Paula Opp's Reflection

Discipline: Science
Unit of Study: Feature Article 

As I began looking for my feature articles, I thought about possible topics that would interest my students. I chose topics addressing alternative energy resources and other ways of changing the world. I want my students to know what researchers are writing about alternative energy choices and actions put into place globally. I also wanted them to see changes closer to home. I selected a variety of articles for them to read.

I also researched what components are needed to write a good feature article. Feature articles are most often written in the narrative, but can also be written in chronological order. The opening “hook”, or attention grabber, is often repeated as a transition throughout the writing. The paragraphs are shorter with a variety of sentence lengths so that it will keep the reader’s attention.  

While the writing should “paint a picture” with words, it should have fewer adjectives, but stronger nouns and verbs. It might also use humor, anecdotes and quotes to get a point across. A feature article is usually between 500-750 words, so it is not too long but not too short.      

I chose to give the students the topic of CHANGES. I am really excited to see what they will write about after reading all of the articles. They will have to choose what they will change. They can choose something they can do now or something they saw for the future, but something that would bring around change.       

I wrote about how one person can create change. I thought about simple things that one person can do to make their community a better place. I gave students small ideas that they, as 5th graders, can do.           

While I am excited about introducing more writing into my teaching, what steps will I need to take to make sure that the students are reading and comprehending to featured readings? I need for my students to read to understand as well as to write to expand that understanding. I would like to include group reading of the articles to make sure that students are getting the main ideas of the reading before allowing them to look for how the articles are written.

I really look forward to using what I have learned from this course in my classroom. Bringing more individual writing into my science class has always been a goal. I am hoping that by having my students do more daily journal writing as well as including the unit study assignments, they will have a higher level of understanding and be able apply these skills to real life situations.