I ask students to sit on the meeting place rug to begin a new science unit on weather.
Hanging on the wall is a large piece of chart paper that says, "What is Weather?" at the top.
I say to students, "Who knows what weather is? Just raise your hand."
Many students raise their hands in the air because weather is something they experience everyday.
I say, "Great! I'd like to hear about what you think weather is and I'm going to write your ideas up on the chart."
I use my turn taking sticks to begin calling on students to share their ideas. As they share, I record their responses on the chart paper.
The turn taking sticks allow for me to choose students fairly, in a timely manner and so that students do not have to continue raising their hands. It also assures that I call on every student.
After I collect all of the student responses for the chart, I engage students in a read aloud of Weather Words and What they Mean by Gail Gibbons.
Before I read the text, I talk to students for a minute about why we use nonfiction text. I explain by saying, "When we want to learn more about something that we are interested in, or something that we do not know very much about, we can read nonfiction books. They teach us facts about things in real life."
In kindergarten, we reference fiction and nonfiction a lot and what the differences are in each. Science time is a great opportunity to reinforce these ideas and make connections to how scientist use nonfiction text.
As we read through the text, I stop and ask questions.
What examples of weather did you learn about in this book?
What else did you learn?
I chose this book because it is simple but to the point for kindergarten students. It lays it out nicely for them to understand. One of my favorite authors for science texts for children is Gail Gibbons. Her books have great visuals with a lot of vocabulary!
After finishing the text, I go back to the chart hanging on the wall. I go through each student response on the chart with a highlighter and we highlight each of the things on the chart that are considered weather.
I do this to give students a visual of how much the class knows and to show them that there are many right answers or ideas to the question, "What is Weather?"
Students have a difficult time realizing sometimes that there can be many different answers to questions.
I tell students that we will get to be meteorologists for several days and keep a weather log. This gets the students excited for the rest of the unit!