Literacy, Science, and Educational

Although the fact is not often recognized by educators, science and literacy are connected. As teachers, we must begin to recognize and leverage the role of language in science and this can be done with low-cost, readily-available educational DVDs.

Critical to science inquiry are the skills of reading, writing, and oral communication. For example, in science, we:

o Often read volumes of information before beginning experiments

o Write (almost continuously) to record experiments in minute detail

o Present scientific findings for others to read and evaluate

Educational standards for both science and English/language arts also dictate that science education involve more than acquisition of the scientific skills and facts, such as:

o writing procedures

o following procedures

o expressing concepts

o reviewing information

o summarizing data

o effective use of language

o constructing a reasoned argument

o responding appropriately to critique

When seeking to link science and literacy in the classroom, the goal is to address the four primary literacy components inherently present in science: Science Talks/Discussions, Science Notebooks, Reading Expository Text, and Formal Scientific Reports.

How Educational DVDs Can Help

Science Talks/Discussions – after viewing one or more educational DVDs on a particular topic, students discuss what they learned or present an oral report

Science Notebooks – students record in their notebooks, the findings from an educational DVD demonstrating a lab experiment

Reading Expository Text – students view an educational DVD, read expository text on the same subject and discuss how the writer captured (or did not capture) the appropriate information

Formal Scientific Reports – after viewing several educational DVDs on the same topic and taking notes, students are charged with creating a formal scientific report

Example Lessons for Integrating Literacy Education in Science

Unit: Electric Circuits

Lesson 1 – Discuss what the students already know about electric circuits, have them create drawings showing their thoughts

Lesson 2 – Show one or more educational DVDs on electric circuits

Lesson 3 – Allow students to work with batteries, bulbs, wires, motors to explore electric circuits and keep a science notebook on their findings.

Lesson 4 – Have students orally report their findings to the class using their notebook entries to support their conclusions

Lesson 5 – Have students read high-quality informational texts and make inferences from the material presented

Lesson 6 – Have students create a formal scientific report

The example above is provided only as a starting point for teachers. Overall change in classroom practice can only happen with additional reflection, study, and dialogue among teachers.

If you’d like to know how to avoid “The 7 Biggest Mistakes Teachers Make Using Video in the Classroom” and start experiencing the benefits of using video effectively in your classroom, your next step is to download a FREE copy of “The 7 Biggest Mistakes Teachers Make Using Video in the Classroom” right now.

The small company I work for is committed to creating quality educational videos for classroom instruction. From the earliest script stages, all subject area content, images, and music are intensely reviewed and selected for meeting appropriate grade level, curriculum objectives and standards for our proprietary productions. The videos we distribute are also screened to meet our high standards.

Teachers in the 21st century classroom will be better educators if they understand how to use multi media in their lessons, if they understand the processes that research has shown to be the most effective for improved student performance, and if they know how to find quality video resources that will enhance their lessons.

Choices in Education

Today it seems more and more like mainstream education is involved in appearance setting rather than educating our young people. I have seen instances of teaching a test rather than educating the young person as to life and the expectations that not everything will always be “Hunky Dory” and you can be whatever you want to be just because you want it.
It seems like the time period of “Dr. Spock” is fast approaching it’s demise and a major dose of reality is setting in.

Now exactly what do I mean by this?

I mean that the time of the Baby Boomer is fast drawing to a close and the next generation is starting to take hold and creating their reality. These people are by far, richer, and more educated than the previous generation and the failing of the previous generation are being highlighted and studied. Where we as the “Boomers” had what we considered to be some very astute minds, some of the pronouncements that came from these minds are now being put to the reality test. It seems that some or most of our lofty ideology has indeed passed into fanciful and impractical machinations that have fallen flat and cost us a rather large fortune in both monetary and reputation areas.

The United States used to rank pretty high in the areas of education, science, and business on the stages of the world. But, over a period of the last 40 – 50 years that reputation has diminished on every front imaginable. And the most noticeable is in the area of education. We might not have had the ranking of the European or Asiatic countries in education but we at least held our own on the world stage. Today, according to the statistics, we sometimes hold our head above the water and gulp for air. To me, this is unacceptable on any level, and I’ll tell you what I experienced in trying to find out why this is.

I had occasion to go directly to the source of what has now become a total conundrum and ask the Director of what is called the largest association of teaches in the United States exactly what was the cause of this problem. In response, and I give the man credit for responding, came one of the best cases of tap dancing that I have witnessed, second only to that of Bill Clinton under questioning about a purported illicit relationship.

This gentleman asked if I would support the endeavors of his organization to reverse the current situation of the state of education in the United States, I said I would support the plan to achieve that goal, but I needed to hear what that plan was. No answer was forthcoming. My parting remarks to that gentleman were how eloquent his silence was.
The conundrum I currently see is how do we as parents and concerned citizens deal with getting our children educated enough to be able to deal with the intricacies of this world we live in today, is it to focus on things such as the Taks, or the Tass, or other such tests that only improve the local school districts chance of getting money they don’t know how to use, and then complain that they don’t have enough money to meet the standard of “Educational Excellence” we hope our children are getting.

Here’s the conundrum “How are we to achieve that level of excellence when:
the people in charge can’t even agree on what that standard is???

It has therefore become the responsibility of the parent to make the decision as to what standard will be used in the education of their child/children. The Educational system in the United States has failed in the delivery of the one product that it was incepted to deliver. It has failed to educate our young.

I do not fault the front line teachers and educators that deal with our children; their jobs are almost untenable is the scope that has been prescribed by the hierarchy of education. It is there and only there I lay the responsibility for the Status Quo.

I am not a person who presents a problem without suggesting a possible solution, and for my solution, I will draw on what I have witnessed in my area of the world, which happens to be Far West Texas.
My wife is a remarkable woman, in the thirty years we have been together, I have watched her raise our four children to be successful, well adjusted adults who are to say the least are significant people in their own right.
She is also a Licensed and Accredited Home Day Care Provider. In her Day Care there are 12 children of different ethnic backgrounds, ranging in age from infant to school age. When I have the opportunity to be home during the time she works with these children, I see things being done to benefit the children both educationally and socially. It amazes me as to what is accomplished in the environment my wife has fostered in her Day Care. My wife has been doing this for 27 years now and has impacted a variety of children over the years.

This past summer, we had an opportunity that comes around only once in a great while. One of her former Day Care children invited my wife and I to her graduation from High School. It was remarkable to see who this young lady had become. Because of this both my wife and myself endeavored to have a reunion of the families that had been involved in her Day Care, for the most part, each of the children had blossomed into a well adjusted young individual, there was of course incidents of the opposite too. Each of the children cited the treatment they received in the formative years as a major steppingstone in the successful culmination of their educational experience to that point in their lives. The teachers they had from the time they started with my wife throughout their schooling had taught the child, not the tests.
This is where I feel the system fails, the hierarchy has forgotten the reason they came into being, the child.

It seems to me that the cure for this problem we experience in the United States should be comprised of seriously looking at this hierarchy and exerting the pressure necessary to inculcate a new focus into this organization. Namely, there is no amount of legislation on the face of the earth that will improve educational standards, so more rules are not needed, quite the contrary, the more bureaucracy you put into a situation, any situation, the more you cloud the issues of what is necessary, idiosyncratic rules only serve the person making them in building and ego and fostering an agenda that does nothing more than to serve the purpose of a very few.