I have had the fortunate opportunity to spend some more time than usual “down the shore” this summer. As the time winds down, and I start to shift my focus to my classroom and school “stuff”, I am getting excited to see what develops. It is always a challenge to figure out how I can incorporate ocean science themes and lessons into my curriculum. This year that holds even truer than years past. This year, like many teachers in NJ, I will be returning to a totally new curriculum and some of my colleagues that I have worked with for years will not be there. I can’t control some things that have happened before the end of this past school year but I can control my perspective on what is to come this year. I am a special area teacher, specifically, a Spanish teacher. I was running a World Cultures classroom but due to changes, I am returning to the Spanish classroom. This is going to give me an opportunity to “tweak” our existing Spanish program and put my teaching style back into the program. I’d like to use Ane’s saying here and “sprinkle some science” into what we will study in Spanish this year. I’m fortunate because in reality, our Spanish curriculum is very diverse in subject. We teach some math, art, social studies, language arts, and of course science. So I have a few ideas of what I can incorporate. Right off the bat I’d like to set up a “weather wall”. A few years ago at one of our MARE Summer Institutes we received a “weather board” as part of our science materials. I’d like to take that idea and super-size it. Every day during the beginning of class, I’ll ask a student to go right to the computer and find the weather from a Spanish-speaking country. They will be required to post on the bulletin board any and all information about the weather in that city/country–in Spanish of course! I’ll provide them with the “scaffolding” that they’ll need to be successful but it will be their own responsibility. I have some other ideas about using maps and doing some research on hurricanes in the Atlantic. But I have to hash them out once I set up my classroom. Anyway, I’d like to hear how some of you out there will be incorporating some ocean science topics into your classrooms. It doesn’t have to be complicated–just “sprinkle” it on!!
I’m going to incorporate ocean science into my math and reading lessons. I have a bunch of ocean related books in my classroom library, and I will definitely pull them out more often during Reader’s Workshop. I’d love to have my students work with ocean science data in math, that way they can see the connection between math and science.
Thanks for posting Elizabeth! I would LOVE to hear your ideas on how you’ll incorporate math! I’ve seen it done a bunch of different ways, but I think it would help other folks to see just how it can be done. Do you have any ideas on how you would personalize your lessons to incorporate real-time data?
The Atlantic is churning right now, providing lots of opportunities to look at hurricane development and movement. You can show a map from weather.com showing the location of the storms and have the students record the barometric pressure and wind speed (the pattern they should see emerge: the lower the pressure, the higher the winds). Barometric pressure is simply how strongly the air is pushing downwards. Students can actually see this by building a coffee-can barometer. Directions can be found at http://www.k12science.org/curriculum/weatherproj2/en/docs/barometer.shtml. I’m thinking they can build the cans and record our classroom pressure while at the same time looking at the pressure in the hurricanes.
I also have new changes this year. I will be changing from grade 5 to 6 but I am lucky to be having the same students as I had last year with a few new ones who have recently moved into our district. I enjoy looping so this will be exciting as I start our first unit which is Ocean studies. I have many ideas as I spent time over the summer putting ideas together but until I get with my students they are ideas. I also don’t want to give up my personal time yet and I want to give myself a bit of time for me. Keeping that in mind just a bit, I took out from the library the book “Voyage of the Turtle” by Carl Safina a story about the leatherback sea turtle. I am only in the first chapter but I am enjoying the book. Hopefully I will find moments of time to continue to enjoy the story.
I have gotten our classroom ready by adding many library and personal books on various ocean topics displayed. I also plan on doing some read alouds to my 6th graders of picture books and parts of the books to excite their own ideas.
Good luck to you all as we start our adventures this new school year.
How’d your weather wall work out? Hurricane season proved eventful, but luckily without too much damage…. I have to remember to not get overly burdened with the day-to-day grind and keep my focus on the bigger picture. Our students participated in the Global Sun Temperature Project and had a great time “chatting” with schools from across the world. They will run the project again in the spring. Registration opens March 7, 2011. The link is http://www.k12science.org/curriculum/tempproj3/en/
Hey! It’s been a whirlwind around here! I didn’t think that I was going to be able to accomplish half of what I’d originally set out to do this year but somehow, its starting to come together–albeit in November. The weather wall works well, I changed it into a hurricane tracking center. I also tied it into a bulletin board about the Taino people from Puerto Rico. I turned out pretty nice but there are things that I’ll change for next time.
On another note, our MARE club is finally coming to fruition. It’s all very slow going, however.
How are you doing?