PLEASE DO NOT TASTE IT!
Reflect and Discuss • Did you notice a difference in your thoughts from your observation to your exploration? • What was the difference between your samples? • Share your writing with your shoulder buddy. INQUIRY
“Experiences provide a foundation for students to develop language; by engaging students in inquiry-based science, teachers are supporting this development. Therefore there is a natural link between science notebooks and language development. Use of notebooks provides students with an authentic reason to write in science, and communication ideas encourages students to synthesize their thinking in order to share it with others. Writing in science allows students to write about something with which they are familiar.” Science Notebooks -Writing About Inquiry- Campbell & Fulton pg. 75
Roadblock • Things have changed a lot since I was in school. Kindergarten is not just about letter formation anymore. Students are writing books and loving it! The problem I was having was how to motivate those reluctant writers, who have trouble holding a pencil, are embarrassed to speak, cry when it was time to write, come in late because writing is in the morning. I needed a way to instill the courage in my students to become writers.
Overcoming the Obstacle • The success began as an accident. Two of my students refused to draw a picture or attempt to make a mark when it was time to write. They had difficulty making a connection to any experience I modeled, story I read aloud, or even their own weekend experiences. I was in need of a way to connect to these children.
Kindergarten: Year One • After teaching first grade for 4 years before moving to kindergarten, my first year in 5K involved getting my feet wet. Although I knew better, science notebooking was pushed to the side. In my second year, I had things in order, so I began to examine just how far I could push my students on their 5K journey.
Kindergarten: Year Three • Finally, in my third year of kindergarten, I thought “I CAN meet the needs of these students some how!” I began to notice something about those 2 students. They were attempting to draw a piece of cloth, trying to label the drawing of a goldfish, wanting to write. Why now?
Finding My Way • In Engaging Young Writers, there are several chapters about Entry Points which say “A child’s day is so full of potential entry points into writing.” • “Meaning, choice and purpose influence children’s and adult’s learning in any area, and they certainly affect children’s desire and willingness to write.” • I felt like my “entry point” was through science engagement and notebooking. Engaging Young Writers- Matt Glover
Progress • I pushed the ones I knew I could, and I nurtured the others maintaining high expectations for all. • The following are examples of varied student abilities and the results I achieved. • I was pleased with the writing my students created during science inquiry.
In Conclusion • “Writing about science provides students with a real purpose based on first hand experiences.” • “Students ability to create text is best developed through engagement in meaningful reading and writing activities.” Science Notebooks -Writing About Inquiry- Campbell & Fulton pg. 75
Other Resources • Science Notebooks-Writing About Inquiry -Brian Campbell and Lori Fulton • Write About Science –Barbara Mariconda and Dea Paoletta Auray • Using Science Notebooks in Elementary Classrooms- Michael P. Klentschy • Science Notebook Essentials -Michael Klentschy