I ask students to sit on the meeting place rug to learn about a third nocturnal animal, the raccoon.
On the wall, there is an anchor chart ready to go with a picture of a raccoon on it.
I begin by reading a book out loud to the class. As I read through the book, I stop to clarify any hard to understand words.
After finishing the book, I ask the question, “What do you think a raccoon has or does that helps them adapt to life at night? Owls have big eyes and Bats use echolocation. Turn to your shoulder partner and talk about this for a few minutes.”
I give the students a few minutes to talk about what the adaptation for raccoons may be. During this time, I am listening to their discussion and I intervene if needed. Often times, it is necessary for me to jump in and help the conversation along using guiding questions to get the students to think about the text.
After a few minutes of conversation, I bring the students back together so that we can add some of the information that they learned and talked about to our anchor chart.
After filling in the chart, I ask students to go to their seats. At their tables, I have put out a paper with drawings of the raccoon hands and feet. I ask students to take a look at the hands and feet and think about what they notice.
I lead the class in a discussion about the hands and feet of a raccoon and we label the parts. I also label one using the document camera to model for the students what the words are and where to write them. There are students who are able to do this on their own without the model but the model helps students who need the extra support. The part that we focus on the most is the sharp claws. We talk about how they might use them.
We talk about how this type of hand/feet is helpful to an animal like the raccoon. I also ask the students to think about how a raccoon hand is similar to a human hand and to talk to their table partners about the similarities and differences. Their table partner is the person sitting directly across from them at their table.
While students are discussing the similarities and differences, I pass out science journals. In the science journals, students will add their labeled pictures of the raccoon hands and feet.
Using science journals is a great way to have things all in one place in order to refer back to them when needed. We use them as a review before moving on to a new concept in a unit by going back and going over learned material.
I also use the journals as a way to assess just what a student has learned.