Last week we had a blast learning about amphibians, their characteristics and incorporating a little fiction on frogs and toads too!
We began the week by reading Leo Lionni’s book “Fish is Fish” from my Lionni author study unit. This was a great lead into the characteristics of a frog. After reading the book we completed a compare and contrast Venn Diagram chart looking at the similarities and differences between a frog and a fish.
Then we decided if we would rather be a fish or a frog. We went around the room and surveyed 10 classmates. This activity gets them up and moving and they are pretty good at it now.
After our survey, we wrote an opinion piece explaining which animal we would rather be and why.
On Day 2, we read a mini paper booklet I created about amphibians. We used this booklet to sort amphibians, label an amphibian, and list the characteristics of an amphibian.
These characteristic posters were displayed in the science center all week.
We also made a class poster of the characteristics and our own mini posters.
On Day 3 we read “Frogs” by Gail Gibbons and completed an anticipation guide. We completed the “What I Think” side, read the book, and then did the “What I Learned” side. After completing those activities we focused on the lifecycle of a frog.
We created this chart together using the photos I made. I wanted my students to see real photos of the frog changing throughout its lifecycle.
On Day 4 we read, “Why are Frogs Wet?” and did another anticipatory guide.
Before writing we read one more additional story. “True or False Amphibians”. This is a fun read because the children have to answer the question before hearing the answer. We do a thumbs up for true and a thumbs down for false. It also review all of the facts before our informative writing.
We made a web together and then we went to work writing our own stories.
On Day 5, we focus on comparing and contrasting frogs and toads. I have a great little paper mini book that the children read first to get a good basis of information. Then we watched a few video on youtube that I will link below. They were great. I set the students loose and they work on comparing and contrasting them in groups. First we sorted the given facts, then the children added their own. On the back, we wrote what they had in common.
After they worked independently, we created this chart together to review.
Once we had our facts straight, we went on to writing. Some of my first graders are ready for paragraph writing so I have been modeling it a lot lately. In this example, you can see I changed pen color to illustrate each paragraph.
After modeling, they went to work on their own stories. They did such a nice job with this activity.
You can see that this student has their pre-writing exercise next to them. We always do some sort of pre-writing to gather our thoughts and organize our writing.
Finally, we ended our unit with a research day. In all of my animal units, I created research projects on different animals with crafts to go with them. I begin by letting the students choose which animal they want to research. I feel choice is always key to motivation. Once we are in our groups, we do one page at a time. We discuss the topic, brainstorm ideas, and then get to work. Eventually by the last animal group, they don’t need as much guidance. We use our Chrome books to gather information that we don’t already know throughout the day. When we are done, we get to make our animal craft. They always do an amazing job and they love their independence and collaboration. Here are this year’s projects with a sneak peek inside of each one.
I hope you enjoyed reading about our week with amphibians. We were very busy!
I’m one super proud teacher! “Love what you do and do what you love!”