Name of Strategy: I'm Curious

  • Rationale:
• Students are often bored with the same old ways that school is done—worksheets, boring textbooks, etc. When I am really excited about a topic, I want to convey that excitement to my students. I am really excited about teaching my students about this remarkable planet we live on, so I wanted a way to engage and interest them from the very beginning. Rather than diving right into the science text book, I showed them several video clips and asked them what they thought all of these clips had in common and what did they think we were going to be studying.
  • Courses in which it could be implemented:
• I’m Curious is another strategy that could be used in almost any subject area.
• In Social Studies, I may show several photographs or show a digital story of the Oregon Trail or of people at Ellis Island with the quote on the Statue of Liberty—“Give me your tired…”
• In Math, I could show students a variety of different shapes to get them thinking about geometry. Or I could show them statistics from a sport to talk about probability.
  • Diverse learners:
• I’m Curious is a strategy that appeals to visual learners. They see visually interesting subjects and this sparks their curiosity. Also, if technology is used in some way—i.e. videos, slideshows, or digital stories—students are more interested and engaged because it is not a “boring” textbook.
  • Procedure:
1. Introduce the topic. I ask my students the following questions before moving to step 2—“What do the following things have in common? What do you think you will be learning about?”
2. On the SMARTBoard, I had a link to several video clips on the National Geographic website. These clips were of volcanoes and earthquakes. I showed the clips to the class.
3. When the clips were done, I asked the students to work with the person sitting next to them to write three statements starting with the phrase “I’m curious…”. I also had them write what they thought these clips had in common.
4. We discussed as a class what we were curious about. These became the avenues of study for the unit on rocks, the rock cycle, and Earth’s processes.
  • Potential Issues:
• I did not have any issues other than overly excited children who wanted to share all at once. This was taken care of by pulling sticks with the students’ names on them and allowing each student to share one thing they were curious about the topic.
  • References
Stephens, E. & Brown, J. (2005). A Handbook of Content Literacy Strategies: 125 Practical Reading and Writing Ideas.
Norwood: Christopher-GordonPublishers, Inc.

  • Resources
http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/player/environment/environment-natural-disasters/volcanoes/