Gather students on the rug using a preferred classroom management technique. I like to use my “Stop, look, listen.” The students stop what they are doing, look at me and listen for the direction. I usually preface the direction with, “When I say go…” This reminds the students to listen to the whole direction before moving to follow the directive.
In this case I would say, “When I say go I would like you to clear your space, push in your chair and go take a spot on your dot. Walking feet go.” By saying walking feet I am reminding the students to use walking feet in the classroom to ensure safe movement between areas.
When all of the students are seated on their dot in the rug area I start asking the students, “Who can tell me a something they know about owls?”
I use the Fair Sticks to take four or five students responses.
“Okay those were all great pieces of information about owls. Now who can tell me something they know about bats?”
Once again I use the fair sticks to select four or five students, who were not already called upon during the first questions response time. This ensures that more students get a chance to respond and be part of the conversation.
“Those were all great pieces of information. Well today we are going to read another bird book to reinforce what we already know and see if we can learn any new information.”
“The book for today is called The Best Nest. It is written by Doris L. Mueller and illustrated by Sherry Neidigh. Many of the birds that we are going to see in today’s story are birds we can find in Maryland forests. One of the birds is the Maryland state bird. Can anyone tell me the name of the state bird?”
There is usually at least one student who is familiar with the state bird as it is the name of the state baseball team.
“That’s right the Baltimore Oriole. Well in the book the oriole is one of the best students. At the end of the story, see if you can tell me why the Oriole is one of the best students.”
This book is available as an eReader on the Sylvan Dell Publishing website. These books are wonderful at integrating science and math standards into literature.
As we read I point out the different types of nests and the fact that birds are oviparous (lay eggs). At the end of the book there are several pages of factual information on birds. I summarize the information making sure to point out the most obvious information; birds have feathers, birds lay eggs, birds have beaks, that many birds are primarily diurnal, etc.
Once the book is over I ask the students, “So why was the Oriole the best student?”
I use the fair sticks to select students to respond to the question. There is usually one student who can respond that the Oriole was the only bird who paid attention and listened to the whole set of directions.
“From the story we can definitely tell it is very important to listen carefully and be patient. When you use these skills you will get all the information you need to complete a task successfully.”
Now I inform the students that today they will be using all of our previously read books to try and come up with one piece of information about bats and one piece of information about birds. “Well I hope you were listening carefully to all of the books we have read over the past four days because you are now going to write one fact about a bat and one fact about a bird.” Organize information
I show the students a copy of the Bat and Bird Facts Recording Sheet they will find over at the work station. “On the recording sheet I can clearly see where to write and draw one fact about a bat and one fact about a bird. There are even picture clues to help me recall which side is which.”
“Can anyone tell me where I can get information about birds and bats?”
I use the fair sticks to select students to respond to the question.
Once we have exhausted our ideas I say, “Those were all great ideas. Now when you get to this station you will find the books we have read, a copy of the worksheet, pencils, crayons and the date stamp. What is the first thing you will do?”
“Excellent. Put your name on it. Worksheets I find without a name will be put in the recycling.”
“Does anyone have any questions?”
Once I feel the group has a good grasp of the instructions I send the students over one table group at a time to maintain a safe and orderly classroom. It usually sounds like this;
“Table number one go have some bird and bat fact fun.
Table number two, you know what to do.
Table number three, hope you were listening to me, and
Table number four, you shouldn’t be here anymore.”
Allow the students 15 minutes to work on this activity. Set a visual timer and remind the students to look at the timer so they will use their time wisely.
I encourage the students to go through the previous books we have read so they can refresh their memories and recall facts they may have forgotten. While the students go through the books they often chat with their peers about what they see which prompts other students thinking and ideas. This helps promote the recall of key details which in turn means clear facts will be recorded.
When the time is up I blow two short blasts on my whistle and use the “Stop, look listen” technique mentioned above. “When I say go, I would like you to clean up your space remembering to take care of our things, push in your chair, and use walking feet to go and take a spot on your dot.”
Students know to put completed work in the finished work bin. Any work that is not completed goes into the under construction bin and can be completed throughout the day whenever the student finds he/she has spare time or it will be completed during free choice center time. Student sample bat and bird Student sample bat and bird 2 Student sample bat and bird 3
Once the students are seated I tell them that their exit slip for today is to tell me one piece of information either about birds or a bat. “You exit slip to get your snack today is to tell me either one thing you know about birds, or one thing you know about bats. I am going to use the fair sticks to help me pick the students. Here we go.”
Once a student has told me his/her piece of information about birds or bats they are able to use the hand sanitizer and go to get their snack. If a student is unable to give me an answer, they know they can do one of two things.
For this assignment I will use the checklist to make sure the student has met the objectives. Once the checklist has been filled out, I attach it to the student’s piece of work and then place it in the student’s working portfolio. Bat Bird Checklist
At the science station we build our own nests using a variety of materials we have collected from outside. I used to use actual mud for this activity, but have now switched it to wet clay. The wet clay is less messy than the mud for which the school custodian is eternally grateful for.
At another station the students are able to examine bird bones and how they have pockets of air. They can also examine a variety of feathers. They record one of their best observations in their science journal.