A Collaborative Effort: Kinnelon New Jersey Science Teachers Share Their Experience with IQWST

Activate Learning: In what ways has using IQWST affected your classroom culture?

Valerie Comprelli (6th Grade): I feel more connected to my students with the amount of questioning between student to student and teacher to student. It has helped explain so much of the science kids see in their everyday life. It has caused them to question things they never questioned before. It has been such an amazing experience as an educator to see kids "light up" the way they have.

Tim Reilly (7th Grade): IQWST has allowed my science classroom to cover less concepts, but to go deeper with what is part of the curriculum. The classroom has become a place where science discussions occur every day. The classroom has become a place where these science discussions are part of the norm. It allows students the ability to talk with others, to share ideas, and to feel comfortable with working through a problem. The classroom has also been able to foster a level of comfort with not only verbal communication, but writing as well.

Mimi Naso (6th and 8th Grades): It has facilitated more student discussion; improved non-fictional writing; increased hands on opportunities.

John Manning (8th Grade - Accelerated): Created more opportunities for discussion and argument.

 

AL: What are some ways that your students are demonstrating success in science as they use IQWST?

Valerie Comprelli: Students are using evidence to back up their statements, they are exploring and asking questions and discovering connections.

John Manning: Improved writing, higher level questions, more apparent sense of curiosity and engagement.

Mimi Naso: Improved reading skills (can identify the material points), improved intellectual science discussions and understanding the design and use of a consensus model.

Tim Reilly: Students are demonstrating success with both their verbal and written forms of communication. Students are more comfortable using verbal prompts and using both qualitative and quantitative data to support their answers.

 

AL: IQWST focuses on reading, writing, and talking science--as students also “do” science.  How do the reading and writing activities support your students as learners?

Valerie Comprelli: The amount and level of reading in science was wonderful. The readings did a very nice job backing up the activities. They were also very helpful in discussion.

John Manning: Keeps them engaged by addressing their interests, forces them to identify and interpret important info in a text.

Mimi Naso: In every unit/lesson, there are many opportunities for discussion and writing. Each reading/writing leads into…, is a concept related to…, or is a reflection of a demo/lab.

Tim Reilly: It allows for the review and reinforcement of what the students view and discuss in class. It allows students the opportunity to be able to review the material in another fashion.

AL:  What pedagogical practice or strategy has been particularly useful to you? (e.g., reading strategies, the Driving Question Board, assessment strategies, CER framework)

Valerie Comprelli: I think the questioning between student to student and student to teacher has been most useful. It took some practice to see how the DQB and CER applied.

John Manning: CER Framework and Reading Strategies

Mimi Naso: Certainly, the CER, highlighting and summarizing the readings and the driving question board helped facilitate discussion and was useful as a homework assignment, if there were questions that were outside the realm or not answered.

Tim Reilly: I find all the strategies very helpful in my classroom. really enjoy implementing the CER and watching the students’ progress with it throughout the year!

 

AL:  What differentiates IQWST from other science curricula?

Valerie Comprelli: IQWST does an extraordinary job with making connections. The journey you take as a teacher and student is just amazing; how things tie in to one another, how the connections come together, etc. It was remarkable as a teacher to see how different curricula was tied together in each unit and what the end result was.

John Manning: More focused on discussions and data analysis.

Mimi Naso: All the reasons above (reading skills, modeling skills, writing skills (CER).

Tim Reilly:  As stated previously, the students are speaking and writing science every day. It allows it to become the norm in the classroom! It allows them to own the material not just to memorize it!