How do you get students to understand the importance of comprehension? The thing is, I push my classes all year to think on a higher level, to dig deeper into the text, to read every word for its meaning and purpose in the text, and to push themselves to give 100%, and then give a little more. I teach my classes about the importance of learning to read; more importantly that we read to learn. I want my students to understand that what we do has a purpose. In our reading class we aren’t just reading passages to answer questions. We are answering questions about the passage as a means of becoming more text dependent, leading to a higher level of understanding while we read. I want my students to understand that their future as a successful adult, in whatever career they choose, depends on the ability to comprehend and analyze, whether it’s text or media. Along with that, I want my students to be able to work successfully with a team, to think creatively, to learn how to improve upon mistakes, and to be reflective. We teachers do so much! What we do in our classroom everyday is the key. For that reason, the learning tasks we assign to our students everyday matters!
At the beginning of this school year my administrator sent out a question about how we could incorporate more STEAM into the classroom, along with how we can meet the needs of our TAG students. Many of us reading teachers had a hard time finding ideas on the web that incorporated our reading instructional needs with STEAM activities. This was especially true for those of us in upper elementary grades. Around December it hit me, STEAM projects could and should be research-based. My students read informational text almost every day. Why not assign that text for a specific purpose?! My idea was to mix Maker Space, STEAM, and Project-Based learning ideas with the reading that my students do on a daily basis for their skill practice assignments. It was May before I finally had what I wanted.
My students loved this! It’s simple and works with ANY STEAM project. You just assign the task journal through your Google Classroom, or print it and make some minor adjustments to how your students complete the journal (the instructions are for digital completion). Next you assign the research reading and set a time frame for your students to complete. Then introduce your STEAM project challenge and the rest of the task journal and watch your students’ learning, critical analysis, problem solving skills and engagement soar. To get a copy click here.