What Do Fossils Tell Us About Our Earth? Day 1 of 2

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SWBAT ask and answer questions about fossils.

Big Idea

Fossils are clues to our past. Today, my students will be building knowledge through a video and a story titled, Fossils Tell of Long Ago, by Aliki.


10 minutes

Context and Overview of the Lesson

Today, I will build more content knowledge about fossils. My students benefit much from building content in various areas. My students will be building knowledge through a video and a story titled, Fossils Tell of Long Ago, by Aliki. I really like this book and I feel it's a good fit at this time because it will help me review the concept of fossils and what fossils tell us about the Earth long ago.

As students watch the video, they will be taking notes, practicing their listening skills and reading skills. They will use these notes in their writing later on.

As most students read independently, I will work with a group of students to give them support with reading and guiding them in answering the text dependent questions, I have created for them. Then, they will have time to write about what fossils are. In writing, they are integrating their knowledge of fossils.. 

Rug Activity

I will start with the students on the rug and review. I will share the objective for the day, "I can ask and answer questions to understand key details about fossils."

Before moving on to adding more content about fossils, I will have my students pair share  what they have learned in the last days about minerals and rocks. First, I will ask about rocks and then minerals. I will add the new information about minerals on our chart and and I will write the information in blue to distinguish it from other knowledge. It is important to review what is being learned.

Video: All About Fossils

20 minutes

One way I am teaching to the level of rigor expected in the CCSS is by integrating technology into my teaching. One way that I am doing this in this lesson is having my students watch a VideoAboutFossils. Now, for this task, I visited one of my local libraries to check out the video. Here is the title of the video I used. If you like you can do the same or, you can use the video I am attaching. Both videos cover similar information needed for the content of this lesson.

Much of what matters in using either video is the process. I used the video to build content about fossils, to build listening skills, and to teach my students how to take notes. I created a template with questions for them to answer: All About Fossils.

I taught my students how to take notes in a mini-lesson during a different time of the day. I review with my students about how to take notes, so that they know that in taking notes, they are to use words, phrases, and sometimes pictures are appropriate.

As students watch the video, I will pause the video and give them a chance to take notes. Also, sometimes questions arise. For example, one student wants to know WhatDoesPetrifiedMean?

Here is a sample video you could use:

When students are done with watching the video, I ask them to reread their notes and to write the key words they think are the most important of the video. In this way, I can informally asses whether the students are conceptually understanding what they watched. I do make sure I get a glimpse of everyone's work. Here is one example: KeyWords.

Close Reading with the book, Fossils Tell of Long Ago Part 1

20 minutes

We will spend time reading the first part of the book, Fossils Tell of Long Ago, by Aliki. I will read the book with text dependent questions with a small group of students on the rug while the rest of the students will read and answer the questions independently. Here are the questions to the first part of Fossils Tell of Long Ago. I am choosing to read this book is because I feel it does a good job of helping us review the concept of fossils and what fossils tells us about the changes of the Earth.

The students in my small group need support with their reading and comprehension at this time of the year. They need direction with how to answer questions too and encouragement to stay on task.

Independent Writing

10 minutes

Now that students have had an opportunity to watch a video, take notes about it, and read about fossils, they are RespondingTotheReading in writing. The question is broad so that I can get a sense of what they have internalized: "What are fossils?" However, please see my reflection for additional thoughts on revising this question.

Students have their notes from the video to use in their writing and their notes from answering the text dependent questions from the first part of Fossils Tell of Long Ago, by Aliki.

As they write, I am looking for them use the evidence from these two sources, for them write with elaborate details and use transitional phrases such as: first, second, then, next, and finally. I am offering support with spelling, with forming sentences, and with rereading parts of the story.

What do I notice? One student is StartingToGetTheIdeaofFossils while another shows GoodUnderstandingofFossils. Another student lists types of fossils. I encourage this student to go beyond listing and to rethink the question of what are fossils? To help students who list instead of explain, I direct them back to the page in the selection where fossils are explained. I walk away and them read and then come back and ask them to explain orally what fossils are. Sometimes this helps, sometimes, students need more time to understand.