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Reading, writing and inquiry: Classroom Applications. James A. Shymansky University of Missouri-St. Louis Larry D. Yore University of Victoria. Fictional Literature as Springboards to Inquiry. Misconceptions abound! Is this possible? Let’s try it and see!. Parent Potential!.

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Reading, writing and inquiry: Classroom Applications

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Reading writing and inquiry classroom applications

Reading, writing and inquiry: Classroom Applications

James A. Shymansky

University of Missouri-St. Louis

Larry D. Yore

University of Victoria

Fictional literature as springboards to inquiry

Fictional Literature as Springboards to Inquiry

Misconceptions abound!

Is this possible?

Let’s try it and see!

Parent potential

Parent Potential!

Reading, writing and inquiring at home

Focus and questions and investigation rather than on answers

Becoming critical consumers of information

Explicit reading instruction

Explicit Reading Instruction

  • Requires reading different kinds of texts differently.

  • Among other things, informational text is often read selectively.

  • This contrasts sharply with the way in which fictional narrative or even some non-fiction text is typically read.

Explicit science reading instruction pearson dole 1987

Explicit Science Reading Instruction(Pearson & Dole, 1987)

  • Model

    • Establish need and value of strategy

    • Model strategy

    • Provide guided practice

    • Reinforce procedures of strategy

    • Transfer ownership and application

  • Visual Literacy--Graphic Adjuncts

    • Tables, charts, diagrams, mechanical drawings

    • Photographs, models, illustrations

    • Graphs

Science co op inquiry model with embedded language arts tasks

Science Co-op Inquiry Model with Embedded Language Arts Tasks

  • Purpose of each phase and possible language arts tasks to achieve the purpose

    • Engage

    • Explore

    • Consolidate

    • Assess



  • Access and Assess Prior Knowledge

  • Challenge Prior Knowledge, Motivate Students, and Establish Purpose

    • “Write Now”—a free-write activity to a prescribed issue/idea

    • “Children’s Literature” as a springboard into inquiry

    • “K-W-L chart or Concept Map”

    • “Discuss results of Take Home Activities”



  • Ensure Safety, Distribute Materials, and Manage Students

  • Guide Investigation

  • Facilitate Progress

  • Question to Promote Thinking and Rationale

    • “Write Procedural Guide” for peers

    • “Record and Display Data”

    • “Science Writing Heuristic Parts 1-2”

Consolidate small group

Consolidate (Small Group)

  • Encourage Peer Interactions

  • Question to Promote Consideration of the Argument: Alternative Ideas, Evidence, Data Analysis, and Critical Thinking

    • “Talk and Debate Data Interpretations”

    • “Share Drawings”

    • “Graph and Explain Data”

Consolidate large group

Consolidate (Large Group)

  • Questioning, Share Ideas, and Seek Consensus

  • Highlight Supportive Evidence, Consider Authorities, and Apply New Ideas

    • “Add new ideas to Word Wall”

    • “Consult Information Sources with aid of Explicit Instruction”

    • “Structured Controversy Debate”

    • “Compare Written Arguments”

Consolidate individual

Consolidate (Individual)

  • Promote Private Reflection

  • Extend Experiences

    • “Science Writing Heuristic Part 3: Claims and evidence”

    • “Critical Evaluation of Information Sources: Trade books, Internet, etc.”

    • “Project Report with aid of Explicit Instruction”

    • “Develop Concept Map or integrate New Ideas into Prior Concept Map”



  • Collect Formative Data while Anticipating Summative Demands

  • Analyze and Reflect

  • Adjust Teaching and Learning

    • “Products of Science Writing Heuristic”

    • “Structured Journals”

    • “Multiple Representations”

    • “Complete the K-W-L chart”

    • “Etc.”

Oral discourse

Oral Discourse

  • Talking, debating and arguing science ideas(Koenig, 2001; Lemke, 1990, Wellington & Osborne, 2001)

  • Patterns of Verbal Interactions(Flanders, 1964; Shymansky, 1978)

    • Traditional Science Lesson

      • One-way: lecture

      • One-way: teacher to one student (t-s)

    • Inquiry Science Lesson

      • Two-way and multi-directional: t-ss, ss-t, s-s

  • Chained Questions: Response and Rationale

  • Debating Science, Technology, Society, and Environment Issues

  • Argumentation: The Process of Argument

Classroom questioning matching strategic purpose 1

Classroom Questioning: Matching Strategic Purpose (1)

  • Engage Phase: Question sequence accesses prior knowledge, motivates, challenges existing ideas, and establishes problem focus for investigation(Bloom’s taxonomy, Gilbert, 1992)

    • Lower-level: Recall, translation, elaboration

    • Questions that relate to students’ interest and lives

    • Higher-level: Application, synthesis, evaluation

      • These questions focus on how, where, and epistemic justification

      • One or more questions will not be ‘answerable’ at this time

      • One or more questions need to be researchable

      • One or more questions will serve as the focus for the inquiry

      • An investigation will be planned to investigate one or more of these questions

Classroom questioning matching strategic purpose 2

Classroom Questioning: Matching Strategic Purpose (2)

  • Explore Phase: Use ‘productive questions’ that match the small groups’ actions, concerns, and inquiry(Martens, 1999)

    • Attention-Focusing: Draw student attention to significant details

    • Measuring and Counting: Encourage students to be more precise about their observations

    • Comparison: Encourage students to analyze and classify

    • Action: Encourage students to make predictions or observations based on events

    • Problem-Posing: Assist students to plan and implement solutions to problems

    • Reasoning Questions: Encourage students to think about experiences and help them make sense of these experiences

Classroom questioning matching strategic purpose 3

Classroom Questioning: Matching Strategic Purpose (3)

  • Consolidation Phase: Chained series of teacher’s/ students’ questions should promote knowledge construction, justification of claims with evidence, explanation based on theoretical foundations, etc.(Penick, Crow, & Bonnstetter, 1996)

  • Questioning and question sequence should consider:

    • Wait-time (Rowe, 1996)

    • Sharing experiences and data

    • Organizing and interpreting data

    • Alternative interpretations

    • Chained interpretation, rationales, and justification for interpretations between two or more students

    • Application of new ideas to relevant issues

    • Integration of new ideas into prior conceptual networks (conceptual growth or conceptual change)

References for oral discourse and classroom questioning 1

References for Oral Discourse and Classroom Questioning (1)

  • Flanders, N. A. (1964). Some relationships among teacher influence, pupil attitudes, and achievement. In B. J. Biddle & W. J. Ellons (Eds.), Contemporary research on teacher effectiveness (pp. 196-231). New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.

  • Gilbert, S. W. (1992). Systematic questioning. Science Teacher, 59(December), 41-46.

  • Latham, A. (1997). Asking students the right questions. Educational Leadership, 54(6), 84-85.

  • Martens, M. L. (1999). Productive questions: Tools for supporting constructivist learning. Science and Children, 36(8), 24-27 & 53.

  • Maxim, G. (1997). When to answer the question ‘why?’. Science and Children, 35(3), 41-45.

References for oral discourse and classroom questioning 2

References for Oral Discourse and Classroom Questioning (2)

  • Otto, P. B. (1991). Finding an answer in questioning strategies. Science and Children, 28(7), 44-47.

  • Penick, J. E., Crow, L. W., & Bonnstetter, R. J. (1996). Questions are the answers. Science Teacher, 63(1), 26-29.

  • Rowe, M. B. (1996). Science, silence, and sanctions. Science and Children, 34(1), 35-38.

  • Schielack, J. F., Chancellor, D., & Childs, K. (2000). Designing questions to encourage children’s mathematical thinking. Teaching Children Mathematics, 6, 398-402.

  • Shymansky, J. A. (1978). Assessing teacher performance in the classroom: Pattern analysis applied to interaction data. Studies in Education Evaluation, 4, 99-106.

  • Wellington, J., & Osborne, J. (2001). Language and literacy in science education. Philadelphia, PA: Open University Press.

Debates and arguments yore bisanz hand 2003

Debates and Arguments(Yore, Bisanz, & Hand, 2003)

  • STSE issues provide ill-structured problems, multiple solutions, and rich contemporary contexts

  • STSE issues involve trade-off among science, technology, and societal values

  • Apply authentic debating procedures

  • Consider ‘Structured Controversy’: Debate, Evaluate, Debate, and Draw Consensus (Johnson & Johnson, 1985)

  • King’s College London Project (Osborne, Erduran, & Simon, 2004)

Incorporating informational text

Incorporating Informational Text

  • Teachers’ views of role of text and inquiry

    • Move inquiry from ‘deductive approach: verification of general rule’ to ‘more inductive approach: basis for generating rule’

    • Move text from the ‘taking meaning’ to ‘making meaning and elaborating ideas’

  • Remember the interactive-constructive model of reading

    • Readers bring ideas to text and text brings ideas to readers

    • Text is a blueprint for possible interpretations

  • Do first, read later!

Practical guidelines for reading science text

Practical Guidelines for Reading Science Text

  • Some Do’s and Don’ts (Huber & Walker, 1996)

    • Do demonstrate effective science reading strategies

    • Don’t ask students to read aloud or to simply read and answer the questions

    • Do assist students to ask critical questions and to develop rich backgrounds

    • Don’t focus on word-perfect reading

    • Don’t stop students from talking to peers about the text

    • Do Consider Pre-Reading, During-Reading, and Post-Reading Activities

Pre reading activities

Pre-Reading Activities

  • Access and Engage Prior Knowledge

    • Brainstorm related ideas

    • Complete the ‘K’ of a K-W-L chart

  • Establish Purpose(s) for Reading

    • Complete the ‘W’ column of K-W-L Chart

    • Use in-text questions before starting

  • Survey the Text Materials

    • Use a general reading plan: SQ3R

    • Pay attention to heading, visuals, and other clues to the main ideas

During reading activities

During-Reading Activities

  • Monitor Comprehension

    • Encourage readers to keep track of their understanding

  • Repair Comprehension Failures

    • Re-read sections

    • Look forward

    • Conduct mental experiments, draw diagrams, etc.

    • Consult other text or readers

  • Elaborate Text

    • Augment text with ideas from inquiries or other sources

Post reading activities

Post-Reading Activities

  • Act on the Text

    • Answer your purpose(s) for reading

    • Complete the ‘L’ column of K-W-L chart

    • Share and discuss with other readers

    • Re-represent the text: Construct a poster, concept map, or text about your reading

    • Detect the clues used to make sense of the text

    • Summarize main ideas, evidence for the ideas, and applications of the ideas

Practical guidelines for writing in science anthony johnson yore 1996

Practical Guidelines for Writing in Science(Anthony, Johnson, & Yore, 1996)

  • The Transportation Problem: Resources are already in desired genre, which encourages copying.

  • The Uphill Problem: Students are writing to an informed audience — the teacher; they need an authentic audience.

  • The Question Problem: Students are frequently without questions or have low-level questions as focus — develop radiant questions for writing tasks.

  • Using Writing Tasks: Tasks should reflect the nature of science, scientific inquiry, knowledge construction, and argumentation — Sequential Writing Tasks and Science Writing Heuristic

Sequential writing tasks tucknott yore 1999

Sequential Writing Tasks(Tucknott & Yore, 1999)

  • Transforming Ideas and Deepening Cognitive Processing

  • Multiple Representation

  • Model Authentic Science Inquiry

    • Identify researchable question

    • Design inquiry and collection data

    • Data table: Organization

    • Data display: Graphing

    • Describing and explaining: Causality

Science inquiry getting started

Science Inquiry: Getting Started

  • Setting Purpose

    • Finding problems

    • Stating researchable questions

    • Identifying central features: Potential effects, causes, variables, controls, etc.

  • Designing Inquiry

  • Collecting Potential Evidence: Making Observations and Measurements

Interpreting data tables

Interpreting Data: Tables

  • Do Not Always Provide Prepared Data Tables

  • Organize Data to Reflect Problem or Hypothesis

  • Design Data Table for Variables and Procedures

    • Independent variable

    • Dependent variable

    • Multiple trials

    • Numerical calculations —representative data

Using data displays graphing

Using Data Displays: Graphing

  • Searching for Patterns

  • Select Appropriate Graph

  • Construct Graph with Proper Origin, Labels, Scales, and Units

Using text to connect cause and effect causality

Using Text to Connect Cause and Effect: Causality

  • Using the Describe and Explain Genres

  • Descriptions are Verbal Depictions of Patterns

  • Explanations are More Than Descriptions

    • Theories of explanation

    • Address how and why issues

    • The sequence of conditions (causes) are linked to one another and connected to the target event (effect) using a statistical inference, temporal approximation or theoretical connection using an unobserved idea, scientific model, or construct

Using pendulums

Using Pendulums

  • Recall the Pendulum experiment

  • Develop a data table for length and frequency or period of a pendulum

  • Develop a graph of these data

  • Write a description and explanation of the relationship between length and frequency or period of a pendulum

Science writing heuristic wallace hand prain 2004

Science Writing Heuristic(Wallace, Hand, & Prain, 2004)

  • Student Template to support science argument and learning

    • What is my question(s)?

    • What will I do to test it?

    • What did I observe or measure?

    • What can I claim about the question(s)?

    • Are my data evidence for this claim?

    • How does my claim compare to others?

    • How have my ideas changed?

Science writing heuristic

Science Writing Heuristic

  • Teacher’s Template to scaffold students’ actions

    • Pre-instructional activities: Access and challenge students’ prior knowledge

    • Negotiations I: Writing personal meanings for inquiry

    • Negotiations II: Sharing and comparing data

    • Negotiations III: Comparing ideas to textbook ideas

    • Negotiations IV: Individual reflections

    • Post-instructional consolidation and assessment

Using pendulums1

Using Pendulums

  • Apply the SWH to inquiry of a pendulum’s mass and frequency or period.

    • Is there a testable question?

    • How will I test this question?

    • What should I observe or measure?

    • What are the data?

    • Do these data reveal a pattern?

    • Why did this pattern result?

    • What caused this pattern/relationship?

Reading writing and inquiry classroom applications

Analytical Scoring Rubric for Describe-Explain Genre(See: &

Content, Form and Function:Novice Expert


General details12345

Cause-effect links12345

Theoretical framework1 2 3 4 5

Writing: Novice Expert

Style12 3 4 5


Technical Aspects12345

Specific Comments:

Reading writing and inquiry classroom applications

Holistic Scoring Rubric for Writing Samples(See: &

  • Global Assessment

    Approaching At Above

    Expectations Expectations Expectations


    General Comments:

References for oral language informational text and sequential writing tasks 1

References for Oral Language, Informational Text, and Sequential Writing Tasks (1)

  • Anthony, R. J., Johnson, T. D., & Yore, L. D. (1996). Write-to-learn science strategies. Catalyst, 39(4), 10-16.

  • Hand, B., Yore, L. D., & Prain, V. (Eds.). (in press). Special Issue—Language and science literacy foundations and research. International Journal of Science Education.

  • Huber, R. A., & Walker, B. L. (1999, September). Science reading do’s and don’ts. Science Scope. 22-23.

  • Johnson, R. T., & Johnson, D. W. (1985). Using structured controversy in science classrooms. In R. W. Bybee (Ed.), Science technology society: 1985 yearbook of the National Science Teachers Association (pp. 228-234), Washington DC: National Science Teachers Association.

  • Osborne, J., Erduran, S., & Simon. S. (2004). Enhancing the quality of argumentation in school science, Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 41, 994-1020.

  • Saul, E. W. (Ed.) (2004). Crossing borders in literacy and science instruction. Newark, DE: International Reading Association/National Science Teachers Association.

References for oral language informational text and sequential writing tasks 2

References for Oral Language, Informational Text, and Sequential Writing Tasks (2)

  • Tucknott, J. M., & Yore, L. D. (1999). The effects of writing activities on grade 4 children’s understanding of simple machines, inventions, and inventors. Resources in Education (ERIC), ED 428 973.

  • Tynjala, P., Mason, L., & Lonka, K. (Eds.). (2001). Writing as a learning tool: Integrating theory and practice. Dordrecht: Kluwer.

  • Unsworth, L. (2001). Teaching multiliteracies across the curriculum. Philadelphia, PA: Open University Press.

  • Wallace, C. S., Hand, B., & Prain, V. (2004) Writing and learning in the science classroom. Dordrecht: Kluwer.

  • Wellington, J., & Osborne, J. (2001). Language and literacy in science education. Philadelphia, PA: Open University Press.

  • Yore, L. D., Bisanz, G. L., & Hand, B. M. (2003). Examining the literacy component of science literacy: 25 years of language arts and science research. International Journal of Science Education, 25, 689-725.

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