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STEM literacy

Map Fun: Creating a Visual Itinerary

Shen family trip to France

This summer we traveled to France for a friend’s wedding and the Tour de France. It was a trip that included a long road trip with multiple stops. I thought a fun way to get the kids excited about the trip would be a map exercise: creating a visual itinerary to help the kids understand where we were going and what we’d be seeing.

Sun versus Shade Experiment

Weather book

We live in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, and it’s been hot. Really hot. And based on the weather reports we’ve seen this summer, much of this country has experienced at least one, if not many heat waves already. Addie and I have been reading about the topic of weather, and she was curious about how hot things can get under the sun.

Do Architects Build Dollhouses?

Dollhouse

When you ask my daughter Addie what she wants to be when she grows up, she’ll say a number of things, one of which is wanting to be an architect. When you ask her why she wants to be an architect, she’ll tell you that buildings come in all sorts of interesting shapes and designs. She may also mention that it’d be fun to build dollhouses.

Imaginations Take Flight

Last month I read an article about Clip-Air, a concept for a new modular aircraft. Clip-Air would separate the wings from the fuselage so that body of the plane could be loaded with passengers or cargo anywhere — like a bus station or train depot — and then driven to the wings for takeoff. Even more cool is that up to three passenger or cargo units could be attached to one set of wings!

Free "Summer of Listening" Podcasts Help Build Background Knowledge and Comprehension

Thanks Listen Current! Great stories await learners in grades 5-12 this summer and this listening comprehension program is free.

What Do Primary Grade Children Need to Know about Informational Text?

Reader question: I am currently teaching workshops and courses on reading and the Common Core and have approached these with regard to disciplinary literacy. So many of the teachers involved are seeing the value of creating discipline-specific reading experiences in their classrooms. This is especially true of secondary teachers but upper elementary as well.

Six Pieces of Advice on Teaching with Complex Text

Teacher question: I’m confused. Our standards say that we have to teach kids to read at 820 Lexiles, but my third-graders aren’t even close to that. They are instructional at Level N on the Fountas & Pinnell gradient that my school uses. This makes no sense. How can I get my kids to such a high level in the time that we have?

9+ Idea-Packed Resources to Prime Staff Development So All Learners Progress in 2016

There is no single best way to grow professionally. Here are some "finds" that educators and related services personnel can add to their 2016 professional development toolkit. 

1. Reading for All

How to Mix Oil and Water So that Nearly Everyone (including '1 in 5' with poor reading skills) Learns to Read by neuropsychologist Tim Conway at TEDxOcala on Dec. 15. Decide if his "highly effective" science-based approach can impact current approaches to reading instruction. 

Free Apps Games Provide an Accessible Path to STEM/STEAM Content + Skill Building

When science learning materials in print frustrate or close out students who struggle with traditional learning materials, alternative media can get students back into the game. There are many free digital options that can engage learners and keep their attention while they provide opportunities for skills, understanding, and vocabulary to grow.  

Hidden Lives of Wolves: An Interview with Jim and Jamie Dutcher

Jim and Jamie Dutcher

A recent book for young readers and a presentation by the authors for 3rd and 4th grade children reminded me how much damage stereotypes and misinformation can create. In this case, Jim and Jamie Dutcher have spent their professional lives as filmmakers and writers documenting the real lives of wolves in an effort to correct the erroneous and ultimately destructive misconceptions about these magnificent and important creatures.

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"This morning I took out a comma, and this afternoon I put it back again. " — Oscar Wilde