Friday, January 30, 2015

Talking about the Weather

Having just dealt with a tremendous blizzard, I am going to be a stereotypical New Englander and talk about the weather. Again. Weather is a topic that naturally lends itself to eliciting language in our students as well. Not only does this topic pop up repeatedly in science curricula across the grade levels, making it relevant to the Educationally Relevant "E" in The FIVES Criteria, but discussing it requires a number of language skills:

Sequencing-seasons, processes
Categorization-seasons, months, precipitation
Schematizing/"Main idea and details"-describing a particular day's weather involves attention to features such as temperature, wind, cloud cover, and precipitation
Stating Cause-Effect- within weather processes and explaining why certain clothing would be worn in certain weather conditions.

A great context for eliciting and working with language around weather was released recently in MarcoPolo Weather (Free). MarcoPolo Weather is a "sandbox" app allowing open-ended play by bringing characters, setting elements, clothing and weather conditions together and observing the effects. MarcoPolo has here continued their commitment to developing apps that address Science, Technology, Math and Engineering (STEM) skills (also found in the MarcoPolo Ocean app), including, according to the app description:

-Observe and describe different weather conditions including temperature, cloud cover, and precipitation
-Identify ways in which weather affects daily routines, such as dress and activities
-Determine how weather affects the natural landscape
-Learn about the water cycle and how clouds are formed

Check out the video below to see how MarcoPolo Weather works. It's a ton of fun!

MarcoPolo Weather would facilitate a natural language connection to
-a concept map or graphic organizer about weather conditions
-sentence strips or other print contexts to construct causal sentences about observations in the app
-picture books dealing with the weather
-creating a weather journal with Evernote by stepping outside, snapping pictures, and consulting the Weather app for data


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