Let's call it a...
I'll supply the ideas. You come for the fun. We'll all have a good time.
First up, Animal Fiction with 1st graders.
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Unit Name: Animal Fiction
Length of Unit: Approximately three 35-minute classes
Context: Our 1st graders research animals in quarter 4 in order to create a book report. Traditionally projects have varied based on what teachers have asked of the students. Likewise, the project students complete in tandem in Library Media has evolved year after year. This go around I decided to focus on writing short works of fiction. The focus of their writing? Why, the animals they researched, of course!
Summary of Unit (by day/class):
Day 1: I introduce the unit by reading aloud Wild About Books by Judy Sierra and sharing a work of animal fiction I've created as an example. The students complete an exit ticket (see below) at the end of class in the form of identifying their animal and three interesting facts they've researched so far. This information has already been collected during their work in homeroom, but this is a chance for students to demonstrate ownership of their research as well as an opportunity to share anything that they've found particularly interesting.
Day 2: Students take inspiration from their animal facts to create a short work of fiction featuring their research subject as the main character. Students write a beginning, middle, and end sentence and test to make sure the story has flow. Some stories follow a narrative, while others reflect more a list of experiences the characterize the animal in the story.
Day 3-4: Once approved, students transfer their stories into final draft form in a "book" created from a folded sheet of paper. Here are steps to do this yourself. I fold and cut the paper, "preparing" the books before the students come to class. This way they're ready to get started writing and drawing. After transferring all of the sentences and drawing illustrations, I offer pens (to trace the text and lines) and colored pencils to liven the work a bit.
|END PRODUCT: Quite a display!|
- Animal Fiction book (of course)
- Nonfiction book used for research
- Completed research report/book (made in homeroom)
- Tri-O'rama habitat (made in homeroom using construction paper and clay)
|DAY 1: Share facts about your animal.|
|DAY 2: Rough draft of animal fiction with beginning, middle, and end.|
|Let's make some books!|
|"Duckling Grows Up" by a 1st Grader|
|My duck is smart. My duck has a car.|
|My duck can read. My duck has a house.|
|My duck has a shop. My duck is a ballerina.|
|END PRODUCT: A pigeon (NOTE: Not the Pigeon) has an awesome party in this story.|
A Ghost Meets a Penguin
One day a ghost went to vacation. He met a penguin.
The penguin was so scared he jumped in the water.
More and more ghosts game and the penguin was so scared. The penguin turned into a ghost. A penguin ghost.
Seriously, I think you have to be a 1st grader to come up with something so charming and deceptively simple as A Ghost Meets a Penguin. So, so cute. Of course, the best part of this whole project was how much the classroom teachers loved and celebrated the works of their students. That was a huge payoff and one that ensures this unit will stay.