The Great Flood of 2013

by becky on April 19, 2013

That’s what I’m sure many of my co-workers, friends, and family will be referring to when we talk about April 18th, 2013.  Let’s just say that I’ve never experienced a “rain day” from school until now. My town and several of the surrounding towns have been underwater since around 4:00 am. School seems to be open tomorrow, since most of the roads around the district are open. However, it’s the teachers who are driving from nearby towns that might find our commute to work a little difficult. Here is a picture of an intersection near one of my district’s high schools.

Luckily, my basement is NOT flooded and I do not have a major mess to clean up. I do understand the stress of that though, since I had two floods last year. It’s not fun, and I feel for anyone experiencing that right now.

Well, the good news about having a “rain day”, (besides the fact that I didn’t have to get ready for work) is that I had an entire day to catch up. I don’t know how I can feel so behind even though I just had Spring Break. The life of a teacher, I suppose. :)

So, what have we been working on since we got back from Spring Break? A whole LOT of things: decimals, reading Because of Winn-Dixie, learning about the causes of the Civil War, and writing about how we can take care of our Earth.

I love this particular writing unit because it really gives me the opportunity to talk to my students about how to take care of our planet but also, why  we need to take are of Earth. They love sharing ideas and brainstorming ways we can do our part both at school and at home. They did “suggest” that I use both sides of the paper when I’m writing class notes during math. I loved that they made this connection and promised to do my best!

To keep the momentum going, we discussed the 3 R’s. Otherwise known as Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. We talked about what these words mean and how they work together and can overlap. Then, I had them work in their clusters to cut out and sort 15 Earth Day statements. 5 statements were to be sorted under each heading. I wanted them to work with their groups, but I didn’t want them to glue anything until we did the same sort as a whole class.

Once most groups had sorted their cards, we worked on the sort as a whole class.  To do this, I picked  students at random and asked them to read the card I gave them. On the cards were suggestions that would fit under our Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle heading. the great part came when students didn’t agree. They used their evidence to support their reasons, and when all else failed, they compromised. As we went along, there were times that we switched cards around to fulfill certain agreements. I heard things like, “I’ll agree that that card can go under reuse, if you agree that this card goes under reduce.” So smart! Here are some of my Goobers placing their card under the headings.

When we finished placing all 15 cards on the board, I instructed the kiddos to glue their statements down under each corresponding heading.

Then, I hung the statements up in the classroom for the students to refer to later on during the week.

Now, I felt that they had some good information to help them to complete their writing portion of the unit. Must build background first! :) To complete this, students watch me model how I filled in my graphic organizer of how I plan to Handle the Earth with Care by reducing, reusing, and recycling. They needed to say what they would do and how it would help the planet. I forgot to take pictures of this part, but, pretty much they spent one writing session filling in the graphic organizer, and the next day they peer edited using the acronym CUPS. Then, they revised using the acronym ARMS.

Once they felt confident about their editing/revising, they were given final copy stationary to use for their project. I modeled mine to show them the quality of handwriting I was looking for. It’s been tough with some of my kiddos this year. They just have really hard writing to read.

Once they finished recopying, they colored their heading and cut their circle(s) out.

Finally, came the project! Since the topic was “Handle with Care”. I wanted them to recreate the project I made last year with them holding the Earth (carefully) in their hands. First, they glued their writing inside their covers, glued their continents on, and worked with a partner to trace their hands. This part was super sweet to see! I love teamwork!

When everyone was finished, they shared their prompt with a partner and then we hung them proudly in the hallway.

We have a few more Earth Day activities to complete, but I’m hoping that through this project my students will begin to take responsibility for our fragile planet.

If you are looking for a fun/informational way to celebrate Earth Day with your students, take a trip to my store. Here’s all that’s included!

I’d love to hear how you and your students recognize this special day, so leave me some Earth Day love! Have a great (hopefully rain-free) night!

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