Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Buehl Post #1

Ch1: This chapter got me thinking about how and what I read more often than not.  Aside from the texts I read for classes, I tend to read fiction (especially historical fiction) and news articles.  Even when I read academic articles, I find it easiest to read them when they are written as though the author understands he or she is telling a story.  In addition, the zone of proximal development model gave me some ideas for helping my students learn to read advanced science texts.  The two best ideas I had, I think, are: 1) having a journal club once every other week or so, where we go through a journal article relevant to what we are covering in class.  The first few times, we would do it as a class with me leading the process, but eventually, students would start leading the discussions as I take some steps back.  And, 2) having students look up science in the news and having them analyze the news article and compare it to the original study.  Obviously, these ideas are not mutually exclusive.

Ch2: Now that the idea for the journal club was in my head, I couldn’t help but read this chapter through that lens.  Also, I kept thinking back to the history of science assignment and my own experiences beginning reading complex text in biology for labs.  I began to convince myself that this could be a promising way to drill a number of topics and skills into my students’ heads, including the scientific method, making logical arguments, and condensing thoughts, among others.  However, the first few times would take a while because of just how dense the material in the articles tends to be.  I think this, admittedly major, obstacle could be overcome with patience and modeling.


  1. I think your idea of a journal club is great; I think that properly scaffolding the process would be challenging indeed, especially when you will have students at various levels of literacy (including ELL students). Perhaps one could allow students to exercise some choice on what they choose to read - whether it be an article from a science magazine or a scientific paper - and build on students' interests. Providing students with choices may increase motivation, a necessary component in tackling complex texts.

  2. I also agree that allowing students to explore scientific publications and present on them could be really cool. Obviously, there would need to be guidance and some clarifications as no doubt some of the concepts explored would be outside the scope of the class. In my research lab, we have weekly presentations by two of the researchers, then the following week, they email a journal publication then talk about it at the end of the next presentation set. I think combining the skills of presenting their own data as well as interpreting and presenting the data of others is definitely worthy of further exploration.