This term one of the units in my student’s textbook is themed “Endangered Animals.” Using the theme I made an assignment where students had to create fact sheets for different endangered marine animals. Students were first in groups of 2-3 and then in larger groups of 4-6. Attached is the lesson plan I used for this activity, along with the factsheet template and grading scale I used.
To narrow the focus in class I chose to have students write about marine animals, however there are many options for this lesson. In the PDF I have provided some good websites for endangered animal resources.
Recently I completed my first marathon. I had completed several half marathons and decided I was ready to take on the challenge of a full 42.2K run. After completing the race I thought my experience might be worth sharing with my students. Teachable moments can come in many forms and I saw an opportunity with my experience. After some personal reflection and planning on what I wanted to share with my students; I decided I wanted to share the overall experience of setting a goal and working towards completing it. Finishing the race meant many things to me. There is something unique about setting out to run a marathon and both the physical and mental commitment that goes with such a goal. In class I shared my story with my students, and we talked about setting goals and working towards something.
In education there is a term called modeling, and as it sounds, it means to model or demonstrate the behaviour, task or activity the teachers wants to see from their students. By sharing achievements and goals I set with my students I am modeling the behaviour of goal setting. By discussing the training process with my students I am modeling behaviour that demonstrates what it takes to make goals a reality. I truly believe all people can achieve great things and setting goals and then taking the steps to achieve those goals can be a rewarding experience. By sharing my race story with the class, students were able to learn from something I did and possibly connect my experience to their lives and something they want to achieve.
Lesson Notes: Teachable moments can come from anywhere. In the day to day there are many opportunities to bring learning experiences from outside the classroom to enrich discussions and shape learning beyond course content.
This Friday marked the end of my second official week teaching in China and I decided it was time to introduce a critical thinking challenge. I am a strong believer in teaching for critical thought, and will likely write many blog topics on the subject. In my search for a suitable topic and resource I was reminded of my Environmental Education course where we were introduced to the online news source Science Times. The articles on the website are a collection of contentious topics written about science, technology, and the environment. Attached to each topic is an article written in three different reading levels; elementary to advanced. The articles have been written with the two sides of the issue presented, however there is no bias attached. This is what makes Science Times such a fantastic resource; students learn to read and form opinions of their own.
During class I introduced students to the article “Biodegradable Plastic.” It discusses the introduction of plastics, which break down in salt water as a plausible solution to the amount of plastic waste created by large ships at sea. The students were engaged in their learning and although, at times the vocabulary was challenging they asked questions and appeared genuinely interested in the topic. Following an introduction to the article (see Hot Topics for a view of what I presented in class) and once they had finished reading I asked them to debate. Since the article presented two perspectives I asked the question: Is biodegradable plastic in the oceans a good thing? Yes or No. I broke the class into two separate debates and had them pull a card to see if they were arguing for Yes or No. As I was walking around listening to their conversation I noticed how involved they were in the topic and eager to debate. Many students felt the biodegradable plastics still posed risks and were not willing to agree entirely with the solution; even when they were supposed to argue for the idea being good.
Lesson Notes: I will definitely continue to use Science Times and already have one article tagged for later this term. Debate can be an excellent way for students to work on their critical thinking skills, as well as their English. Finally, environmental issues are on the minds of the world’s youth and it is well worth exploring their ideas.
Ms. Kolshuk's Blog
Welcome to my blog where I post about my teaching practice, ideas, findings and discuss topics of an educational nature. Please feel free to comment and/or email with any topic suggestions.