Kindergarden: Preparing for a Field Trip to the Library
This lesson, from my internship at West Friendship, was designed to prepare students for their upcoming field trip to the public library. We read a story about libraries, took a virtual tour of the library (created as a Power Point presentation using my own photographs), and completed a worksheet which allowed students to use their knowledge to predict what they'd like best about the library.
When I next present this lesson, I will need to recreate the virtual tour. Even if the students will be visiting the Glenwood Branch, the tour needs to use fewer slides and no labels.
1st Grade: Dinosaur Unit: Sorting & Using Facts / Fiction vs. Nonfiction
I enjoy teaching and revising a dinosaurs unit which was provided by the Howard County Media Office. Throughout this multi-day unit, we sort fiction and nonfiction, sort facts about different types of dinosaurs, and interpret facts to discover which dinosaur is being described by the clues. As I am not the copyright holder of this lesson, I am not providing a link to the lesson plan. Photographs from the lesson are below.
1st Grade: Make Way for Ducklings
At Clarksville Elementary School, I discovered and used an older lesson plan for Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey, which paired the book with Chibi by Barbara Brenner. By comparing the two stories, set in Boston and Tokyo but basically the same story otherwise, we were able to identify similarities and differences between the two stories and their settings. We used Google Maps to look at both cities, as well as photographs of Japanese landmarks and typical street scenes. We ended the unit by creating a tissue paper duck craft.
2nd Grade: Poetry Unit Introduction
To introduce a unit on various forms of poetry, we read samples of poetry, viewed a BrainPop! video on poetry, then demonstrated and wrote our own acrostic poems. These poems would join other poems written throughout the unit, to form a small book of the students' work. Acrostic poetry had been used in the classroom, so it was a non-intimidating place to start, but many students found it difficult to think of vocabulary that started with the letters of their names. Next time I teach this lesson, I will post a list of possible vocabulary words that students can choose from if they get stuck.
3rd Grade: Snakes Unit: Print vs. Database Resources
For this two day unit, students were assigned snakes to research using books (day 1) and databases (day 2). Each day, students recorded their facts on green strips of paper, which was then linked together to form snakes. All the smaller research snakes were then linked together into major snakes, which were displayed on a bulletin board and around the media center.
Grade 4: Underground Railroad Collaboration
I was approached by a fourth grade teacher who said that her students needed more time studying the Underground Railroad and asked if I could incorporate it into an upcoming lesson. I agreed, combining the topic with a sorting activity. Then I saw her class the next week, we discussed the Underground Railroad, watched a Brain Pop! video, and read a story about an escaping slave. My original plan for our activity had been to use the quilt code to pass or decode a message made with construction paper, but my research indicated that the code itself may only be a myth. Rather than perpetuate something that may not be true, I changed my tactic and created an information sorting activity using images of objects that may have been seen along the Underground Railroad.
The next time I use this lesson, I will most likely create a new activity to accompany the lesson. If I wanted to increase the rigor of my lessons, I could create a sorting activity where students must read a database article in order to determine which word or image goes into which category. If I wanted to increase the fun, such as during a standardized testing week, I could use the quilt code for a more creative activity, explaining that we don't actually know if it really was used or not, and if it was used, we don't know how wide spread it was.
5th Grade: Atlases Before a Holiday
The 5th grade was in the middle of an atlas use unit when I was told that, at their school, I could expect many students to be absent during the week before Thanksgiving. With that in mind, rather than introducing new material, I created a lesson to reinforce what we had already covered rather than introducing something new. During the lesson, we talked about how, no matter how long or short our families had been in this country, at one point in time they had come from another country. Students were to use an atlas to look up the country, or countries, that their family came from and, once found, they could trace the country on the whiteboard, where I was projecting a slightly out of focus world map. I demonstrated by tracing the continental United States, as that was the country we all lived in now. After everyone had marked their countries on the board, I turned off the projector so we could see how diverse the class was. As attendance was extremely low, we accomplished this quickly and spent the rest of the class in a student led discussion about where our families were from, their traditions, and what we thought we would be doing during Thanksgiving. The one surprise that I should have anticipated was a student who said that she didn't know where in Africa her family came from. My solution was to trace all of Africa and count the continent as her country. Knowing American history, and that some families don't talk about their personal histories, next time I introduce this activity I will offer students the opportunity to trace their best guess continent if they can't, or don't want, to identify a specific country.
High Point High School