Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Classroom Robotics Blog is the Perfect Resource to Support Student Success with Common Core Standards” Says Literacy Expert

“Classroom Robotics Blog is the Perfect Informational Text Resource to Support Student Success with Common Core Social Studies and Science Standards”

                               Dr. Rose Reissman

Prompting Classroom Collaboration, Comprehension, and Text-Based Tasks: One Blog Post at a Time

Brooklyn – April 24, 2013

It was a delight to find Classroom Robotics Blog, a fascinating and compelling resource for educating today’s students. This blog is rich in content, from the social issues associated with today’s science and technology to news about advances in robotics. It has much to offer kids and the adults who work with them.

As a literacy expert who is teaching Title 1 middle school students in New York City, and who does CCSS (Common Core State Standards) alignments for schools and cultural organizations, I was especially impressed by the captivating student prompts that the blog provides with the stories and videos it runs.

Now that 46 states have embraced the Common Core ELA, Social Studies, and Science literacy strand, which stresses a balance of literature and informational content in reading, as well as requiring students to do short research projects, this blog’s informational text summaries, which are gleaned from authentic science and technology online research sources, offer student readers highly accessible informational text content. These articles, along with the engaging robot themed videos, can engage a broad spectrum of students, including ESL and Special Needs, as well as and Gifted and Talented learners, in analyzing cutting edge technology advances and their impact. In view of the Common Core requirements, and beyond, this is a great way to bridge from informational science fact to science fiction and back again.

The rich combination of You Tube videos, plus summaries of complex informational texts and prompts that the blog provides can be answered by students as evidence grounded arguments with claims supported by texts. This nicely authenticates multi-content Common Core (Social Studies and Science) standards in Writing.

As a teacher of middle school English Language Arts, working with a range of ESL, Newcomer, Special Needs, Gifted, and On Grade Level students , I was, just today, able to use the this blog’s content to scaffold questioning and engage students in a speaking and listening, collaborative discussion about the efficacy of a hair washing robot. The range of student responses using the prompts provided by the blog about advantages and potential problems of this example of robotics technology, allowed for a sustained classroom conversation. The resulting initial student responses allowed me to suggest additional research from literary and informational resources to provide evidence for or against the students' initial opinions/points of view.

In terms of language standards, by the nature of the texts that are summed up on the blog, the students are not only introduced to a sizable compendium of academic vocabulary they can use in other writing and speaking contexts; but also to science, technology, and mathematics/engineering vocabulary that is nuanced and special domain specific. This growing use of STEM words supports student ownership of these words in their blog responses, plus enhances their STEM informational and academic vocabulary.
What a joyous, robot-driven, high interest resource this blog is!! I highly recommend colleagues make use of it. It is a complex and captivating STEM rich experience for all CCSS literacy strand teachers and everyone fascinated by robots. The student reactions to it will be unique and inspiring!


Dr. Rose Reissman

Dr. Rose Reissman is the founder and director of the Writing Institute Program at Ditmas IS 62 Brooklyn. This program has been replicated in 118 schools throughout the US. She is an English Language Arts educator whose projects with students include books, podcasts, school-based museums, and scripts as well as student leadership efforts. She is the author of many books and articles.

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