Sunday, October 14, 2012

BATS {writing, research and craft project ideas aligned with the Common Core}

You know that phrase, "taking one for the team?" 

Well, that about summarizes my week in the classroom.

Because good gosh do I find bats to be hideous creatures. It physically pains me to look at them. You can only imagine how I feel about reading about their creepy finger/thumb-like things and their sharp little teeth. It makes me want to rock in the fetal position.

But, my class is way into researching them and I find that guided research at this time of year really paves the path for independent animal research throughout the year (which is a fabulous ongoing project-based option for your early finishers)

And that level of interest translates into engaged reading and writing activities that the kiddos are super interested in and motivated by. So I've been "taking one for the team"and am in full on Batgirl mode.

Last year I introduced research and main idea/details and tons of writing skills through a study of spiders (check out last week's blog post about it to see lots of cool spider craft ideas as well). I loved doing that one because it tied in so well with our reading of Charlotte's Web and our study of Doreen Cronin and her fun Diary of a ____ series.

I wanted to do something different this year and have been capitalizing on my students' Halloween giddiness so bats made sense.

I introduced the topic in a fun way. I gave each of my friends a piece of black construction paper and told them to fold it in half. I guided them on how to tear off pieces of paper without telling them what it was all about. As I learned with my Mystery Mail inferencing activity, this class LOVES suspense and it really gets them into a topic. I enjoyed listening to their ideas about what we were doing. Finally I had them open the paper and revealed that we would be learning about bats. I used their paper bats to decorate our anchor chart and began to collect schema on Post-It Notes

In addition to the full-color (translation chock full of yucky bat close-up pics) non-fiction books shown above, I also gave each friend their own copy of Bats (downloaded with a free trial from reading a to z) to use for research. 

While I met with small focus groups to work on two-column notetaking skills, my other friends worked with partners to complete graphic organizers {Bats can...Bats are...Bats have...}. These are popular as class charts with younger learners, but they are also wonderful ways to get older learners to collect facts and organize their writing.  



We'll continue "going batty" this coming week as we draft, revise and publish. I'm going to use a whole bunch of different pages from my Bat Writing Packet to meet the varied needs of my students. The packet is Common Core aligned and includes both color and ink-saving versions of each page with templates and organizes that have been modified to be used with students in grades K-5. 

{click to access and download Bats:A Research & Writing Packet for K-5}

The packet also includes titles for an easy bat bulletin board as well as covers to use for class books or individual student books. After we complete the writing portion, we always "publish" our work with a craft. Below are some neat project ideas that I rounded up from around the web. You can find even more bat project ideas on my Pinterest Boards.

{click to access and download Bats:A Research & Writing Packet for K-5}

 Bat Craft  Ideas to Complement Writing Projects:







{all photo sources: via Pinterest}



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7 comments:

  1. I actually like bats. Last year we compared Stellaluna and Zipping, Zapping, Zooming Bats. Maybe I'll ask permission to do that this year the week of Halloween and use your Bat Product! We are using Treasures with "fidelity" this year, so I will ask first!

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    1. We're reading Stellaluna this week. I actually teach using Treasures as well. I did this during Week 3 which is a non-fiction piece with main idea as the focus. It was nice to extend the skills into this project. :) Jodi

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  2. I love these ideas!! Thanks so much for sharing!

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    1. Thanks Kelly! I hope you found something to use. :) Jodi

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  3. Great ideas! I'm excited to work with my students on bats. I picked up a copy of Gail Gibbons Bats, and too have the a-z nonfiction book. Could you share some tips about how you introduce your students to two-column note taking?

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  5. I am doing this project with my students now, and they are loving it! Thanks!

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