Friday, October 3, 2014

31 Days of Halloween - Day 4!

There are plenty of days ahead for writing about trick-or-treating fun, so let's take care of some science and writing while we have the chance to easily combine the two. Anything by Gail Gibbons is worth purchasing at your next yard sale or thrift store visit. She is a master at combining facts in a way that make the students want to hear more. They will be completely engaged while you are reading and discussing the book Owls. Owls are sort of Halloweeny, since they hang out in deep dark forests, call "Hooo! Hooo!", and their heads spin completely around. They are fantastic creatures to study as you connect them to your study of living things, habitats, and animals and their young.

I do not usually use this blog as a platform to sell another teacher's products, but since I purchased this one myself I felt I should point it out to you. I spent $8.00 on Deanna Jump's TPT unit "Owl Math and Literacy Centers". It's 97 pages long!!! Anyway, I used her student booklet about owls to have my students practice listening to and writing facts about owls.

I read them the entire Gail Gibbons book, then gave them the first mixed-up sentence page in Deanna's unit. They cut the words out and glued them in order to make a sentence about owls being nocturnal animals. Then (this is the beautiful part), they had to add their own sentences to fill out the rest of the page, as much as they could, from what they remembered from the story. After that, they got to color an owl illustration and paste it on the facing page. They were totally absorbed and wrote amazing things that they remembered!

Every day for a week I read them a different book about owls, and they completed a new page about what they had learned. When they were done, I had an awesome piece of work that I could use to grade: handwriting proficiency, spelling in a real-life situation, use of conventions in writing sentences, listening ability,and one science unit grade as well! That is what you call smart teaching, and creative use of your teaching time. Who doesn't love that!

Happy Nonfiction Reading!
Till next time,

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