Making Curriculum Pop


Science Teachers

For science teachers who want to make their curriculum pop!

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Comment by R. Randall on May 15, 2012 at 8:02am

Gabriella and Pete, thanks for talking about this topic.  I have a number of ELL students integrated into my Physics 9 class and it has been a difficult transition to make for me.  My ELL kids all happen to be high-math and low-reading, while my native speakers are all over the board.  I used to start the year with a discussion/writing-based bit to get them used to critical thinking and labs, but this has become more difficult. 

One useful thing was to go back and change my test questions to use exactly the same language as other questions I have given them before.  I also added a lot of diagrams and I encourage them to draw a picture if they can't find the word. 
I really like the idea of a blog where the students can share not only words but links and pictures and short video clips that might be useful.

My ELL students did manage to have the highest scoring alternative assessments in the class when we did a physics video project.

Comment by Pete Cook on May 15, 2012 at 7:40am

Hey Gabriela, I wouldn't say I have it all figured out, but I make things up as I go and take examples from a few other teachers. One idea for a blog is to use it as a tool to differentiate. Have the top students make a blog with tips and explanations for some kids who struggle instead of doing the regular homework. You would have to monitor it for free answers and set up concequences beforehand, but it could add a nice dynamic to your class. 

Comment by Gabriela Gonzalez on May 15, 2012 at 7:26am

Hi Pete! This is great!!! Thank you so much for the feedback...I am already thinking on how to use all your tips!!! I know it will be a challenge but it will also be a very rewarding experience! How did you figure it out?? Trial and error, school training, ....? Do you have suggestions for good students' blogs?

Comment by Pete Cook on May 15, 2012 at 1:40am

Hey Gabriela, I am currently teaching science to non-native English speakers. I don't have resources for Biology, but I do have a couple tips for you. First, try to avoid lecturing as some students will totally miss the boat. Most of the time I give my kids stuff to work on so that I can help them individually and in groups. Second, as you have a variety of languages, design groups with different backgrounds so the students are forced to communicate in English. Third, make use of a consultation table - students in need of extra instruction can come to you while the rest of the class works - this is a nice way to differentiate. Finally, try to design some assignments that are out of the book in order to mix things up and get group work going well (eg ppts, videos, posters, blogs, etc). Hope this helps!

Comment by Gabriela Gonzalez on May 14, 2012 at 5:34pm

Hola everyone! I was wondering if anyone knows about resources of how to teach Science to English Learner students. I will be teaching Biology 10-11 starting in the Fall 2012. I should expect students with different levels of English proficiency. Also the school has students that speak more than 19 different languages. I will appreciate any help! =)

Comment by Dan Fullerton on January 12, 2012 at 6:00am

Hi Elena -- what grade level are you searching for?

Comment by Jan wilkens on January 12, 2012 at 12:54am

Hello Science Teachers! I am strategizing on planning a long-term project for  6th, 7th and 8th grade Science students. It is an urban setting with limited research resources. If any of you would feel comfortable sharing any projects you have assigned I would really appreciate it! My email is, Thanks,



Comment by Ryan Goble on January 9, 2012 at 9:35pm

Hi Elana - thank you for asking that great question. I and others probably have list of great ideas but it might be better if you post it above as a Crowdsource ? Big questions on the comment wall are not easy for folks to respond to and get buried over time :(

When you post your ? above it has a URL and it will be in there for the next person with a similar ? AND I can broadcast the question to the whole Ning on Crowdsource Tuesday so you can get MORE feedback!

Also, if you post above - what grade level are you looking for.  I will give more suggestions above but the NYT Learning Network is always an awesome place to start - see:

and I caught this article yesterday and it was interesting/creepy but obviously not great if you're working with 5th graders :) 

Happy New Year and thanks for getting in the mix!


Comment by Elena Ramos on January 8, 2012 at 11:50pm

QUESTION: Help! Hopefully I am not the only teacher up the day before we go back to school from break. I think my students are in major need of content area reading (specifically science). I want to start by doing some activities in class to help them learn to read science but I don't really like anything I'm finding. Anyone have any ideas?

Comment by Ryan Goble on October 30, 2011 at 9:49am
Dan - thanks for posting the materials up in the discussion - that way we can share them in the Week in Review!

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