Elementary Science Newsletter

January 20, 2015

Important Dates

Updates from the Science Curriculum Office

We are continuing to work on new curriculum guides that are aligned with new Oklahoma Academic Standards for Science, which go into effect in 2016-2017. We are also beginning the process of reviewing textbooks for adoption for next school year. I will keep you posted on the progress of these projects!

Summer Authentic Research Experience for Teachers

Who: Oklahoma science teachers in grades 3-6

What: 4-Day Authentic Research Experience for Teachers with Follow-up *

Where: Participants will either be on-site (lodging provided) working with Research Scientists at: ...
(1) Kiamichi Forest Research Station near Idabel or
(2) Urban ecology in Oklahoma City and K20 in Norman:

Areas of Study:
Kiamichi: (1) Ecological response of plants and animals to drought
Urban area: (2) Vegetation response to drought, land cover and land use

When: Monday-Thursday, June 8-11, 2015

*Planning, teaching & debriefing a lesson

For more information, contact Quentin Biddy (quentinbiddy@ou.edu)

ENROLL BY MARCH 6 at https://k20.wufoo.com/forms/z15dgota0kj1wwa/

Cool tool of the week: For Kids book series

More ideas are available on the Tech Tools section of Pearltrees.

Instructional Strategy of the Week: Bellwork

One of my favorite teaching mottos is "Teach the well from bell to bell". Doing this means keeping students actively engaged from the moment they enter your classroom until they leave. This is often hard to do, especially in those first few minutes of class when teachers are busy with housekeeping tasks such as taking attendance or conferencing privately with students.

For this reason, many teachers turn to bell work (aka bellringers, warm ups) to get the class started on the right foot. Bell work can take many forms, as illustrated by the examples at http://www.edutopia.org/blog/bell-ringer-exercises-todd-finley.

Many teachers of OCCT/EOI grades like to use bell work time as a way to give students a little bit of test prep each day. They select items that are similar to the OCCTs/EOIs, and have students answer those questions. Then, the teacher walks students through the process of answering the question, because often students need this skill modeled for them.

Here's a tip: When you use bell work for test prep purposes, use a random picker tool to choose a student to respond. The student can respond by either telling the class what the correct answer is AND why, OR the student can choose to point out why one of the distractors is not a proper answer for the question. The random selection helps to make sure that all students complete the task, while allowing students to choose how to respond allows them to have some ownership over the learning environment.

Click here for more instructional strategies.

Need resources?

Check the R drive and Pearltrees frequently, as I am adding new resources weekly!

Safety Reminder

Please review the following documents before beginning any activity that may pose a risk to students (directions for locating these resources are in parentheses).

  • Science Class Safety Information Sheet (R:\Safety Information\Internal Policies)
  • Elementary Science Safety Notebook (R:\01 Elementary Resources\5th Grade\Science\Elementary Science Safety)
  • Review all documents in R:\01 Elementary Resources\5th Grade\Science\Elementary Science Safety

If you have any questions at all regarding safety in the science classroom, please contact me.