Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Habitats

Doing my first research project with my firsties has taught me what works well and areas that I can improve upon for next year!  I have recently been drawn to open-ended anticipatory sets to hook my kids into a new unit.  I gave each student an image of an animal and then placed the habitats around the room and let them go!  When given the freedom, the discourse between the students is so much better than a teacher centered instruction method.
As an intro to the six habitats we did a fun printable: Which Habitat Am I?
After that I paired the kids with a higher ability and a lower ability.  TIP: My most struggling students also received assistance with myself during our small group time.  I then let the partners choose which habitat they would like to learn about; making sure all six were covered.  The partners read their informational text and answered the question sheets independently.
We took this VERY slow and if any group got behind we did not move on.  After all groups had a good understanding of their habitat's basic characteristic we moved on to note taking.  Once again this process was taken VERY slow and was modeled so the kids understood the difference between notes and sentences.  The most struggling students received extra assistance in a small group here and throughout writing the research paper.  I asked them to write at least two sentences for each section; weather, animals, and plants.
I provided the students with black line images of animals found in their habitat to illustrate the cover of their research paper.  The final products were shared with a pair and share method!

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