science

Scientific Writing and Technological Change

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Author: Mya Poe and Julianne Radkowski Opperman

Summary: Looking for specific ways to incorporate technology into teaching while leading students through the scientific research process? Noting that writing in science “is a dynamic process that changes quickly with technological change,” this chapter explores specific examples from both high school and college settings that invite students’ dynamic engagement as writers through proposal writing, literature reviews, storying research findings, and peer review. This resource will be of interest to both classroom teachers and those involved in designing professional development programs or seeking ideas for teacher inquiry.
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How to Build Better Engineers: A Practical Approach to the Mechanics of Text

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Author: Ron E. Smelser

Summary: How do engineers write—in what ways, for what audiences, and for what purposes? How do we as teachers support novices in developing an understanding that learning to write clearly to communicate arguments in proposals and presentations may make all the difference in moving an idea to a product that is economically and practically feasibile? This article presents a structure that emulates what engineers encounter in a peer-review proposal process. Those planning and leading workshops grounded in real-world practices for aspiring engineers or other related professions will find useful ideas here.
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The Authenticity Spectrum: The Case of a Science Journalism Writing Project

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Author: Angela Kohnen

Summary: Although learning to write like science reporters was initially designed to help students develop scientific literacy, the SciJourn project became much more — a key to high school students’ engagement as learners, researchers, and writers and their teachers’ opportunity to explore “real world” genre-based writing assignments and assessment. This article provides a rich discussion with specific examples for learning to develop assignments and learning experiences that take into account “functional authenticity.” Those designing professional development, grants, summer institutes, or study groups on topics such as disciplinary literacy, genre, or authentic learning/writing will find ample food for thought!
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Content Area Literacy and Learning: Selected Sources for the 21st Century, An Annotated Bibliography

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Author: Judith Rodby

Summary: Those looking for materials related to content area and cross-disciplinary reading may find this annotated bibliography useful. It is organized around three general categories of research and practice: 1) generalized reading strategies; 2) adapting/applying generalized reading strategies to specific content areas (math, science, history); and 3) content area-specific approaches that focus on genres, discourses, and identities implicit in the ways of knowing in subject areas and disciplines.
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Why I Write: Scientist Timothy Ferris on Writing to Learn

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Author: Timothy Ferris

Summary: Ferris explains that he writes as a way to learn science and describes the vital role that science has played in changing the world for the better. He discusses how writing for general audiences can help scientists to “clarify their own thinking, by obliging them to put specialized ideas into wider contexts and to express them simply.” This short piece could be motivating for science students and teachers to read aloud and discuss before prompting them to write their own ‘why I write’ narratives.
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Disciplinary Literacy and Reading Across the Content Areas

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Author: Art Peterson

Summary: A valuable resource for professional development planners and facilitators and content area classroom teachers, this article poses the questions: What does it mean to be a successful reader and writer in English class, in science, in history, in mathematics? With those in mind, Elizabeth Birr Moje argues that focusing on disciplinary literacy will help us understand the thinking and learning demands students face as they move through different content area classes that make up a typical high school day. Noting that since each discipline has its own literacy, the author argues for stripping away the one-size-fits-all literacy “strategies” and engaging students in the way historians and scientists and others actually read and write in their disciplines.
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Composing Science (NWP Radio)

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Guests: Kim Jaxon and Leslie Atkins Elliott

Summary: In this engaging NWP Radio Show, Kim Jaxon and Leslie Atkins Elliott, authors of Composing Science: A Facilitator’s Guide to Writing in the Science Classroom, talk about teaching writing, teaching science, and creating classrooms in which students use writing to learn and think scientifically. In a lively conversation, Kim, a composition and literacy specialist, and Leslie, a science teacher educator with a Ph.D in physics, talk about concrete approaches for engaging students in practices that mirror the work that writing accomplishes in the development and dissemination of scientific ideas. Together they address a range of genres that can help students deepen their scientific reasoning and inquiry in this excellent resource for teachers engaged in inquiry into disciplinary literacy.
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How Language Minority Students Can Learn in the Content Areas: An Alternative to Silence

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Author: Beth Winningham

Summary: A teacher researcher who studied the experiences of five minority students over the course of a school year offers concrete suggestions for improving the learning experience of middle/high school students in general, and ELL students in particular. This article could be examined as a model of teacher inquiry and student advocacy.
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Non-Fiction Writing in the Science Classroom

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Author: Nancy Lilly

Summary: Fourth grade science teacher, Nancy Lilly, describes how she helps her students recognize that the skills that elevate fiction are the very skills that can be useful in writing strong nonfiction, including writing about science. Sharing a writing session with one of her students, Lilly describes her process when working with students to improve writing using mentor texts and other examples. This glimpse into classroom practice could be a useful resource for a content-area study group thinking about teaching writing in science.
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Disciplinary, Content-Area Literacy: An Annotated Bibliography

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Author: Judith Rodby

Summary: Elizabeth Birr Moje offers some of the most provocative viewpoints in content area literacy research today. This annotated bibliography serves as a primer of some of her recent works. It offers an effective starting point for teacher leaders looking for resources to discuss disciplinary literacy across content areas.
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