Teachers Thoughts On How to Use the Program
Patti Kirsch is a science teacher who has been using MEG and the Adopt-An-Author Program since 1999. The book has become the most popular part of her curriculum. We asked her to share her secrets for success:
- Why should teachers use MEG? I found the book to be a perfect blend of scientific concepts, particularly as a segue from geologic time/geology to oceanography. While hitting key reading focus strategies, the book is a fun method to stay within the scope and sequence topics.
- How do you implement the program? I begin generating excitement the first week. I identify the novel as a tool we will use to explore science concepts. I remind students that they will need to purchase a copy of the book (prior to our start date, right after Thanksgiving). I download vocabulary, questions, essay topics and other ideas from the www.AdoptAnAuthor.com website. Further, I add a few days discussing prehistoric sharks. We do a shark tooth lab, shark research (migrations and some of the University of Florida data regarding shark attacks). I read in class, as the kids read, looking for science concepts relative to the class I am working with. (ocean floor features, differences between Atlantic and Pacific ocean floors, vents, trenches, layers of the ocean water, basic food chains, ocean currents, etc.) I also read to find “science fiction” concepts, and teach them as “non-examples”. I find a bookmark really helps kids to stay on task, as they are aware of the required reading pages each day in class, and are able to finish at home. I assess students using a variety of essay questions, M/C and a time-line (storyboard). I add the science concepts discussed in class to the assessments.
- How does your unit break down? We read in class, 3 times a week for three weeks, plus assigned reading over the weekend. Rarely do kids fall behind, most of them read ahead; but I ask that in class, as we were supposed to ALL be on page 100, we all jump to page 100, even if you forgot to catch up on your own. Usually, a brief discussion about “what has happened so far” is all kids need to be brought up to date.
- Anything else that might help? Discovery Channel has a series of shark movies. Shark research activities include cool “mysteries” solved when the contents of a shark’s stomach were presented as evidence….there are several of these stories online. I have the kids note, as they read, any vocab or science terms/concepts, acronyms, etc. for class discussion. I also use a poster activity to help kids draw what they “see” in a descriptive portion of the book. It’s fun to see how differently we envision a portion of the plot of the story. And I also offer extra credit if the students contact the author (Steve Alten) by e-mail.