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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Bill Biliouris, in Science, Engages Students in Interactive Word Wall Work

Bill Biliouris, science teacher at Jay High School, works with students on a word wall based on a geology unit in science. Bill givens clues, while students identify the key concepts posted on the word wall. Bill divides students into teams and they compete for points based on the fasted word identifications. Students are allowed to use books and notes. This type of interactive word wall activities embeds key concepts in students schema and develops understanding. Bill follows this activity with a writing assignment.

Journey to the Center of the Earth

Science Geology Unit

Imagine you have built a machine capable of drilling through the layers of the Earth. Write an adventure story about your trip to the center of the Earth. Describe the conditions of temperature, composition, and pressure of each of the layers that you travel through. How thick is each layer? Are some layers more difficult to dig through? What does it look like? Is it hot in your machine? Do you have special equipment to survive the pressure? What are some of the design features of your digging machine that help you survive the extreme conditions inside the Earth? Do you survide the trip? Use information in the textbook as well as internet resources to assist with the factual information of the story.

Peer Edit
Journey to the Center of the Earth
Author's Name ______________
Editor's Name_______________

The purpose of this peer edit is to provide feedback to the author regarding their story about their journey into the center of the Earth.

The editor will give constructive criticism and consier the following:
  • Does the story describe the temperature?
  • Does the story describe the pressure?
  • Does the story describe the composition of layers?
  • Does the story describe how the vehicle penetrates the layers of the Earth?
  • Does the story include design features of the vehicle that help you survive the journey to the center of the Eath?
  • Does the story "hold" my interest?
  • How could the story be better?

Bob Fitzgerald Scaffolds Small Groups in Math During a Concept Sort

Bob Fitzgerald, math teacher at Jay High School, scaffolds small groups as they work through a concept sort. The closed sort was used to clarify understandings of: One/Two Step Equations, Multi-Step Equations, and Simplify.

For further information you can contact Bob at:

Monday, November 17, 2008

Guiding Student Discussions - Ideas from Janet Benedetto

Adapted from: Around the Reading Workshop in 180 Days by Frank Serafini

  • looking at each other when speaking
  • asking each other questions
  • listening and caring about what each other thinks and says
  • talking so everyone can hear
  • learning to politely disagree
  • playing around in groups
  • being rude
  • constantly interrupting others
  • allowing one person to do all the talking
  • not coming to the group with your own ideas
  • not talking
  • saying you are done when there may be more to say
We might use this as a framework and begin to add discussion extenders:)

Thanks, Janet

For more information Janet can be contacted at: