During a two week period, I used non-fiction and fiction DRA books used in guided reading tocreate and integrated lesson on animals and their habitats. This unit coincided with a whole grade first gradeproject during which each student selected an animal and researched how many teeth it had and how it used itsteeth. Their results were then written in a final format, illustrated and published in a hard back book. First gradescience standards covered during this two week period included those related to diversity of life. During this unit, students also had math content integrated (they had to organize a set of animalcards in order from lowest weight to greatest weight (ordinal numbers), students acted out math word problemsthat were completed as a whole group. Students also practiced basic addition math facts while playing anaddition fishing game. English and Language arts content was integrated through writing sentences (students wereencouraged to write sentences containing the same number of words as their age) using a list of animal names.Students also had to complete and animal investigation during which they illustrated their favoriteanimal, completed writing prompts about that animal (ex. My animal is larger than a ______, My animal issmaller than a ______, The color of my animal is ________, and My animal lives________.). Multiple non-fictionbooks were provided for students to complete this “research paper”.
During this lesson, students used whatthey learned about maps from reading Me on the Mapby Joan Sweeney (from their basal readers) to constructa map of their community. This activity met First GradeSocial Studies content standards for location. During this month, students alsoreceived post cards from various members of theirfamily and friends (a letter had been sent homerequesting these to be sent to school). We had mail callseveral times a week and marked (using stickers) on amap places from which all of our classmates receivedletters. We also created a map of our classroomindicating where everything was located. Each studenttook a turn writing their name on the location of theirdesk. The map was displayed in the classroom.
Lessons on symbols of America were tiedinto President’s Day. These lessons integrated to meetSocial Studies content standards, English and LanguageArts standards and Math standards. At the initiation of the symbols of Americalesson, prior knowledge was accessed to determinewhich symbols of America students were familiar withand whether they had visited any of them. Then,students were read some short books on some of thevarious symbols to see if we could add to our list ofsymbols. Following this, students were asked to come upwith some possible ideas for a new symbol of America.Results were recorded on a T-chart. The student work show here was theresult of a New Literacies in Education activity duringwhich each table grouping was given one of the booksused to describe a symbol of America. They were given abin of various art materials and asked to work togetheras a group to create their interpretation of their assignedsymbol. Students, as a group, were then given theopportunity to describe their symbol to the rest of theclass. During this week, students were alsoassigned a writing prompt . “If you could make a newsymbol for America what would it be? Why?” Studentswere asked to write at least 3 sentences and encouragedto use at least as many words in each sentence as theirage. Students also illustrated their writings.