Teaching third grade was a difficult year. Sure, I had it easier than some, and I shouldn’t complain. I was able to loop with my class from second grade to third grade. But, I had a lot of trouble finding time to squeeze in science because of all the other stuff. So, I decided to make some science reading passages.
We all know how important it is to teach science.
Not only are we teaching our students about how the world works, but many of the science concepts we teach are integrated in non-fiction reading. That makes up for half of what our students are being tested on! If our students don’t have that prior knowledge, we can’t expect them to be very successful.
I woke up every morning at 4:30 AM to write these passages for my class. I ended up writing 61 of these! My purpose was to give my students more opportunities to practice ELA standards (the ones they’d be tested on) while still teaching about science.
We used the same resource in many different ways throughout the school year. Today, I want to show you how you can do the same without doing the same thing over and over again.
Whole Group Lessons
This was the quickest and easiest way to use these science reading passages. I would print one page per 2 students. First, I would read the passage aloud, then the students would think-pair-share to find the answer. Of course, I would model going back to find the answer.
This was important because it taught my students how to go back and prove their answers instead of guessing. All teachers know, students need this skill when testing.
In literacy centers, I love to give my students a choice. Choice is the key to engagement. They don’t realize it, but they’re all receiving the same material, but in a way that’s suitable for their learning style.
Students could choose to read this independently, with a partner, or listen to it (using the Google Forms feature). Then, they write, draw, or do both to show what they learned.
This took their learning to the next level because they were engaged and they demonstrated their comprehension through words and pictures.
Small Reading Groups/Intervention Groups
Every day, I’d pull intervention groups. I knew which specific skills these kids needed to focus on. Some needed practice with phonics while others needed practice with comprehension. You can read more about how I structured my small group reading in my next post.
This gave me explicit time to teach science and reading skills on a personalized level.
Our science time was always after lunch. The kids would come inside chatty after unstructured time, so I’d give them some time to rest and digest. We would use these for our quiet time.
Students would take about 5 – 10 minutes with this reading passage to review topics we’d previously learned about. It was a great way to get them to calm down and focus after lunch!
Do you even know how your kids perceive themselves as readers? It’s helpful to understand their confidence in reading because they may have barriers that you may not be aware of.
Click HERE to get this free self-perception survey.
Another fun way to use these reading passages is to print them off on half-sheets. Students paste these into their journals. Doing this gives students an opportunity to doodle their thoughts, write notes, etc. in their journal around the reading passage. This is great for visual learners.
I’m not one to give much homework, but I’ve had some teachers tell me that they gave these to their students for homework. This is a great idea because they’re getting extra practice with the ELA standards while learning the science topic.
If you decide to do this, I highly recommend that you review the homework as soon as you begin your lesson. This is where the learning will take place!
There you have it! There are so many more ways to use a science reading passage than you probably imagined. But, maybe I didn’t imagine all the ways, so if you have another idea, I’d love to hear about it. Share in the comments below.
By the way, I made PowerPoints for these topics too!