(August 29, 2012) Visual development in math and science requires students to interpret all types of information from images, charts, graphs, pictures and scenes. Students who also are learning English depend on their visual knowledge to understand math and science concepts. IDRA education associates, Paula Martin Johnson, M.A., and Veronica Betancourt, M.A.,continue our series of conversations on seven research-based strategies IDRA has developed for delivering instruction differently for secondary students. In this episode, Paula and Veronica focus on Strategy #4: Scaffold and spiral language and science instruction for increased comprehension and literacy development. They describe how teachers can use visual tools to assess students’ background knowledge and cultural influences to help students connect to the language of the lesson. In the process, teachers can observe how students use content-related language in peer interactions. Paula and Veronica are interviewed by Bradley Scott, Ph.D., director of the IDRA South Central Collaborative for Equity. Send comments to
. Sign up to receive free e-mail notices when new episodes are available.
IDRA’s professional development that provides teachers with scientifically-based strategies to teach initiative scientific concepts, critical-thinking skills, problem-solving abilities and processes.
* Veronica discusses the importance of using visuals in the classroom as a platform for learning rather than just as a point of reference.
* Paula explains how visual tools help teachers assess what students already know, what their previous knowledge about the content is, and what vocabulary are they using. It lays a foundation for the teacher’s next steps.
* Veronica adds that teachers can use visual representations as part of assessments to tap into students’ own cultural experiences, so that they feel more connected to the learning. Veronica also outlines the “pass along” strategy, which is a modified “think-pair-share” strategy.
* Paula explains the role of interactive student notebooks in the classroom and how they combine linguistic and visual content.
* Veronica emphasizes that the notebooks are designed for students to be engaged in their learning, not just for storing information. In the process, the students, including English learners, strengthen both their academic language and the social language of their peers.
* Paula also notes that intentional student interaction includes reflection and peer-sharing, and leads to more critical and higher-order thinking.
* Veronica and Paula offer their closing thoughts.
Listen to every episode!
To ensure you don't miss a single episode of IDRA Classnotes, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes, (download iTunes free if you don’t have it) or sign up to receive an e-mail alert as soon as a new show is published.