By Pete Barnes
Many teachers are, understandably, in survival mode this semester, hoping just to make it through the pandemic and return to “normal”. But for those with the bandwidth to think beyond the present chaos, planning a project that will get kids outside, help the natural world, and beautify the school campus may be a welcome relief. A pollinator garden does all of these things with minimal financial and technological resources, and is a great project for schools that are conducting as many classes outside as possible in order to limit potential spread of the virus. Science, math, and language arts concepts can all be taught in the garden, but students will most remember making the earth a more liveable place.
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By Laura Alvarez and Lucinda Pease-Alvarez
When trying to support their newcomer students who are also new to English, teachers often wonder if they can even address content area learning in English. Based on our experience, an inquiry-based approach to content learning in English can be very effective. This approach involves students in actively constructing knowledge and doing work in the disciplines. We have found the following instructional practices are helpful when structuring inquiry-based content units. Many of these practices can be adapted when planning for remote instruction.
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- Articulate clear and strategic learning objectives
- Engage students’ curiosity and wonder
- Facilitate and make meaning of hands-on learning experiences
- Involve students in accessible and relevant ways of applying and communicating what they’ve learned.