I call one table at a time to gather on the floor to sit like scientists. This means their hands are in their laps and are paying attention.
I ask the kids to silently think about wood. I give them approximately 30 seconds to think. I then tell them that I would like the to tell me what they know about wood. I call on five to six random volunteers to share what they know. I do not correct any misconceptions at this point. The lesson should correct any misconceptions by the end. If not, they will be addressed in future lessons.
I ask the kids to share one thing they know about wood with their floor partner. It can be something they heard, or something else they already know.
This is a quick exploration.
I ask the kids to look around the room to see if they can find anything that is made out of wood. I give them about 20 seconds to visually locate an object. They are asked to remember what they found with their eyes.
After the 20 seconds, they share with their floor partner what they notice is made out of wood. I then call on volunteers to share with the whole class some of the things they notice are made from wood.
I record the objects they identified in the next section.
I do this to get the kids thinking about wood. So many times, we walk around not noticing the things around us and what they're made of. This section really got the kids to pay attention to how much wood is used to create furniture, buildings and other objects in the room. They were amazed by how much wood surrounds us every day.
I ask the kids to calmly walk to one object they found that's made out of wood. If the object is small, they are asked to get it and return to the floor with it. This helps with behavior and traffic congestion.
I use the same piece of large chart paper to record each person's object. If the object is already on the list, I put a check mark next to it, which validates the student's contribution without repeating what is already on the list. I pull names from a name stick can in random order for the kids to share what they identified as being made out of word until everyone has had a chance to go.
I, again, do not correct anything on the list. The kids will eventually clean it up themselves as the lesson(s) progress.
The list will be posted in the room for the duration of the unit.
I added this step because in the past I found that while kids could identify items around the room from a distance, it didn't personalize it for them. This piece allows the kids to "take ownership" of the materials that surround them. Many of my students go home and look for objects made out of wood with their families now that I've added this section.
Once the list is complete and the all the kids are gathered back on the floor, I share a Youtube video called, All Things Wood.
I stop at each new section to have the kids identify the objects that are made out of wood.
Kids see, think, and share with their floor partner what they think are the items made out of wood. I pause the video and they are given 20 seconds to decide what objects are made out of wood. They then turn to their floor partner and share what they think is made of wood. Each partner is given 15 seconds to share.
The video does a nice job of showing a variety of objects that are made from trees. This brings this experience to a full circle of understanding and connects to our tree unit. The kids begin to make connections between trees, wood and paper. They begin to understand the importance of trees to humans. Later they will learn the importance of trees to animals when we study animal habitats.
The kids are still seated on the floor when I introduce the evaluation page. It is a page that has pictures of a variety of objects. They are asked to circle objects made of wood and cross out the things that are not. If they have time, they are invited to color the objects made out of wood.
As the kids work, I wonder the room and support when needed. I also ask questions like, "How do you know that object is made out of wood?"
"Are there any other objects that you can think of that are like this one that are made out of wood?"
"What can you do with this object that is made out of wood?"
I do this to do a quick 1:1 evaluation of learning for each child as well as make the kids move to a higher level of thinking. Instead of yes and no answers, they must explain their thinking to the best of their ability. This promotes higher level thinking skills as well as supports the goal of having kids make connections and make statements with evidence.
Once all of the kids are finished with their evaluation page, I have them gather on the floor with their science journals and we review what we've learned.
I go over the page with them so they can see if they circled the correct objects. We clarify any confusion at this time.
We then review our list of items on our chart paper and cross off anything that no longer applies. This serves as the closure to this lesson.
While still seated on the floor, I have the helper of the day pass out the take home reader.
We then take a few moments to get familiar with our take home readers. I introduce the new vocabulary with the kids.Then we learn the book by doing the following:
By the third time hearing the text, they usually have a good handle on it.
I have them each take a turn to read the book to their floor partners. I have the helper of the day collect the books back and they are placed in the homework folders.
The kids are told to read the book to their parents and have them sign the back of the book after they have read it to them. I give them a sticker the next day if the book is signed.