Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Arctic Study

Have you ever had just one of those days? Today was one for me. From beginning to end, it was just one of THOSE DAYS! However, I'm now sitting on my couch by myself with a fire in the fireplace (that my sweet husband built for me before he left for work), watching reruns of Duck Dynasty on the t.v. LOVE LOVE LOVE this show! I can't get enough.

Anyways, I wanted to give you an update on our arctic animals/nonfiction study. Everything is blending beautifully. We are getting a lot of discussion for life science while throwing in some nonfiction text features. Here is what it looks like:

I've been starting the lesson by doing a quick intro of the animal we are talking about. I will give them some facts, figure out what they think about the animal, etc. Today we talked about killer whales, so I showed a short 5 minute video from Discovery Education showing how the killer whale hunts for a seal. This led into a lot of discussion! Then we head over to National Geographic Kids and read about the animal. We have been filling out worksheets from my Arctic Animals packet. Here is what yesterday looked like when we talked about Walruses.

They take a short quiz over what we talked about (must get those grades!), and then we move into nonfiction text features. I made a booklet from the Snow Business packet I told you about by Amanda Nickerson (I have a link to this in a post below).  We talk about the feature, add it to an anchor chart, look at some examples, and then I have the students write the definition of the feature in their booklet.

Here is the poster from Amanda's unit (sorry for the glare from the laminate). 

This is the booklet they have. We discuss as a class what we want the definition to be after I show them several examples. 

I made a quick bulletin board for our study. It's not my best work, but it will do! 

NOW it's time to actually create the nonfiction feature. I'm a big fan of having students DO what I want them to learn. I have been using pages from Deanna Jump's arctic animals packet. I picked through the pages and made a walrus booklet that will cover a few of the features.

On the first day, we talked about table of contents, so my students made a table of contents for their booklet. It was pretty basic, and we left a few lines blank so we could add to it if we needed to.

Today we talked about captions, so they added pictures with captions to the book (all of these pages are included in Deanna's packet). I will have to take more pictures tomorrow to show you how awesome the booklets are turning out! I highly recommend this packet from Deanna (you can also find the link in a post below).

So that's pretty much it! They are really having fun with the unit, and I'm confident these concepts are sticking!  I hope this helps anyone who is struggling with nonfiction and how to get started:)

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