April 2, 2013

Animal Habitat Unit + Freebie

My students love to learn about animals and so I thought it would be great to teach an informative writing unit in conjunction with learning about animal habitats. I taught about six different habitats, focusing on five animals from each. It was a success!

Here's my Animal Habitat Unit on TpT:
I've also just uploaded a freebie that includes several pages from the desert portion of the big unit (some posters, graphic organizers, and writing paper).
I'm linking up with Rebecca from Teaching First for her April Freebies.

Here's how I taught my unit:

First I taught about the characteristics of each habitat and we talked about what kinds of animals could live there and why. I made these posters to add to our bulletin board: 
I made each student an Animal Habitat Packet. In my unit I have 6 different covers (one for each habitat) so you could make a separate packet for each habitat or make one big packet and have students choose a cover. Inside the packet I put one graphic organizer and one writing page for each animal.
Each day I read a book about our focus animal (I collected a book for each animal we focused on). As I read the book I had students fill out the graphic organizer about the animal's habitat, diet, and an interesting fact. Then they used the graphic organizer to help them write their paragraph. We did the first few animals together as a class, and then as they got the hang of it they completed their paragraphs independently.
I used read-alouds to give students the information they needed, but you could also use the internet or have students do the research on their own. I also included fact sheets in my unit for the 30 animals that are focused on.
They loved learning about the animals and I loved seeing their progression with writing informative paragraphs!

After we finished our unit we had some visitors from a local aquarium come and show us some rain forest animals in real life. Their little faces were priceless as they got to see and touch the animals. It was the perfect end to our unit!

April 1, 2013

Currently April

I'm linking up with Farley from Oh' Boy 4th Grade for her awesome Currently Linky. I'm loving April so far because I am on Spring Break this week!!
Listening: Recently I have been listening to the Les Mis Soundtrack nonstop. Luckily my husband loves it as much as I do!
Loving: I am loving spring break! This morning my husband and I went out to breakfast and did a little shopping. No stress, just enjoying each other. We usually don't make big plans or go anywhere fancy, but I love the simplicity of just relaxing at home.
Thinking: As much as I love Spring Break I always tend to make a huge list of things I want to accomplish with the time off. Today I have not been so productive, so I keep thinking about my mile long list and where I should start.
Wanting: My body still wakes up as if I had work, so this morning I did stay in bed and read for a bit. Reading just sends me into a different world and I find it so therapeutic. If I didn't have that to-do list I would just lay in bed and read all day.
Needing: My glasses broke a while ago and I really need a new pair. I went in for an eye appointment on Saturday, but I didn't have the right insurance. I know I pay for eye insurance, so now I have to track down which one I have and figure out a new place to go.
Advice: Be patient. I tend to get impatient and frustrated with myself. I want to do more with my blog, more in my TPT store, more in my classroom, etc. I have to remember to be patient with myself. I'm no superwoman and I've learned I can't do it all. I have a bad habit of seeing others do amazing things and getting mad at myself when I can't live up to my own expectations. I think I'm harder on myself than anyone else could be. So my advice to myself as well as others, is to be patient with yourself. You are doing plenty. :-)

Remember to check out Farley's April Linky to see what everyone else is up to!