Examining Teacher Actions Supportive of Cross-Disciplinary Science and Literacy Development among Elementary Students

Lori A. Norton-Meier, Brian Hand, Yuliya Ardasheva
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The purpose of this study was to identify and describe teaching actionsâ"embedded in the Science Writing Heuristic approach, a systematic teaching approach that integrates literacy instruction and argument-based inquiry learning of scienceâ"supportive of the cross-disciplinary literacy expectations necessary to compete in the 21st century. This article reports on qualitative findings from a mixed method longitudinal study conducted with 32 elementary teachers and over 700 students. The analysis of multiple layers of data identified two essential teaching action categories supportive of cross-disciplinary literacy skills development among students: (a) building an inquiry-based literacy community of social learning and (b) purpose setting, with a gradual shift of responsibility from the teacher to the student. A model is presented that emerged from the data and visually illustrates how teachers and students explore the purpose, function, mode, and audience within critical science-literacy events while engaging in science content learning.


ntegrated science and literacy instruction, Inquiry learning, Science writing heuristic

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