Hi again! I’m sorry for the late posting. Perhaps I should rethink posts during the first full week of classes in the future!
I am going to share the unit, as it was written out during the collaboration between the classroom teacher and me. The unit begins with an overview, continues with a list of all standards that we addressed over the 20 days, and concludes with a day-by-day description of activities.
In this unit, that is co-taught daily by the classroom teacher and the teacher librarian (TL), students will learn the purpose behind the creation of national parks. They will begin by learning what it means to preserve something. They will then visit Kings Canyon National Park and learn about the flora, fauna and geological features that are being preserved within the park boundaries. This will begin with a focus on preservation of the Giant Sequoias. However, after learning about this park and what it is tasked to preserve, students will explore other national parks and learn about the unique features they are preserving. Students will identify a plant, animal or geological structure that is being preserved that they find exciting. The students will then learn to write a research question about the topic they have identified. They will then engage in individual, personalized research to learn about the preservation of their topic. Students will be introduced to a variety of creative presentation methods. They will choose one of those, create a product to present their topic, and share their research in a gallery walk that will be attended by community members.
Goals and objectives:
Guiding Question: What do national parks preserve?
Day 1: Students will be introduced to the idea of “preservation.” The teacher and TL will show them the pictures of “preserved” items that grace the home page of this KBC. The teacher and TL will also bring in realia for the students to view. Students will look over the pictures and work with their table group to figure out how the seemingly disparate items might be connected. After students have worked on this, the teacher will bring them back together and allow groups to present their suggestions. The teacher and teacher librarian will show the class a peach and ask “why do we can these instead of just eating them like this (fresh)?” The expected response is that we can them to keep them from rotting so we can eat them later. The teacher and TL will then discuss the other two items (old pictures and mummies), working toward the same outcome: we preserve them to so that they will be available to us later. The pictures represent keeping memories of loved ones alive.
The teacher will write the word “preservation” on a poster board that already contains examples of the canned fruit and old pictures. The TL will direct the students to Google Classroom where they will write a journal entry explaining why preservation is important.
Day 2: The teacher will show students a peach that is starting to decay. She will tell them that this is the peach they saw the day before. It can be a different, older peach. The kids just don’t know that. The TL will ask: Since we didn’t eat the peach yesterday, it has begun to rot. What can a farmer do with the peach right now so that it will still be useable next week? The expected response is that the farmer could can the peach to preserve it. If the students do not provide the term “preserve,” the TL and teacher will gently remind them by pointing to the poster that was created the prior class session. The teacher will then tell the class that there are actually many other things that can and should be preserved. Today they are going to hear a story about someone that worked very hard to make sure that land was preserved in our country. The TL will provide a picture of John Muir for the class at this point. She will ask the class if the picture looks like something they have seen before. The expected response is that it looks similar to the old pictures from the last class session and from the poster at the front of the class. The TL will say that, yes, this is a picture of someone who isn’t alive any longer, but we preserve his memory with his picture and through books. Today they are going to hear a story all about this man, John Muir. At the end, they will understand why we preserve his memory. The teacher will then read The Camping Trip that Changed America to the class. After the story, the TL will direct the students to their Google Classroom where they will find a graphic organizer (GO) in the form of a Google Document. The students will work with their elbow partners to complete the parts of the GO.
Day 3: The teacher and the TL will provide students with printouts of their GOs from the previous session. They will then ask students to stand and use the Give One, Get One model for reviewing and sharing information. Music will play and students will move randomly around the classroom. When the music stops, students will pair up with the person closest to them. The teacher will tell the class that the student with the shortest hair will go first. That student will share one piece of information that they have learned about preservation with their partner. The partner will look at their GO and add the information if it is not already on their page. The partners will then switch and the longer haired student will share while the partner adds information to their own GO. This will be done two more times so that every student speaks to at least three partners. The students will then return to their seats. They will open Google Classroom and respond to a quick write journal in a Google Doc. The prompt will be: Three things we often preserve are: food, memories, and land in national parks. What are some reasons you think these types of preservation are important?
Day 4: The TL will share a slideshow of pictures from Kings Canyon National Park with the class. Several of the photos will focus on the Giant Sequoias, the keystone plant species of that park. The teacher and the TL will take turns returning to those slides and demonstrating awe at the size of the trees to generate interest in the students. They will tell the students that the trees are larger than they can imagine. In fact, they are much larger than the trees at school. They will then take the students outside to look at the size of average trees in the landscape. Each student will be provided with a piece of yarn that is exactly one foot long and a graph on which to record the measurement of tree girths. One column of the graph will ask students to measure how many students it takes, holding hands, to circle the tree. They will be broken into teams of four based on their table groups. Each group will be assigned to one of the trees that border the playground. The teacher and the TL will model the use of the strings to measure around the trunk of the tree. They will show the students how to estimate ½ foot measurements. They will model writing their measurement on a poster-sized chart like the ones the students have. They will also model measuring around the tree by holding hands to circle the tree. Students will then work in teams to measure the girth of their tree and record the measurement on their charts. The teacher and TL will circulate, assisting students as necessary. If time allows, each group will measure and record two trees’ girths. Once back in class, each team will share their measurements and the teacher and/or TL will add them to the poster-sized chart.
Day 5: Students will visit Kings Canyon National Park for the day. Their tour guide, a National Park Service Ranger, will provide them with general information about the park. S/he will also provide them with information about the park’s preservation efforts. The students will be introduced to the concept of the preservation of the Giant Sequoias in the park as well as the preservation of other species of flora and fauna that are found within the park boundaries. The students will have the opportunity to see Giant Sequoias up close. They will have the opportunity to stand on the stump of one that was cut down before the park was formed. The students, teacher, and TL will hold hands and attempt to encircle the entire stump. They will record how many people it takes to do so and this will be added to their measurement poster back at school. (Interacting with an Expert Model)
Day 6: Students will look over their note-taking sheet from the field trip. They will be given time to add items that they might have thought of since returning from the park. The teacher and TL will each share some of their own thoughts as examples for students who struggled to complete the handout. The teacher will then tell students that now that they’ve experienced Kings Canyon National Park, they will get to learn more about preservation in this or another park. Today will be the first day of a multi-day exploration research phase. The students will have access to a variety of library print resources that the TL provides. They will also be sent to Google Classroom to access a Symbaloo that the teacher librarian has created. The Symbaloo will provide direct links to a variety of national parks that each preserves a specific flora, fauna, or geological feature. It will also include links to information about some of the flora and fauna being preserved within Kings Canyon National Park. Lastly, for the purposes of lower the affective filter of our newcomer (immigrant) students, there are links to national parks in both Mexico and El Salvador, the newcomers’ countries of origin. The students will spend Days 6 and 7 exploring all of these links, looking for the national park preservation topic that interests them the most. In order to keep them focused, the students will fill out a GO that is aligned to the Symbaloo links. The teacher and TL will monitor and assist with technical issues if they arise.
Day 7: Students will continue to explore preservation topics using the Symbaloo. They will continue to fill out the GO as they explore each link. The teacher and the TL will monitor and assist with technical issues if they arise.
Day 8: Today is the final day for exploration using the Symbaloo links. Students must turn in their completed Symbaloo GO at the end of today’s exploration session. During the final ten minutes of the class session, the TL will direct the class to Google Classroom. They will complete a Google Form in which they will identify the flora, fauna or geological structure around which they want to focus further research.
Day 9: Turning interest into a research question. Teacher and TL demonstrate and provide sentence starters.
Day 10: Today the students will begin their individual research. The teacher and TL will provide a document on Google Classroom that contains additional resource links related to the specific research topics that the students have identified. The students will use the split-screen strategy to keep the Research Journal document open on one side of the screen and
Day 11: Research continues. The teacher and teacher librarian will continue to add resources daily that they find to the list on Google Classroom.
Day 12: Research continues. Individual meetings with teacher or TL to verify that research can answer a question or to revise the question.
Day 13: Research continues today. The TL will review strategies for Google Searches. This is something the students have done all year, so it will be a very brief review. Although the teacher and TL have been providing links to specific sites for students to use, today is a day that the students can branch off and search on their own using Google.
Day 14: Today is the final day for students to complete their individual research assignments.
Day 15: Students will use Days 15 – 18 to create a presentation about their individual research topics. Today the teacher and the TL will present examples of the project choices to the students. The students will be allowed to choose from a variety of projects for their creation. The creation must highlight the need for preservation of the chosen topic. The teacher and TL will provide materials that students can use to create a poster or a diorama. The students could also choose to create a video about their topic using Flipgrid, an online video making tool to which the TL has account access. The final project that the students can choose from is a Google Slides presentation. The teacher and the TL will both assist students as needed.
Day 16: Today the students will continue to create their project. The teacher and the TL will both assist students as needed. The teacher and the TL will continue to bring in needed supplies as they are identified.
Day 17: Students will continue to create their project today. The teacher and the TL will both assist students as needed.
Day 18: Today is the final day for the creation of projects. All projects will be due at the end of this session.
Day 19: The students will present their projects in a gallery walk format. The site administration and parents will be invited to the event. Invitations will be sent home via flyers as well as through announcements on the library’s Twitter feed and Facebook page. Students will display their projects and answer questions as the guests walk through the room.
Day 20: Today the teacher and the TL will introduce the Big Think question. Students will work in their table groups to respond to the solution prompts. Although students researched different items being preserved, all of them are in some way affected by the human population.
Selma Unified School District