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Earth & Space Science: About the Course

Teacher-Talk EarthSpace

Re: [Channel-talkearthspace] Session 1

From: Neal Utesch <utescnea@sergeant-bluff.k12.ia.us>
Date: Wed Mar 14 2007 - 16:34:05 EDT
X-Mailer: Novell GroupWise Internet Agent 7.0.1

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the topic. I can see where you are
coming from by saying they are not always a good way to measure in terms
of assessment value, because they may not always project the students
true understanding of a topic. I also am very visual and rely on that
visual identity when I learn. I think that with students who are
struggling readers it helps them to map out their thoughts and recall
the information much easier when studying. Great comments--Thanks.

I will send you my comments on the next session soon.

Neal

>>> "strickland-stacy" <strickland-stacy@harris.k12.ga.us> 3/14/2007
1:03 pm >>>
More thoughts on the reading . . .
Something that the reading addressed that I have learned a lot about
since starting graduate school is student misconceptions. It doesn't
really matter how well we teach a concept unless we understand how our
students think of that concept. What I mean is this - our students have
all types of experiences and often these experiences fall short of
explanation. Without a scientific explanation of phenomena that they
encounter, students use deductive reasoning to apply their own
explanations and sometimes those explanations are incomplete or
incorrect. Therefore, the students need to have time to engage in
activities that will help to alter misconceptions and can add to their
conceptual understandings. In my opinion, concept maps are not a useful
tool when trying to gauge student misconceptions, and when used as an
assessment tool they may not always point them out. (This is what I was
getting at earlier when I had to go to my meeting.) So, while I really
like the idea of using concept maps, I think there are times when they
are inappropriate. On the other hand, when appropriate, they are an
extremely useful tool. I am a very visual person and I really think
that organizing things on paper helps me to organize it in my head. I
know that in college, when I had exams to study for, I could often see
the placement of the words on the page when trying to recall information
for the answers.....It is my hope that it works the same way for my
students.
 
Stacy Strickland
HCCMS, Special Education

________________________________

From: channel-talkearthspace-bounces@learner.org on behalf of Neal
Utesch
Sent: Wed 3/14/2007 12:37 PM
To: Discussion list for ESSENTIAL SCIENCE FOR TEACHERS: EARTH
ANDSPACESCIENCE
Subject: Re: [Channel-talkearthspace] Session 1

Just some thoughts on the article from session 1 and some thoughts on
the video from session 1, let me know what you think.

Article Thoughts...

I enjoyed the reading on concept mapping, even though I have a great
deal of experience with using concept maps in my classroom. A lot of
the work that we do on my plant unit for my science class that I teach
deals with plant processes and anatomical parts of a plant. With that, I
like to use a lot of concept maps or graphic organizers to help the
students better understand the different processes that we are learning
about. I think that it helps kids to understand better the link between
parts and how one process may help lead to another process. I think
that concept mapping can be a great way for kids to organize their
thoughts on a topic and to help them organize them so that they make
sense to them when they read them back. They are a great note taking
tool when it comes to things that can be many parts to make a whole. I
particularly like it when it comes to explaining the different parts of
the plant cell and how they all contribute to help make the plant cell
work. It helps kids to distinguish the different roles of the parts in
the plant cell.
        Concept maps can also be used as a great way to study and
memorize information with a lot of parts. The students can learn how to
scaffold information so that each bit of the map before it builds onto
the next bit of the map. I like the ideas in the article that suggest
that sometime students can use linking words to help them in their
concept maps. This may also help clarify the purpose of the information
that is in the map for the students later when they are reading it to
themselves or studying it. The key words or linking words can be
simple, but meaningful to the link between the concepts on the map.
These are links between concepts that can link different segments of
knowledge on the maps. I also like the idea that concept maps can be
polished by re-positioning information to make the map more user
friendly for the reader. The flexibility of the concept map gives the
student ownership and the freedom to make a mistake, because they can
fix it.
        The idea that concept maps can be a pre-test type of
information for a student is a good one. It helps the students
visualize where the unit is going and what they are expected to get from
it as they study. It helps them to organize how and when they want to
study certain concepts or material and when they should expect to know
the information. It is also used as a good review guide at the end of
the unit to remind students of the ideas that they learned about.

Thoughts on the video and session 1 in general...

The first section dealing with soil formation was really good. I
learned a few things that I did not already know and I was able to apply
those things that I learned to my concept map that I created on the
question: "What is Soil?" This is a question that would seem fairly
easy to answer, but with the information from the video, I realized that
a lot more goes into the making of soil than the average person would
care to take notice to. I think that the idea of using concept maps is
a good idea. They could prove to be a valuable tool for students who
have a hard time making connections with difficult topics. Something
that I have always had a difficulty with was the difference between
chemical and physical weathering, but by putting the concepts of both
into a concept map, it helps me to visually make the connections between
the two and distinguish the differences and similarities. I enjoyed
learning about how volcanoes directly impact the replenishment of soil
on our Earth and how when you take a soil sample, you can investigate
what makes the soil simply with the use of your senses. You can touch
and see the soil and make some conclusions on how it originated and what
exist in the soil sample that you take.
        Some ideas that I am going to take to my classroom to use with
my students will be the concept mapping idea. Letting the students
explore a concept and then map it out and make the connections, rather
than the same old multiple choice test questions. If done correctly
with modeling and expectations, I think that it can be used as a
valuable assessment tool for students understanding. I will also take
the idea of how to investigate soil samples and how to help students
determine what is in their soil sample by giving them the knowledge of
using their senses.

Let me know what you think and I would love to continue discussions on
each of the units with you.

 Neal Utesch

>>> "strickland-stacy" <strickland-stacy@harris.k12.ga.us> 3/14/2007
7:48 am >>>
Thanks Neal, I too am further along in the sessions, but haven't had
anyone to start any discussions with. What kind of luck have you had
getting your hands on the homework reading that goes along with the
sessions? I have not been able to find them anywhere.

Stacy Strickland
HCCMS, Special Education

________________________________

From: channel-talkearthspace-bounces@learner.org on behalf of Neal
Utesch
Sent: Wed 3/14/2007 10:37 AM
To: channel-talkearthspace@learner.org
Subject: Re: [Channel-talkearthspace] Session 1

I am on session 6 right now, but I haven't posted any discussions on
any
of the sessions yet. I will certainly discuss session 1 with you if
you
want.

Neal Utesch
SB-L, 6th Grade

>>> "strickland-stacy" <strickland-stacy@harris.k12.ga.us> 3/13/2007
8:01 pm >>>
Is there anyone out there to discuss Session 1?

Stacy Strickland
HCCMS, Special Education

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Received on Wed Mar 14 15:35:53 2007

 

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