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The Importance of Talking and Writing in Iquiry-Based Science Teaching

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Course Description:

There is often competition for time between teaching science and teaching literacy.
However, as the authors of Science and Literacy:  A Natural Fit point out, “Science cannot be learned well without a sophisticated use of literacy skills, and literacy skills must be practiced in authentic contexts to be deeply used.”  Using this resource as a guide, this course will focus on the idea that in order for students to develop scientific reasoning skills and conceptual understanding, there must be a balance between carefully designed hands-on experiences, and the intentional use of written and oral language.

Participants will engage in science investigations, practice the speaking and writing used to help make meaning, see videos of teachers and students in action, and learn the specific skills and strategies to intentionally teach the use of language in science, including arguing with evidence, whole group discussions, and science notebooks.  Time will be spent each day to plan for the inquiry, writing, and discourse strategies addressed so that they can be immediately implemented in the classroom.  Direct connections to Common Core Standards will be made in the course and in the planning for implementation.

This course is appropriate for both those who are already trying scientist meetings and notebooks and want to strengthen their use and understanding and for those who have no experience with these strategies.

About the Instructor:

Renee Affolter, is a Program Co-Director for Vermont Science Initiative, teaching courses and mentoring teachers throughout the state since 2003. She has been able to apply her Masters in Science Education from UC Berkeley and her high school and middle school teaching experience to helping teachers improve science instruction in their classrooms. Renee is also responsible for teaching Best Practice in Science Education, Action Research, and Science Assessment courses for VSI.  In addition, Renee works in schools and districts throughout the state providing professional development, science coaching, and curriculum development support.