Today, I start the lesson by saying, “Boys and girls, have you ever thought about being a teacher? I think sometimes, when people hear the word ‘teacher’ they automatically think of someone like me, an adult in a classroom working with students. But you know what? I think that all of you are teachers! Do you know why?” I let the students give me some reasons why they think that I might call them “teachers”! This a fun (and sometimes funny!) conversation!
Next I say to the students, “Well, let me ask you this: What questions did you answer over the last two days? Share a question you were wondering about and the answer you found in your reading, either in our informational text or in our digital text.” I let the kids share some of their questions and answers, and after each share, I say, “Wow! You just taught me something new!”
After the students have shared, I say, “See! You ARE teachers! You have just taught me some new information! Today, you’re going to prepare your learning so that you can also help teach other students and adults within our school about what you’ve learned about the ocean!”
I show the students the model I’ve created of the Ocean of Knowledge Flipcharts we’ll be making today. Students will get to choose a minimum of three, but of course can do more, sea creature templates to write their questions and corresponding answers on. (See the Resources here for the templates I offer my students.) I show them how these flipcharts work, where their questions will go on top and their answers will go inside the flipchart.
I tell the students, “These flipcharts are going to be displayed on our bulletin board in the hallway, so we want them to look really nice! These well help teach other students and adults in our school all about the ocean!”
I let students begin working. Each student gets to make their question and answer flipchart their own by choosing which sea creature templates their going to use, and by decorating their final product a bit, too. As students work, I circulate reminding them of the high quality work I’m looking for, as well as stop to talk with the students about their questions and answers. Another part of my conversation is to ask the kids about our unit essential question: Why are writers inspired by the sea? From participating in the six lessons of this unit, I’d like for students to be able to communicate that writers could be inspired by sea because there’s so much to learn about the sea! As I walk around and ask about this, I’m thrilled to hear my students say things such as, “Well, writers might want to write about the sea because they might want to tell people how waves are made,” or “I think writers get inspired to write about the sea because kids are interested in the types of animals that live there and the writers want to help you learn about them.” This is wonderful! My students have a great start to understanding what the big ideas of this essential question are all about!
To wrap up the lesson today, I ask if anyone would like to share their work with our class. A few students take turns standing up and showing everyone their flipchart, explaining their questions and their answers. Before closing the lesson, I put up on the SmartBoard our unit essential question: Why are writers inspired by the sea? I ask the students, “Can you think of a reason why a writer might want to write about the sea? Why would the sea inspire a writer to write a text?” The students give me their suggestions, such as “To learn about the how the ocean works,”or “So you can learn about animals”. After listening to a few ideas, I say, “Can we think of a way to put all of these ideas into one sentence?” One of my students says, “How about ‘Writers are inspired by the sea because there is a lot to learn about this part of our world’. What about that?” I say, “That’s excellent! Let’s make a note of that idea here on our file! Would you all agree that the writers of KD Magazine: Oceans helped us learn about this part of our world?” Students give a nod and agree. Then I say, “Would you agree that the digital text we read on our virtual field trip helped us learn about this part of our world, too?” Again, students agree. “Awesome!” I say. “Wonderful learning third graders!”