What Is Your Habitat?

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SWBAT: Write a paragraph to explain the characteristics of a habitat.

Big Idea

Habitats are wondrous regions with a variety of life. Today, my students bring to life their paragraphs by providing rich details to describe their animal's habitat.


5 minutes

Summary and Context

Yesterday, my students spent time writing a paragraph about the characteristics of their animal. Today, we move on to writing a paragraph about the habitat their animal lives in.

Before writing, I will show my students a brief video on the forest habitat. Why? I want to continue building their content knowledge about the world, and integrating technology makes it fun. The video on forests will give us information about the wolf's habitat, which we can use to add a second paragraph to our writing on wolf characteristics.

Then, I will model once again how I want them to write a paragraph.

After that, students will write independently, and then share their work with the class. 

Lesson Opening

I share the objective with students and then review what we have been doing these past days. I pose a question: "What did we write about yesterday?"

I engage them in a think-pair-share. They turn to their partner on the carpet to share. Once students are done, I have a few of them share out loud with the whole group. I feel it is important to review previous lessons. It helps their brains make long-term connections. With my students, reviewing also helps maintain focus.

Video: Habitat: Forests and Woodlands

15 minutes

Today, we are watching a short video on the forest habitat, embedded below. I have students take notes as they watch by drawing a bubble map. They will write descriptive traits about the forest in each bubble. I pause the video to give them time to write these traits down. I have included some examples of their entries in the Resources.


Habitat: Forests and Woodlands

Modeling the Habitat Paragraph

15 minutes

Now, I model writing the second paragraph. As I write this paragraph, I reference the same chart of introductory sentences and the wolves tree map from the previous lesson.

I like to make this process as interactive as possible. I start by asking my students, "How can I start this paragraph?" Here is their response (video).

I keep the first sentence of this second paragraph simple by writing a question (one of the ways we previously learned for introducing an informative paragraph). As I write the rest of the facts, I model how to refer back to the tree map and their bubble map. For example, I use the tree map to write about the different habitats wolves live in. I ask students to use their bubble maps to tell me about the other wildlife in forests. By giving my students two sources of information, I give them the opportunity to see how we can gather and integrate information from different places.

While writing the model habitat paragraph, I also model varying the types of sentences to keep things interesting.

Writing the Habitat Paragraph

25 minutes

Now my students will work independently to write their first draft of a paragraph detailing where their animal lives. As they write, I walk around and make sure they know how to start. I also make sure students have all the materials they need for their writing task. I monitor whether they have their word book out, in case they need me to spell words for them. I only spell words that are both difficult and not found in their notes or informational sheet. If the words can be found in their resources, I direct students back to those resources as models.

By walking around, I also get to see who has started and who has not, and needs redirection. After a few minutes of walking around, I sit on the round table to monitor students and provide support. If they need help, they come to me.

I have included some of their drafts in the Resources.

Sharing with the Whole Group

7 minutes

I like to give my students many opportunities to share their learning. It validates their learning and builds their self-esteem. It helps build community, too. The students who share have met the writing task, and I want to give the rest of the class good models. This will help them when they revise their pieces.

In sharing, my students build academic language, speaking, and listening skills. Those in the audience must listen attentively to give the speakers feedback about their content.

This is system I use to guide audience feedback:

  • Two Stars: Two different students share specifically what they liked about the writing.
  • A Wish: Another students shares specifically how the writing can be improved.

Giving feedback in this manner keeps the interaction respectful and positive.

I have included several great videos of student sharers in the Resources.