Saturday, January 29, 2011

SWH (Science Writing Heuristics)

In Science we use the SWH approach.  We start with a "big idea" usually the benchmark/standard put in kid-friendly terms.  Then we "get at what they know"  In my class we do this in a variety of diferent ways.  We make concept maps, we fill out KWL charts, we write down our ideas about something, and the newest one that I have done is labeling a diagram. 

I started this unit off by using Kidspiration and having them sort pictures into 3 categories: living, nonliving, and was once living.  We then started with the smallest group to cover, "was once living" 
The students then filled out a concept map
We then got back together as a class and listed what we thought was once living. 

We chose dinosaurs to learn more about.  The next goal was getting at what they knew about dinosaurs.  At first I was just going to list what they said, but they sat there not quite sure how to begin.  So I drew some "scary looking" dinosaurs and asked them to help me label them.  This helped out a lot!  We were running short on time so I had to cut them off. 

The next lesson was to talk about the questions that we had about dinosaurs.  Since we aren't experts on the subject we had a lot of questions.  I tried to limit them to 1 or 2 questions each.  I got a variety of questions which helps with the research!  We then went through the questions to see which one we needed to answer first. 

Next week will will start our research and see how many questions we can answer.  And then create our dinosaur books.  We are hoping to consult with some experts, our kindergarten teacher will be one of our guest speakers to talk about the Mastadon bone found in her childhood schools town, and we hope to skype with a palentologist about their job and dinosaurs. 

1 comment:

  1. Hi Ms. Littler,

    I think it's fascinating that you're using Kidspiration in your SWH approach. I'd love to hear more about this and learn how it's improved your students' learning. I also appreciate you sharing this example and have shared it with our followers on Facebook and Twitter.

    When you have a chance, I'd like to get in touch. You may email me directly at connect(at) or find me on our blog, Facebook or Twitter.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Sarah Cargill, Inspiration Software