Ok, so yesterday I delved into teaching History/Social Studies using EdTech. While I started that as more of a personal flaying of myself for not having noticed just how under-taught history is in schools, it turned out to be a rather interesting and popular topic.
So, on that note, I am diving into the area of science. Another of those courses that often gets a raw deal. There are A LOT of teachers out there who are only concerned with their subject area. It’s the old “My subject is the most important yadda yadda yadda” syndrome. Or, the really vulgar thoughts, “My subject is tested this year, it counts more.”
Let’s go ahead and tackle some of those ways of thinking now. Most states have adopted the Common Core standards. Many have “backed out”, but in truth, the new standards they have adopted are remarkably similar to the CCS, just rebranded. Well, the Common Core standards put a heavy emphasis on non-fiction texts. Students are expected to read subject specific texts (Science and SS) and understand them.
Now, English teachers tend to be the worst of the bunch. I know, I am one, and that gives me justification to say it. We feel that because our subject is tested so much, and so much emphasis is placed on reading on other tests, we have no time for anything else. We have, over the years, allowed ourselves to fall into the “teaching the test” trap. A few years ago, we began the crawl out of that trap. We were generally at the top of the school in state test scores. I say that not as a boast, but more as a fault. We were teaching a test. Sure, we did it well, but we did a major disservice to other subjects in the process.
Science is one of those subject that we can utilize scientific texts to teach fundamental reading skills. It’s another perfect source for non-fiction text. It supports, or should support, learning in the other subject. It is, generally speaking, perfect. So, why then is this area so under-utilized? The main reason is pure selfishness. We don’t want to teach their subject. We don’t want to collaborate with other subjects. We don’t want to get out of our comfort zone. Well, it is time we get over it. I use the pronoun, WE, because I have been guilty of this myself… although, I consider myself recovering. I have made major efforts to include other subjects in my classroom, and my PLN.
Maybe you are afraid of approaching your other subject areas about doing this. You shouldn’t be, but if you are, there are great resources out there. Free. Google what you are looking for, getting started with something is better than nothing. Utilize Twitter, make an effort to include some Twitter Chats that are out of your subject area. Yes, you will feel lost for a bit, but you will LEARN. You will DEVELOP. You will GROW. Shocking.. isn’t it? The same things we tell our students to do, will work for us as well.
For those of you in younger grades, Brainpop.com is a great resource. Kids love the robot.
I could attempt to recreate the wheel, but others have blazed this trail before me. Head over to http://edtechteacher.org/tools/science/ and look at their resources. Wow.
No longer do you have the excuse, “I don’t have the resources to teach other subjects with.” That is the very reason Educational Technology is so powerful. It gives us freedom to explore, freedom to facilitate learning, freedom to help kids succeed… and that is the ultimate goal for all of us.