Course Design

Scaffolding Vocabulary in Science Inquiry

I have been teaching science to ESL students for 8 years. I am a big proponent of Inquiry Science and the Learning Cycle Model. My professional development over the past few years has included courses, coaching and training in the use of Inquiry Science through the 5 E model and the use of SIOP for scaffolding vocabulary. Today I stumbled on a video from the Smithsonian Science Education Center. This video eloquently blends the models of supporting ESL students and the Inquiry Model. It explains how a science teacher can sort their vocabulary into Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 words and purposefully orchestrate inquiry while supporting the development of both social and academic language. I was happy to see that my quirky style has been on track. Intuitively I knew how to do this. But its affirming to hear this from a researcher discussing this from a pedagogical reference. I especially like this chart introduced as a simple tool to purposefully plan vocabulary support in a 5 E Inquiry lesson.

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I highly recommend that you pour a cup of coffee, download the handouts and watch the archived webinar of this session.

Scaffolding Science Vocabulary Development in Science Inquiry Instruction. 


PBS Learning Media

I have been a huge fan of PBS Learning Media since it’s Teacher Domain inception. This is the site has indexed top notch media to science topics and standards. Resources are easy to use, find and the perfect length to spice up any science presentation. With the latest morph into PBS Learning Media, there are new tools including the ability to add questions to quizzes and track student viewing. PBS Rocks!

Click here to learn about the Walrus Haul Out this fall. Use the code beetle697 to allow me to see your viewing responses and enter your participation in the grade book.

Video Quiz Sample
Screen shot of Video Quiz Sample

Flash Cards in Moodle

Flash Cards are a timeless tool for learning vocabulary terms. I like to include these as optional resources for my ESL students. They enjoy having extra options and strategies for reviewing their knowledge. With the Moodle Flash Card Plugin and resources such as quizlet, I can quickly come up with a set of flash cards. Here’s a 5 minute video tutorial that explains the process.


Adventures in Blended Learning

Its a busy time of year, but a good opportunity to reflect on how my classes are wrapping up. To help push my to the next level, I have signed on to a Mooc about blended learning. This course is offered by The Blended Toolkit with instructors form UCF (University of Central Florida) and the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee.

My first assignments is to create a matrix of how I am blending my class. I have chosen to use my Digital Photography class as my case project.  When I first developed this course, I thought it would be 100 % online.  Most of my courses are live video conferences. I wanted to take a crack at delivering a completely online class.  I found myself taking advantage of the opportunity to meet live twice a week with most groups. I am now intentionally blending more F2F time for video conference instruction as well as question and answer sessions. This Diagram shows how I view the blended opportunities that I am currently offering.

Its good to think purposefully about the methods I use in delivering content. This will help me plan my interactions and lessons more purposefully next year. I think it will help my co-facilitators and students to have a snapshot of the course design and what it means to be a “blended course” I am looking forward to hammer out more details on this strategy.



CK-12: Open Source Science Text Books

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I have been an open source fan since the term was coined in reference to software and other digital media. I use many open source images, songs, and software in my classroom. I haven’t been impressed with open source text books until CK-12 came along.

CK-12 has now evolved into a classroom tool that rivals most of the text books that I use.  Educators can build a custom textbook using the core material from CK-12’s library.  Lessons are complimented by a growing network of reading strategy activities, real world applications, interactive tools and media links. My favorite feature is the ability to save an entire text or a single lesson in multiple formats. You can print the book, save it to pdf, publish as a epub or simply invite your students to the CK-12 interface. I am seriously considering a complete switch to CK-12 as a class text and resource.