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Monday, September 7, 2015

Learning About Our Classroom Pet

Two years ago, I decided to get a classroom pet. After some investigating, I decided on a tortoise. Tortoises are interesting creatures are relatively easy to care for. Additionally, and importantly, there is not an issue with allergies to pet fur. Tortoises do not have teeth, so they don't bite.

As you can imagine, scholars were very interested in the tortoise from the moment they saw it on Meet the Teacher night. Their interest led to many questions so last week we spent some time organizing the questions with a plan to research. The questions were organized around some essential ideas in animal science: habitat, appearance, diet, life cycle and adaptations.  We used a RAN (Reading and Analyzing Nonfiction) chart to guide our work.

After recording knowns and questions, scholars got to work doing some group research.

I wanted scholars to share the information they learned through writing. In order to organize the information in a way that early first graders would find 'friendly', we used the Popplet app and created a Tree Map. As you can see, a Tree Map makes it easy to incorporate categorical information into sentences.

Initially, the kids looked at me with worried eyes, as if to say...THAT is a lot of writing! But they dug in and in just a little while there were pride filled smiles as scholars shared their work.

I was pretty proud of these first graders as they took on this research and writing project on week 2 of first grade!!  They are a pretty sharp group and seem to believe they can do anything I tell them they can do. It's going to be a fun year:)

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