This week we started our rainforest unit. Automatically the children are engaged in lessons because of the wonder of all the animals and plants that live there. Our focus standard for this week is K.W.7. In kid language – it is “I can research about a topic”.
Every week we “unpack” a math and a language arts standard for the week. I already have the standard written in kid language – leaving the important vocabulary that they need to know (such as research and topic). We discussed what research means and how we do research. We also discussed what topic means. I am fortunate enough to have a class of investigators who ask questions all of the time. This focus standard is a natural fit for them.
Through our shared reading time and unit time this week we explored the topic of rainforests. Any time we read a book, listened to a song, watched a video clip, or researched on our iPads I reminded them we were researching. We compiled a list of rainforest facts to use as jumping off points for our writing projects. We discussed earlier in the week about how researchers ask questions and usually write down the answers they find. In our journal center all week, we have been writing about what it might be like to go to the rainforest. What might we see? What might we do? The journal entries became like first drafts for the book they began creating on their iPads yesterday. The students were able to choose what about the rainforest they wanted to research and learn more about. Some students chose plants, others animals, even one explored the effects of deforestation.
As 21st century learners, our students are used to various modes of learning. It is important to embrace many styles to address learners of all styles. We use music, graphics, books, Brainpop clips, Magic School Bus, Google – – you name it. And through all of these modes, my students are becoming researchers. They are seeing that even with the technology we have – more “traditional” modes are still helpful and useful when we are looking for answers.
Using our class generated list (correct spelling is important to Google)
Beautiful rainforest books