Your wish is my command (word)

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Science literacy placemats

Whilst focussing on literacy in science this year, one of the big problems the kids seemed to have was knowing what the question was actually asking for. They may have had a really good understanding of the science, but just didn’t understand the command words. One of my constants in class is the development of independent learners, so I needed a resource that they could turn to that would guide them whilst still requiring them to do the work. Enter the literacy placemat. 

It’s not an original idea I know, there are plenty of similar resources about, but I wanted to bring all the elements I find useful together in one place. 

Laminated and ready to rock

The central focus was the command words, with the obvious addition of connectives and punctuation prompts. I also took the chance to include the Point, Evidence, Explain structure we use for writing conclusions, along with the SOLO taxonomy to get pupils thinking about how they improve their answers. The mats were printed up on A3, laminated and added to my resource table at the front of the class. 

Breaking out the mats in class

The first time the mats were used was during some QWC work. After discussing a couple of questions, I suggested the kids used a mat to help construct their answers. The command word section saw the most interest, but the group were high ability types so didn’t need as much help connective wise. 
 
The next time I used the mats was with a lower ability group during coursework. After talking about the marks that came from the quality of their writing for a bit, they got stuck in. I was made up to hear the conversations about their work. They were actively trying to use different connectives to each other and avoid repetition in their writing. Good job kids!
 
The mats are still getting a lot of use and best of all it’s usually a case of “sir, can I get one of those writing things?” rather than me suggesting it in the first place. 
 
Get a copy of the mat here Science literacy placemat.pdf
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