I know there are mixed feelings about teaching in themes, but honestly I love it. I feel it actually helps me maximize my instructional minutes by having my lessons integrate all subject areas together, rather than trying to keep everything separate. I am going to share some ideas of how I integrate it all.
Studying spiders would be considered a science unit. However, by focusing on reading skills, word patterns, citing evidence in the text, comprehension it is quite easy to see how it is also my literacy focus for the week. In addition, there is a big push to introduce our students to more informational text so this fits in quite nicely.
I begin my unit by starting an anchor chart. We talk about our schema and put everything we come up with on our interactive chart. I don't tell them any of the facts are wrong that they tell me, we just put them all up. Then as we read books, see videos, learn about spiders, we add to our anchor chart our new learning. If we discover, we were wrong about any of our schema, we move those items to the misconceptions category.
Some of my favorite books are Spiders, by Gail Gibbons and Spiders by Laura Marsh with National Geographic kids. They have lots of great kid friendly facts.
We go over our vocabulary for our unit using picture cards. Then we use my spider facts pages that I have created. I project them on the smartboard so that we can read them together.
I also have fill in comprehension pages that go along with these that we complete together, sharing the pen. We talk with our partners about the final question and then share with the group. We take a class poll and chart our results. This then incorporates an element of math.
For my high level kiddos we read a small passage at guided reading and they highlight evidence in the text and write their answers in complete sentences. Total integration of ELA standards with the science informational text. To see more about the other activities in my non-fiction spider unit you can head over to my blog.
I keep going with the theme in our centers for the week as well. I know many people use Daily 5. I incorporate many of the elements of Daily 5 in my centers, but I like my students working in partners so centers are what works for me. Pretty much all my ELA centers are a form of word work, writing or reading. One of our favorites is Write the Room, who doesn't love walking around the room with a clipboard.
We also have been working hard on our rhyming. For my ELL's many of them struggle with this so we need lots of practice.
I carry it over into my math centers as well. We Count the room, fill in 10 frame cards with themed erasers, play roll and cover with dice, to just name a few. Sadly, I don't have any pictures of my kiddos in their math centers. We get so busy and are having so much fun that I forgot to snap some pics, oops! You can see a preview of all my Spider centers over at my blog if you're interested.
Even though our main focus for this unit is informational text I always like to introduce at least one fictional text as well. The book Aaaarrgghh! Spider! is one of my favorites. It is also a great way to incorporate opinion writing into our theme. We write about if we think a spider would be a good pet or not. We use this fantastic freebie by Miss Kindergarten you can find here.
This is perfect because it gives a sentence prompt for my kiddos that need that support and my students that are ready can add more details and justify their reasoning.
Who doesn't love a fun craft and I love glitter. I know many people don't, but this craft is so fun and easy. We make our own spider webs.
After we have studied about how webs are shaped the students draw out a web with glue on their paper. Some of my type A's wanted to draw with pencil first and then trace that with the glue. It was their project so they could do it anyway they want. Then I help them put glitter covering all the glue. You shake off the excess glitter onto a large extra piece of paper and your masterpiece is complete.
Then I take the extra paper, fold it up and funnel the excess glitter back into the bottle. We usually manage to keep it pretty clean. The best part is all of my kiddos can feel successful and are proud of their creation.
What would a spider unit be without a spider snack?? I love incorporating "cooking" into our lessons too. These are a few of the creations we have made in the past.
I found all of these on Pinterest. You can see the original pins and get the directions by clicking here.
I hope that I have given you some ideas for how to integrate your learning across all the subject areas during a unit on spiders or other units you may doing as well. For a chance to win a copy of both, my Spider Nonfiction unit and my Spider Centers leave me a comment below telling me your favorite fall theme to teach. Be sure to leave your email so I can send your goodies if you are the winner. My son will choose a random number Sunday October 18th at 8pm (pacific). They will also be 20 % off until Saturday night. You can also hop over to my blog here, for a second chance to win.
Don't forget to head to our Fall Hop, you only have a few more days to win some great prizes and TpT gift certificates! Thanks for stopping by and hope you have a wonderful fall!