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Dig, Measure and Observe


Independent work stations develop science skills during guided reading group instruction in the primary grades.


by Natalie Stern


lem, we always draw the same conclusion. The truth is that the number of learning objectives has increased over the years, but the available instructional minutes have shrunk. But wait! There must be some way to solve this problem.


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The secret rests in the age old tradition of integration. One area in which time seems abundant in the primary classroom is during small group reading instruction, also known as guided reading groups. During this time, the teacher works with small groups of readers, providing a wonderful oppor- tunity for the rest of the class to independently practice and improve other academic skills. To help teachers utilize this time fully, Debbie Diller developed the “literacy work station”. This work station creates a place where students work alone or with one another to explore and practice reading skills.


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VERY DAY, TEACHERS TRY to tackle the problem of having to fit too much learning into too little time. After trying many different ways to solve this prob-


Building upon the effectiveness of the “literacy work


station”, science work stations set up areas in the classroom where students can use instructional materials to explore and practice science concepts. These work stations allow students to build on their environmental knowledge and expand core science skills, while other students are in their reading groups. Each work station focuses on a key skill required by all successful scientists, including measuring, observing, drawing, and researching. Through these science work stations, students remain engaged during small group reading instruction while giving instructional time to impor- tant science objectives.


The Observation Work Station


Observing the natural world over time helps young scientists become more attuned to recognizing important details and recording them in an organized way. By studying an animal, students can learn to chronicle information about how the animal changes, as well as practice their drawing and writ- ing skills.


GREEN TEACHER 91


Photographs: Natalie Stern


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