Did They Really Read It?


In this video, columnist Jared Mader shares information from the Science 2.0 column, “Did They Really Read It?” that appeared in a recent issue of The Science Teacher. Read the article here.


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6 Responses to Did They Really Read It?

  1. Awttan Ismail says:

    What an awesome article! As a first grade teacher, it is very difficult to give my students an opportunity to read science materials on their own. It is difficult because I am not sure if they are really reading the materials provided. After reviewing this article, I will definitely incorporate the resources provided by Ben Smith and Jared Mader. I love the actively learn resource because it includes all grade levels and free materials that can be used on different technologies in the classroom. It gives students an opportunity to utilize technologies like computers and tablets to read materials that are specific to the subjects or topics being taught in science. I love that students are unable to move on until they answer the questions provided in the content bubble. These questions are used to make sure the students are grasping the concepts they are reading. The questions also hold the students accountable for their reading. I will definitely incorporate these resources into my classroom as a learning station.

  2. Katie Hirschinger says:

    This article was a great read and this video is a great visual of what was presented. It is an all too common issue that teachers run into questions of comprehension. The two suggested technologies, Actively Learn and EDPuzzle, are great technologies to incorporate to help with questionable comprehension. I really like that these programs give the students the ability to work at their own pace and that teachers can still have some control. Since I typically work in class where students have lower reading level, I really like that EDPuzzle has videos for the students to watch and show their understanding of the topic. They can show comprehension and I do not have stand over them to help the whole time. It is, also, really appealing that the teacher can control the student’s ability to move forward by answering a question or two first. This enforces that they actually have to pay attention to what they are doing. These are definitely something to incorporate into stations in my classroom.

  3. Jessica Sullivan says:

    This is a fantastic post! It is always difficult to know if students are reading the required science material, let alone truly grasping the important ideas from the reading. I especially appreciate the idea of incorporating Actively Learn into classroom activities. It is obvious that this would be an extremely useful formative assessment. I like that there is such a huge library of resources available at a variety of grade and learning levels. Requiring students to answer the response questions before moving on ensures that they are reading and understanding the ideas. The fact that students can work at their own pace would make this a perfect learning center tool in my classroom. EDpuzzle is another tool described that would be of great use in my classroom. I can imagine being able to easily differentiate the activities so that a wide variety of learners could complete the assignments meaningfully and not just skip through the videos. Also, I see both of these as great enrichment activities. I always have students who finish assignments quickly and I always have additional activities available, but both Actively Learn and EDpuzzle would be more engaging and challenging for my advanced students.

  4. Brenda Wasilewski says:

    I often ask my self the same questions…”Did they really read it?”. In my classroom of third grade, I have a wide level of reading skills. I often wonder if the students are actually comprehending the article or story that I have them read. We discuss it, but as you said, I can’t call on everyone to check their comprehension. Your video explaining both Actively Learn and Edpuzzle was a fantastic introduction of these resources. I can see using both in my classroom especially in science. One of my units I teach is Animal Adaptations. Using Edpuzzle to allow students to watch videos about animal behaviors then answer questions regarding the content of the video. I love that students can go at their own pace. Actively Learn will also provide a self guided assignment for students that I can check in on each of my students. Students always seem to be more engaged when using technology in the classroom. I find it overwhelming at times to figure out the best way and most productive way to fit the technology with my lessons. Both of these resources provide enrichment opportunities for higher level students as well as remediation for the lower level students. These resources will be a great addition to any lesson at any grade level.

  5. Stephanie Guild says:

    One area in science education that has gained my interest is the importance of and development of student conceptual understanding. This is currently my third year teaching fourth grade. During my years of teaching I have observed that students struggle with comprehending non-fictional text, understanding academic vocabulary, and applying critical thinking skills. With the development of the NGSS and reform of standardized tests, students are being held at a higher standard. Students are expected to develop an in-depth understanding of content and key skills such as how they think about, question, and communicate with the world. Unfortunately, this is something they struggle with.
    I am new to Actively Learn and EDPuzzle, but find them both to be engaging, useful tools that help students think deeply and support their thinking. I hope to use them in the near future! One of the things I love about the two technologies is that they both hold the students accountable for their learning, which I think is ultimately what students need to happen in order to gain conceptual understanding. Just as Jared Mader mentioned in the video, when you assign a reading, how do you know they are really reading it to learn? Are they just reading the words on the page because they have to, or are they reading to understand? With Actively Learn, it forces students to stop and reflect on what they’ve read by answering embedded questions. They cannot move on with the reading until they complete the questions.
    I’ve observed my students doing the same thing. They don’t read to understand. Most just read the words on the page because they have to. It’s difficult as it is, coming into fourth grade, the students are no longer learning HOW to read. Now they are reading to LEARN. So, finding ways to motivate students and make them accountable for what they’re reading is very important.
    I am currently looking into experimenting with a strategy that is similar to the idea of Actively Learn, and that is reflective journaling. Every day in science I’m going to have the students write in their journal. They will reflect upon their vocabulary before they read, making connections and predictions, and then once at the end after they have read. At the end of the lesson the students will also be required to answer open-ended questions related to what they have read and/or learned. This may also include their “take-away,” describing newly made connections or questions they still have. Students will then communicate their responses within a small group. The purpose of the journal writing, like Actively Learn, is to not only make the students accountable for paying attention to what they’re reading and learning in class, but to also help them think critically about the content and improve understanding. Also, just like Actively Learn provides teachers a quick way to formally assess students, journaling is a quick and easy way to assess student understanding as well.
    Overall, two really great ways to incorporate technology and promote student learning!

  6. Amy Jeffcoat says:

    As a fifth grade teacher who is frustrated with my district’s current science text book and resources, I am always happy to find something new to incorporate into my classroom that will engage my students. Many of my students struggle to comprehend Science or Social Studies material. Often, the struggle is due to the text being above their reading level.
    We have flexible groupings for ELA, but the students are intermixed for Math, Science, and Social Studies. I feel confident that the use of Actively Learn will draw my students in to our lessons and lead to more engaging class discussions. The ability to add questions throughout the text will force the students to periodically pause, process, and connect with what they are reading. I love the “define” feature that enables students to further understand the text. Often, I’ll have students make a list of words they didn’t understand while reading, but this will provide a much more seamless reading experience with the assistance right at their fingertips.
    Additionally, the “Grading” feature will allow me to easily evaluate my students’ responses to the imbedded questions. I’ve already created an account and started looking though the large selection of materials! Thank you for sharing this wonderful resource!

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