Prior to creating the presentation, students must complete animal research in order to compare the ways in which their animals fictional representations compare to the real world. This will take 1 to 2 days. Students need to take notes in the following areas, which they then write up into a 2 paragraph report about their animal.
I have students fill out information on this idea organizer to keep them engaged as others give their presentations. We review this organizer prior to the commencement of the student presentations. I find that it is helpful to fill out at least one of these examples together, after a student has presented, to model the expectation and structure for students. Third graders can quickly revert to one word answers if they aren't given adequate and consistent support.
Throughout the year I have maintained a constant expectation that students will present their ideas in complete sentences and justify their answers. At the start of the year this looks very different than the work you will see in the presentations below, which was done in the early spring. The key elements in supporting students in their development of oral language in presentation skills are:
Here is a student explaining the many different ways in which scorpions are represented in mythology and fables.
This part of the lesson can be done either in class or as a short homework assignment. I ask students to reflect upon their notes, confer with others, and determine what kinds of initial conclusions they can draw about the ways in which animals are represented in fiction accurately or inaccurately reflect the animals' true behavioral and physical characteristics. Some key questions that can encourage student thinking are:
What surprises you about how a particular animal is represented in fiction? Wny?
What did not surprise you about how a particular animal is represented in fiction? Why?