Teaching the Kids to Read
Previewing: Look at pages 98-100. Read the titles and headings, look at the diagrams and pictures, read the captions. What do you think we will be reading about? What do you want to know or learn from this section? What questions do you have?
Modelling: The kids read two paragraphs silently. Then, as a class, we practice the process of discussing it. I provide a couple of questions to help them pick out the important concepts and terms. We practice discussing without raising hands, responding to each other. When everyone feels that they understand the material, each student takes notes. I emphasize taking useful notes - some people like bullet points, some people like complete sentences, some people will need to write down a lot, others only a few key points. We will have to work more on this. I think I need to show them some examples of notes and have them evaluate which ones will be most useful for the student to use to study, and then we'll have something to emulate. I don't like note-taking systems. I don't have time to teach three or four different systems, and my experience is that some systems work better for some students and some texts, other work better for other kids, other texts. I'm hoping the kids can learn to identify key ideas and write them down in any fashion that makes the ideas personally accessible later on.
Practice: I put a transparency on the overhead projector which breaks the reading down into small sections and provides focus questions for each section. With a partner, they read, discuss, take notes, read, discuss, take notes. When both students are stuck, they ask me to explain.
We've done this for two days now; the first day's topic was work. The second day's topic was work, too, because it went a lot more slowly than I anticipated. Part of that was my extemporaneous speech about How College Classes Work. We nearly finished power, today, too. Tomorrow we will wrap it up, I'll go over a few key ideas to make sure everyone got it, and then, on to simple machines. There we will get to put to the test some of our understanding about work and power.