Ban the Bottle!

During these last few weeks before summer vacation, many of our students are chugging back on water in plastic bottles to stay hydrated…but do they understand the impact bottled water has on our environment?  Many schools and school boards are taking steps towards banning plastic water bottles and advocating the use of reusable water bottles that can be washed and refilled on a regular basis.  An excellent video to watch with your students is “The Story of Bottled Water.”  This lesson is a great way to incorporate media literacy into your science lessons (and vice versa!) and promote a healthy discussion with your students regarding the environmental implications of their daily actions.

Before watching the video, talk to your students about drinking water.  Some of the following guiding questions can be used:

  • Where do you get your drinking water from?
  • Do you drink tap water or bottled water?
  • Is tap water safe?
  • Is bottled water better for you than tap water?
  • Do you think that there is an environmental impact to bottled water use?

Here’s the worksheet that can be used while watching the movie! Just click the image below!

GIZMO (Not from Gremlins)

The first time I recall someone uttering the word “GIZMO” it was in reference to the cute little animal in the movie Gremlins.  But in most recent experiences teacher and student conversations about GIZMOs refers to technology based simulations found at www.explorelearning.com (a fantanstic resource for teachers).  These simulations can range from early learning to the high school level and primarily for mathematics and science related curriculum.  For the past 2 years, I have been incorporating GIZMOs within my instructional approach.  These simulations can be done independently, in groups and as a whole class.  Research has shown that utilizing technology based simulations can deepen understanding and improve student learning.  I find that my students are involved and active in their learning. They enjoy using them!   I truly enjoy using them, I hope you do too.

Speech Writing Rubric

Here’s a rubric to help you assess the speeches your students have written!  Public speaking is one of my favourite units for several reasons:

  • Public speaking hits upon several curriculum expectations for both writing and oral communication
  • Students not only improve their speaking skills, but they also develop their listening skills
  • Students need more opportunities to practice speaking in front of an audience

When I announce that we will be working on public speaking by writing and delivering speeches, most students are very apprehensive and lack confidence in their abilities.  It’s amazing to see how well they end up doing!  This type of activity really surprises students and allows them to overcome their fears.

I previously wrote about how I start out my unit by having students listen to three awesome speeches on YouTube and use these three speeches to inspire their writing and delivery.

Here’s the rubric that I use to assess the written component of their speech (just click on the image!).

speech writing rubric

Using PEEL Responses as a Framework for Making Connections

The Ontario Language Arts curriculum document is divided into four strands—Oral Communication, Reading, Writing, and Media Literacy.  In both the Oral Communication and Reading strands, expectation 1.6 requires students to “extend understanding of texts by connecting, comparing, and contrasting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them.”   Being able to make a meaningful connection to the text is essential for reading comprehension and strategic reading; however, some students may have trouble actually getting their words down on paper.  In order to help my students produce a well-developed written response (one paragraph or multi-paragraph), I tried to find some strategy that they could use to help sort out their ideas and give them a framework to follow. I first found the PEEL strategy on www.tes.co.uk and it appears that this writing framework is very popular in the U.K.  After a small adjustment, I decided to try it out with my class and have achieved tremendous success with it.

So, what is PEEL? Well, PEEL is the acronym for POINT-EVIDENCE-EXPLANATION-LINK and works in the following way:

Point:  provide the opening statement for your argument…what point are you trying to prove?

Evidence:  provide evidence in the form of quotes from the text

Explanation:  explain the evidence you provided through purpose and context

Link: a statement that links back to the main point

When actually using PEEL with my students, the “L” became make a link by connecting to a personal experience, another text, or the world around you.  This worked really well with my students and helped them not only make deeper and more meaningful connections, but they were able to easily extend their written responses without much struggle!

Also, some of my students preferred to flip around the middle section and make it Point-Explanation-Evidence-Link because they wanted to first explain their argument and then provide evidence to back up their claims.  After reading both sets of responses, I tend to agree with them and like having the explanation first and then the evidence as proof.

I’m providing two worksheets to cover both formats (evidence-explanation and explanation-evidence).  Also some classroom posters!  Have fun!

 

PEEL posters

‘Drugs are NOT for me’: Enrichment Activity

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Let's further engage our students

After discussing the different types of drugs, their uses, effects, etc. with your students, this is a great activity for them to engage in to further their knowledge and understanding.

Assignment:

You have been learning about specific substances – the important facts, the risks involved, where to seek for help, as well as, other ways to cope with substance abuse or addiction. Next, we are going to combine all the information that we learned and present it in an original and creative way such as:

· A pamphlet that you would see at the health centre, hospital or resource center

· A poster that educates a specific audience on this particular substance

· An article for a newspaper or magazine

· Any other interesting way you can think of – let me know first!

You must include all the components as highlighted on the research assignment handout which are:

1. Important facts

2. Risks

3. Get help

4. Use your voice

As well as…and don’t forget about:

· Pictures

Be creative– add color, big fonts, titles….be neat, clear and organized!

Presentation:

You will be presenting your research to the class. You will be educating us on the substance in which you chose. Remember, some of us, if not most of us, have never heard of some of these substances so we do not know anything about them so by the end of your presentation, we should know all about the substance and of course, why we should not take it.

Work together….Get it done!

Please read through research assignment. At the end of the assignment, there is a link that you can follow which includes a rubric for both the enrichment activity and research assignment.