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Classroom Resources

Using the Site with Less-Skilled Readers

Reading Strategies for each Interactive

Key Reading Strategies in Science

by Suzanne Clewell, Ph.D.
and Joseph G. Czarnecki, Ph.D

Meal Deal
H2 Oh No!
Here There be Monsters
Chesapeake Champs
Cinema Bayville

BAYQUEST —  Word Sorts

In this interactive, students learn about the Bay plants and animals by clicking on the plant or animal in the Bay visual or by hearing experts give facts about the creatures.  Consider helping students categorize and classify the profiles of Bay plants and animals they have collected in different areas of the Bay. Have students sort their five plants/animals on their PDAs or index cards by using one of these categories provided on the fact sheets: where they are found, what they are, or how they behave.  The goal is for students to find common features by examining the notes they have taken about their living creatures.  Students may then share their Word Sorts with partners or a small group and refine the similarities and differences among the organisms they have explored.  When students have an opportunity to discuss the vocabulary, they are actively constructing meaning for the new concepts they found in the ecosystems.  


Fish Arthropods Insects
  • bull sharks
  • menhaden
  • hermit crabs
  • oyster drills
  • mosquito

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MEAL DEAL —  Cause/Effect Graphic Organizer

Visual displays, such as graphic organizers, aid students in learning important information during their reading.  Displays help to build connections for students to encourage meaningful learning. In this interactive, students play the Meal Deal game by matching prey/predator or producer/consumer pairs in the basic or advanced level of the game. As students use their PDAs or note-taking cards, support students’ comprehension with this cause/effect graphic organizer.  Students may duplicate the organizer for as many examples as they can find.  Upon completion, discuss the information students created in their displays to reinforce the food chain principle in the Chesapeake Bay.


Cause and effect graphic organizer

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1. Synthesizing

In this interactive, students have listened to the radio show or read the opinion articles about the Mega Mall story. They may have taken notes on a graphic organizer. To help students synthesize information before submitting their persuasive report to the PROduction Company, have students examine their PRO and CON notes and think about their own position on building a Mega Mall.    Model the thinking required to combine notes and eliminate details and to create the final report:


  • Smoke exhaust –Dwight River polluted
  • Parks being destroyed
  • Overgrown algae from excessive bacteria in water

Final Report:
The Mega Mall development threatens Bayville because of pollution in the Dwight River caused by the run-off of water with toxic fumes from cars and the build-up of bacteria that threatens the fish who eat the algae.  Furthermore, our parks would be destroyed as construction takes away the trees and environment……..

Help students to pay attention to:  (1) identifying their position and fully supporting it with the notes they have taken,  (2)making sure the writing is organized, and (3) concluding the report with their position  about the Mega Mall and whether to include it in the mini-series.   

2. Think Sheet

A prereading, guided reading, and postreading activity for the water cycle interactive is a think sheet.  With this interactive, students learn about phases of the water cycle by matching different parts of the picture to the phases of the water cycle. The think sheet graphic organizer will help students to contrast their prior knowledge with the information presented in the water cycle visual.


What are the phases of the water cycle?



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BAYLAB — Text Structure

In this interactive, the content is organized into two similar text structures – problem/solution (Bay grasses are disappearing and that is causing problems with the ”health” of the Bay) and cause/effect (what are the causes of the negative effects the Bay has experienced).  If students are told that the content is arranged in those ways or if students could be asked how do they think the text is organized, then the text structure can be a powerful way to set a purpose for reading, guide reading toward that purpose, and serve as a framework for an after reading discussion or assignment. Graphic organizers such as this one can be introduced before reading, used by students when reading, and referred to after reading.

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During the town hall meeting, students will be exposed to many townspeople, each of whom provides a considerable amount of information with their opinions.  To help students process all of this information, the teacher could initiate a group activity where students assume the role of a townsperson and state their beliefs and supporting reasons.  Seven students would be asked to select a particular townsperson and read the information with the purpose of role-playing that individual to the class.  Each role-playing student would be asked to paraphrase the information.  Students could also select a tone/attitude when role-playing.  Other students can listen to the “townspeople” and decide on the veracity or persuasive aspects of each person’s claim.   This activity could precede the writing of the final report that the student submits to the PROduction Company.

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CHESAPEAKE CHAMPS — Developing and Using Criteria

This interactive contains four video clips.  The task is to choose one and provide a rational for the choice.  To support students, the teacher could lead a discussion about what criteria would lead a viewer to select a particular one for the PROduction Company’s use.  The criteria could be recorded on a chart to be used as a purpose for viewing and to guide a discussion after viewing.  For additional support, the teacher could use a think-aloud to model how to generate criteria.  Another option would be to have the students, after seeing at least two videos, inductively generate a list of evaluative criteria to use when selecting the stories to be included.

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CINEMA BAYVILLE — Purpose for Viewing

This interactive invites students to view a wide selection of video clips.  Each clip is preceded by an introduction that suggests a purpose for viewing via a statement or question. The teacher could suggest that students individually, in pairs, or teams select videos to view.  Since there are four categories of videos, four teams may work well.  Their purpose for viewing would be to decide to what extent the video met its stated or implied purpose.  The teacher could view one or more videos with the class to model how to evaluate whether a video appeared to meet its purpose.  The teacher could suggest variables such as content, use of images, and aspects of the narration (enthusiasm, tone, etc.).  After viewing, the teams could share their evaluations. Based on the evaluations, the class can rate which of the four categories had the best videos (ones that best met the criteria).

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