Tuesday, March 20, 2012
During the last two years, I have tried to increase the Effective Communication aspect of the
Three C's of the science curriculum in my classroom.
Students have become so compartmentalized in the subjects we teach they tend not to bring their English minds to the table when it comes to writing in science. While I explain to students that their are differences in the way we may present information in science, it is important that their written communication is organized, clear and concise and demonstrate the same expectations of gramar, punctuation, capitalization and spelling as they would in a paper for English or History.
To accomplish this, I have used an assignment called a TEDitorial. I select and post a TED video (http://www.ted.com/) on my classroom Moodle site every Monday throughout the semester. Students must view five TEDs throughout the semester and compose and post an editorial supporting or denying the claims of the TED presenter. Students must incorporate their own research and information from our classroom discussions to support their opinion of the presenter's information.
The trend through three semester of this assignment has been very typical. I usually need to spend a great deal of time explaining the difference between a summary of the TED and an editorial for the first two submissions. I also spend a great deal of time correcting the English aspects of their writing. Which most students can't seem to understand why this is important in science course. By the third submission most students are actually writing editorials and submitting extra in the way of links to websites they discovered while researching the topic further. I also have discovered that interest tends to peak about the fourth editorial and students watch several of the TEDs before choosing one that they have more passion about and truly want to editorialize.
I have found that many students begin to visit the TED site on their own to search out information about other topics on top of the science and learning based TEDs that I have selected for them.