Sunday, March 25, 2012

Habitat Introduction - 2nd Grade

I was lesson planning with the teacher in the second grade class I talked about in the last post (she was introducing habitats to her students). She was looking for some ideas so I taught her a song I learned from a training and we worked out a foldable her students could do. I liked that she had them write full sentences in the top flap of the foldable and they had to pick and justify one of the habitat requirements.

I also did the same song with hand gestures in my fourth grade class in conjunction with their study of how environmental factors affect population growth. It doesn't matter what grade.... they all liked getting up to sing and move.

Our standards tend to repeat every other year so what students are learning in 2nd grade get repeated more in depth in 4th and 6th grade.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Science Centers - 2nd Grade

I worked with a second grade teacher this past Friday during one of her TAP observations. She had set her lesson up in science stations and asked me to oversee and troubleshoot the computer station if needed.

I really liked her stations because they incorporated reading, writing, technology and a hands-on activity. All stations were about 10 minutes in length.

My favorite part of the lesson was her accountability sheet that the students took from station to station. You can find a copy of the sheet HERE.

The lesson was on Arctic Habitats.

Station 1 – Read and response. Students read a sheet that she got from Enchanted Learning about reindeer and they had to answer the questions that went with it. When they were done, or had to move stations, they stapled their reindeer sheet to the accountability sheet.

Station 2 – Computer station. Students watched a six minute BrainPop Jr. video and took the quiz that went with it. They recorded their quiz score on the sheet that traveled with them. You can sign up for a free trial of BrainPop Jr. but we are lucky in the state of South Carolina because Discus is now linked to BrainPop Jr. (your local library or media specialist should have the Discus login for BrainPop Jr.).

Station 3 – The instructor worked with that group completing a blubber experiment station. Students had rubber gloves on, one covered in lard, one not. They put their hands in freezing cold water and discussed how it felt and importance of blubber in arctic animals. When they were done they got a stamp from the teacher in that block.

Station 4 – Reading station. The teacher had five polar bear fact cards and the students had to read through the information and list three things they learned about polar bears through their reading.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Characteristics of Life

One of the classes I work with has just started their Organisims and their Environment unit. The first thing I usually do with this unit is place a plant next to me and tell children that we are both considered organisims. I have them work in table groups and try to come up with ways they think we are similar (we just became a TAP school so that opening would hit "questioning" and "grouping" on the rubric).
I remember one year a good argument came up in class where one table group said that we are similar because we both move. This led to a girl saying that plants only move if acted upon by another source (i.e. the wind). That led to another person saying that she visited a sunflower patch with her mom and that the sunflowers move to follow the path of the sun. I love those kind of "thinking and sharing" arguments :)
In our standards students only have to know five characteristics that organisims share. I made a Promethean flipchart that covers the five but recently came across a blog where she offered a free powerpoint on the subject (she had 10 characteristics listed). I was having trouble opening the presentation on my home computer because it downloaded as a zip file but will try when I get to school. The preview slides look pretty good.
I also show this YouTube video that I found. It was put together by some middle school students and is silly enough to hold students attention. Never underestimate the power of a YouTube video! I recently reviewed the five characteristics in a class of fifth graders (whom I had taught in fourth grade) and they referenced the video during the review (yay!).
In the notebook I have students choose how they are going to display the five characteristics - web, illustrated outline, or outline of their hand.