Saturday, April 17, 2010

Having Fun with Water Conservation, a.k.a. Using the Standards Suggestion Tool on The Gateway!

Do you want to do a water conservation activity in your class for Earth Day, but you are scrambling to make sure you cover all the mandated standards by the end of the school year? With standardized testing taking place in many of our schools right now, it’s the perfect time to introduce activities that break the monotony, especially if those activities are easily aligned to our state standards. Try our new tool on The Gateway this week so you can do both. When you find a resource you want to use in your class, you can get state standard suggestions for this resource using CNLP's Content Assignment Tool (CAT) and JES & Co.'s Achievement Standards Network (ASN). This tool will suggest which of your state standards are aligned to the resource you plan on using in your class.

To illustrate this tool, let’s say I am an eighth grade science teacher in Arizona. I search “water conservation” on The Gateway to find resources I think will work well in my class. I find one I really like, called “Down the Drain,” a collaborative internet project about water usage. It is an inquiry-based activity that allows students to compare their own weekly household water usage to the water usage of students from many different areas. I think the activity sounds wonderful and I hope it will be very effective with my students. I need to figure out how it works into my standards-based teaching, though.

In my search results list on The Gateway, I simply click the “View, Share, Comment” button next to the resource I am interested in to get to the full record. Follow this link to see the full record view of “Down the Drain” and try out the tool for yourself. Once you are viewing the full record of the resource, scroll to the bottom to find the standard suggestion tool. Choose your Jurisdiction, Subject, and Grades to find the standards you will be covering with your chosen resource. It’s that easy!

Two inquiry process standards match for my grade band in Arizona. I need to include more inquiry-based lessons in my class, and this one looks like a great fit for my science classroom. To truly see the scope of how this tool can work for us as teachers, I used the tool with this particular lesson to search a huge variety of subjects and states. This resource can be aligned with many different subjects in many different states. It covers a wide range of standards from reading comprehension in New Hampshire to data analysis in Florida. How do you think it can work for you?

I found many more resources on The Gateway that relate to the theme of water conservation. These are in addition to the resources in Joann’s Picks this week. Check them out to see if one will work for you. Use the suggest standards tool to discover how your chosen resources will work with your standards-based teaching. Please take the short survey at the end to let Gateway administrators know how well it works for you.

The following is a small sample of water conservation resources I found in my search. If you are looking for some Earth Day resources, start with this list and use the tool to see which of your state standards you can cover while you teach your students some important information about the planet.

Primary students will have fun with this Happy Earth Day coloring book from the EPA. It’s a fun way for teachers to introduce the idea of environmental stewardship to their young students. Teachers who are looking for more inquiry-based project learning in their classrooms might really like Flushing Away our Future from project S.W.I.S.H. (Student Water Investigators Showing How). It allows students to investigate real-life issues on their own. Sometimes, we might not comprehend how much water we use in everyday activities. Bucket Brigade gives students a hand’s on way to visualize this use, and I’m Warm Now helps them understand the amount of fresh water that is wasted while we wait for the shower to get warm.

Happy Earth Day. Let’s teach our students to conserve water this week. Have fun with the Standards Suggestion tool on The Gateway, and please let us know how it works for you!

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