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 tell them I am going to read them a book about one of their five senses.
“Team 203, today I am going to read you a book about one of the most widely used senses. This sense lets me know what color something is and whether it is day or night. Can anyone guess which sense I am talking about?”
I select a student who is following the correct classroom protocol of raising their hand.
“That’s right April I am talking about my sense of sight.”
“This book is called Look here! It is written by Sally Hweitt.”
I go ahead and read the book to the students. As we read we discuss the answers to some of the questions raised by the book.
“What is moving?”
“What colors can you see?”
I use the fair sticks to select two or three students to respond to the questions. You will need to gauge your audience’s attention span to decide how many students you select to respond to questions.
I use this non-fiction book to engage my students’ attention. The book provides the students with some information which will be helpful to them during integrated work stations.
Once the book is over I ask the students, “Did anyone pay attention to what we use to see?” I allow the class to call out the answer, “Your eyes!”
“You are right it is your eyes. Raise your hand if you can recall how the eyes work.”
I select a student to respond.
“Good recall Finneas; a picture is made on the back of your eye upside down. I think my brain must be pretty smart to turn the picture right side up so I can understand what I am seeing.”
“Raise your hand if you recall where your eyes are if you are a predator?”
I select a student to respond.
“Well done Mason; your eyes are in front. Remember our saying; “Eyes up front, made to hunt.””
“Where are my eyes if I am prey?”
I select a student to respond.
“Good job Eric; your eyes are on the side. “Eyes on the side, made to hide.””
“Scientists use their eyes to make detailed observations. They can observe what is going on in an experiment and they use their eyes to make detailed drawings or recordings for others to use as a visual example.”
“Today at one of your work stations you are going to work on answering the question, “Can you see the colors?””
“One group at a time we will go out into the garden and I will tell you a color. It will be up to you to use your eyes to find that particular color. Once you have found that color, you need to come and get me and we will take a photo of you and the item you found.”
“Later on I will print out your picture and you can glue it in your science journal as a record of how you used your sight to observe a specific color in the garden.”
“Now remember to stay focused on your work at each station so can complete the task.”
Now I send the students over to the integrated work stations one table group at a time to maintain a safe and orderly classroom. It usually sounds like this;
“Table number one go get ready to have some color sight 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.”
Once I have my group lined up ready to go outside into the garden I remind them we are going out to work not play.
“Group number one, I would like to remind you that we are going out into the garden to do a job. We are not going to play, we are going to work. I will know you have listened when I see you working in the garden doing the right thing.”
I try to say only the behaviors I want to see because those are the words that will stick in the students’ brain – listen, work, garden, right thing.
When we reach the garden I get started right away so the students do not have time to lose focus.
“Group one I want you to listen closely to this set of directions. When I say “go,” I want you to use your eyes to find something in the garden that is green. When you find something that is green come and get me and I will take your picture with that item. Walking feet go.”
Of course in the garden there are many things that are green. I start off with an easy one because I want the students to experience success and develop confidence in their observational capabilities. With each success I increase the difficulty.
As I increase the difficulty I give the students different colors to look for so they do not follow and copy each other.
Allow the students 15 minutes to work on this activity. After 15 minutes are up, the timer goes off and the students clean up ready to switch stations.
I set the visual timer and remind the students to look at it so they can use their time wisely.
In this activity the students are exploring how to use their sight as an observational tool.
At another station the students play an observational memory game called “Memory Tray.” Place ten items on a tray in a grid like pattern. Allow the students to observe the tray for 30 seconds. Now I cover the tray with a light cloth and have the students close their eyes. While the students’ eyes are closed I remove one of the items.
Tell the students to open their eyes and try to recall which item is missing.
As the students get better at this task decrease the looking time and increase the number of items on the tray (science and math).
At another work station the students practice using magnifying glasses. First I model how to use a magnifying glass correctly. “Place the magnifying close to your eye. Then move your eye and the magnifying glass close to the object until it comes into focus.”
“On the table you will see a series of images; some are big and some are small.”
“It will be your job to match the small image with the correct big image. When you have all the images matched do it again and try to beat the timer (science tool use).”
At another work station the students are given different materials to use to build their own “magnifying glass” or observational tool (science – engineering).
These activities provide the students with the opportunity to apply and expand their understanding of the concepts within new contexts and situations thus elaborating on the information they have been presented with.
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 take a spot on your dot.”
Once the students are seated I tell them that their exit slip for today is to share with us one item they can see from their spot on the rug that matches the color I give them.
“For today’s exit ticket you need to share with us one item you can see from your spot that matches the color I give you. For example, if I were to say red you would need to use your eyes to observe the classroom from your spot and tell me something you can see that is red.”
"Who remembers how the eye works from the book we read earlier?"
I select a student who is following the classroom protocol of raising their hand.
"Nice recall Finneas; we need light to to let the image in and it is upside down. Our brain turns the image right side up and tells us what we see."
“When you have shared your item with us you may use the hand sanitizer and get your snack.”
I use the Fair Sticks to determine the order of the students.
If a student is unable to give me an answer, they know they can do one of two things.
I use this exit ticket process as a way for the students to analyze what they know about sight and explain how they knew their particular item was the correct color; it will be as basic as, “I used my eyes.” During integrated work station time they experienced different activities which involved sight in one format or another. This quick assessment process allows me to see if the student is able to take information learned in one format and be able to transfer it to another format.
Later in the day we watch Making Observations from the Brain Pop Jr. website. This short video clip reinforces how the five senses help scientists make good observations.
In order to assess if my students have successfully understood and retained the information presented in the lesson I evaluate each student by providing them with a task the next day for morning work.
When the students enter the classroom they will see this message on the morning work board, “What helps you to see? Draw it. Now find and draw one thing that is red, one thing that is blue and one thing that is yellow.”
I have my higher performing students label the items they choose to draw – they can either use resources such as the books in book area or they can use phonetic spelling. For my lower performing students I will label their items for them when they bring their science journal over to me to be checked.
When the students come over to me to have their science journal checked I ask them, “How does your sense of sight help you make detailed observations?” I make a note of their response right into their science journal so I have an anecdotal record of their thinking.