Saturday, October 19, 2013

Rain Forest Fun!

The 2nd graders have eaten me alive!! Just kidding...but it sure feels that way! I can't believe it's been over a month since I posted! I have been busy, busy, busy setting up a new room, planning for a new grade, and I've had about 5 TpT projects on my to-do list.

The biggest thing taking up my time has been creating two GLAD units on the rain forest and desert to fit the science CCSS. GLAD stands for Guided Language Acquisition Design. I went to a wonderful two-week GLAD boot camp last summer and learned a lot of great techniques and activities for teaching science AND reaching my ELD students, all while making science fun! 

I'd first taken a mini GLAD workshop 6 years ago when I was a brand-new teacher, but the boot camp this summer really inspired me.

We started off with a GLAD version of the classic KWL chart. What we know, what we want to know.

Another day the kids examined rain forest "observation charts" in their table teams:
These are simple - photos of the rain forest mounted on construction paper. The kids went to each one and wrote their questions, thoughts, and "noticings" on the paper next to it. Each student had their own marker color and had to put their initials next to their comment so I could make sure everyone was writing. 
These were fun to read as a class, the kids had great thoughts to share!

Another day I taught them this rain forest chant my teaching partner and I wrote, 
complete with movements for each line.
Notice that each part of speech is color-coded (nouns=blue, verbs=green, adverbs=red, adjectives=pink, prepositional phrases=orange). This is another GLAD strategy so that you can use this fun chant for more than just singing and moving.

I then introduced them to the important vocabulary words we are learning as part of the unit, which I created word wall cards for:

Next I read them my teacher-created big book about the RF:

To go along with my big book, I got the idea to create a student mini-book with the text from the BB plus additional activities.

We also worked on creating rain forest animal reports with this form I created and information about the animals that I printed off of the internet.

We also did a fun visualizing activity, where I read this book aloud. 
The students closed their eyes and I didn't show them the illustrations. They had to practice imagining the story in their head, then I gave them time to draw what they saw in their mind on paper. It was wonderful because the kids were completely silent the whole time! Then I had the kids summarize what they heard in their journals. One student took the time (2 days!) to write a very detailed summary, drawing and listing every single rain forest animal that appeared in the book.

Believe it or not, 3 weeks later we are still going strong with our unit! GLAD units are generally about a month in length because they are very in-depth. To wrap up the unit, we are going to revisit our input chart (the KWL-like chart from the 1st day), play a unit review game (played Jeopardy style in table teams), create our own rain forest chant, AND paint pictures of the animals and plants to put up on the huge rain forest mural we are creating in the hallway. 

To supplement the unit, we watched rain forest videos on You Tube and BrainPop Jr. on my iPad. I checked out all of the rain forest books I could find at the public library.
 I also got some amazing resources from Amazon:
And this wonderful Scholastic rain forest bulletin board set:
In fact, everything that I bought from Amazon to use for this unit (LOVE my Prime membership!) can be found on the little pink Amazon widget to your right.

I can honestly say that I (and my students!) have never had so much fun with science! I am working on compiling the rain forest materials I created to post on my TpT store, so keep your eyes peeled if you'd like to do this unit with your class too! =)

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