Grade: Elementary
Subject: Science

#2092. Animals in Winter - part 2

Science, level: Elementary
Posted Thu Dec 28 20:20:39 PST 2000 by Lisa/3/CT (
Lebanon Elementary School, CT

Plan of Activities:
This is a suggested timeline of activities. Each activity should take approximately 45 minutes to one hour. While the nonfiction material should be done in this order, other activities can be integrated throughout the unit of study. Some activities may take more than one day or class period to complete.

Activity 1
Focus: There are three main ways animals survive the winter - migration, hibernation, adaptation
Reading Material: "Winter's Coming" song (Mailbox, Dec/Jan, 97-98)
Format - independent reading with whole group discussion
Introduction: activate schema - What do students know about animals in winter? Have students share a few ideas with the whole group, then take out Type 1 journals. Give 5 minutes to write down everything you know about how animals survive the winter. Can write about what they do, specific animals, etc. Can write questions they have, if they run out of information before time is up. (minimum of 3 things they know). Briefly share ideas with whole group. May choose to start a KWL chart.
Activity: read song independently
Purpose for reading - find out ways animals survive winter
Discussion - As students identify the ways the animals in the song survive the winter, introduce the words hibernate, migrate and adapt, as they relate to the song. Did anyone write about these things in their Type 1 books? Can also look for Very Important Words as a summary - which words do you think are most important for today? (extension: Can also discuss rhyme, describing words, action words)
Closure - review vocabulary and start topic board (an ongoing visual representation of what students have learned) by adding cards with words hibernation, migration and adapt; sing song in different ways (chorally, in a round, etc); illustrate song for their poetry folder

Activity 2
Focus - activating schema
Reading Material - excerpt from online newsletter, "How Do Animals Survive the Winter?", or other piece.
Format - independent
Introduction - Sing song from yesterday and discuss again what students already know about this topic. What questions do they have? Explain to students that it is important for good readers to think about what they are reading as they are reading it. Show coding strategy:
+ new information I already knew this ? I'm not sure about this ! Wow!
Explain to students that as they read, they are to stop after each paragraph and mark a code in the margin. Model this first with the beginning paragraph of the piece to be read.
Purpose for Reading - to think about what you already know about animals in winter and what your reactions are to each part of the piece
Activity - Students read the piece independently and code. They can share with a partner before coming back to the group.
Discussion - What did you think? Which parts did you already know? Did anything confuse you? What was new information? How did this strategy help you understand the text better? Did everyone have the same codes? Why not?
Closure - encourage students to use this strategy when they read other texts, even if they have to do it in their heads because they cannot write in the book.

Activity 3
Focus - What do the words migrate, hibernate and adapt mean?
Reading Material - What Do Animals Do in Winter booklet (Teacher's Helper, N/D/J, 97-98)
Format - ERT (Everyone Read to ______) (similar to DR-TA, Vacca & Vacca, p8.); whole group
Introduction - review ways animals survive the winter. What do those words mean? Do Write/Pair/Share. Students write their definitions of these three words in journals. Ask students to share their ideas, first with a person sitting near them, then with the whole group. (ongoing assess - How much do they know? How detailed are their responses?)
Purpose for Reading - to find out what the words migrate, hibernate and adapt mean
Activity - identify purpose for reading
p1-2: ERT find out what migrate means
p 3-5: ERT what hibernate means; How is the way a bear hibernates different from the way a frog hibernates (introduce the term "dormant" to refer to animals you do not sleep soundly when hibernating)
p6-8: ERT ways that animals adapt (camouflage, staying in home, warmer coat)
students complete booklet independently by gluing animals pictures to corresponding information
Discussion - Again ask students what the three words mean. Record their information and develop a dictionary-like definition for each term (hibernate, migrate, adapt, dormant). (Can refer to real dictionary to see how entry is set up). Add definitions to topic board. How do these definitions differ from what you wrote in the beginning? Anything the same?
Closure - students can reread their completed books with a partner

Activity 4
Focus: name at least two different animals for each category: hibernator, migrator, and adaptor
Reading Material: Animals in Winter, H. Bancroft (ISBN: 0064451658); What Do Animals Do in Winter?, M. Berger (ISBN: 1571020411)
Format: partners, with independent reading
Introduction: Review definitions up on board from Activity 2. What animals do students know that do each of these things? (Can be done as brainstorming whole class, in Type 2 journals, or as sign-in for morning message)
Purpose for reading: to categorize each animal as a hibernator, migrator or adaptor
Activity: (MODEL ALL STEPS FIRST - You can use student volunteers to show what each partner should do during reading) Students work in pairs, first choosing how much of the book to read at once. (Demonstrate how to figure out where information about each animal begins and ends). Predict which category you think the animal belongs in and why. Students then read text independently. After both partners have finished reading, they discuss which category the animal fits in and why. Record on information sheet. Continue same process for each animal, until completing the book.
Discussion: Have ready index cards with animal names (or pictures) on them. As you hold up one animals' card, students must decide which category the animal fits in - hibernator, migrator or adaptor. Ask students to defend their answers with information from the book and from the definitions. Do Think/Pair/Share - students think for themselves which category the animal belongs in and why, then shares their thinking with a partner, then with the whole group. Pin the cards under the correct category.
Closure: Review knowledge so far about animals in winter. Did you learn anything new from what you wrote in your Type 1 book on Activity 1? Did we talk about anything you wrote that was incorrect?

Activity 5
Focus - Locating information using table of contents and index
Reading Material - selection of texts; scavenger hunt list (see Appendix for ideas)
Format - partner or independent (student choice)
Introduction - Return to topic board and review information so far. Now we'll see if we can add more information about different animals. Students will go on a "Book Scavenger Hunt" and be reading detectives. They need to locate specific information about different animals. Bring out a book with a table of contents and index. Review (or introduce) how to use these to find information in the book. Show students a copy of the scavenger hunt list and work together to locate the first two pieces of information. (an overhead copy of the list and recording sheet would be helpful.)
Purpose for Reading - to locate information about how certain animals spend the winter
Activity - Students can work independently or with a partner to locate information. They record their findings on the teacher-made recording sheet.
Discussion - Return to the group and share information. Add to topic board as you go along. Ask students how they found the information.
Closure - Review topic board and preview tomorrow's activity.

Activity 6
Focus - details regarding what specific animals do in winter
Reading Material: same as Activity 4
Format: independent reading
Introduction: Review topic board so far. Identify purpose for reading today. What are details?
Purpose for reading: to locate and record at least two details about what 4 different animals do to survive the winter
Activity: (Again, model this task thoroughly first. The overhead prjector is a good tool to use.) Students choose 4 different animals from their book - one hibernator, one migrator, one adaptor and one of their choice. Record animal names in the first column. Record the category for each animal in the second column. Starting with the first animal, students locate that information in the text and read to find at least two details. Details must be about the animal in winter and must be in the book, not something they "just know." Model how to take notes by writing just words and phrases, not complete sentences. Repeat for each animal.
Discussion: Join together as a class to share details found on each animal. Teacher writes details to post next to each animal's name on topic board.
Closure: Can play "Name That Animal" to briefly review what was learned. Teacher (or another student) uses information on the board to form a question for others to answer. Can also discuss new information learned that day.

Activity 7
Focus - migrating animals
Reading Material: Migrating Animals booklet
Format - independent
Introduction: ask about animals that migrate; do they all fly? How else could animals migrate? Why do they migrate?
Purpose for reading: identify animals that migrate and why
Activity: complete migration booklet on own, read to partner
Discussion: identify animals that migrate - were any mentioned in the beginning? Why do animals migrate? (warmer temps, food)
Closure: add info to the animals in winter chart

Activity 8
Focus: hibernating animals
Reading Material: "Hibernation" song; hibernation graph sheet; Do Not Disturb
Format: independent
Introduction: which animals hibernate? Where do they hibernate? Why?
Purpose for reading: identify animals that hibernate, where they sleep and what happens to their bodies; use strategies to figure out unknown words; using information to create a graph
Activity: Use "Hibernation" poem for "Guess the Covered Word", a cloze activity (on overhead). Some of the words in the poem are missing and students must decide which words make sense in the sentence and why. The focus is on using rhyme, song pattern and context clues. Students can read the song independently and write words they think are missing, then share as whole group. Or, do as a whole group activity, then sing together.
Read aloud info from Do Not Disturb, focusing on what happens to animals when they hibernate and how dormant or "light sleepers" differ from true hibernators
complete hibernation graph activity sheet together
Discussion: what is the difference between true hibernators and light sleepers? (Write/Pair/Share) Share what you know about hibernators that you didn't know before.
Closure: illustrate poem and add info to topic board

Activity 9
Focus: reading to learn
Reading Material: Animals in Winter website
Format: independent
Introduction: Review topic board.
Purpose for reading: locate information about what specific animals do in winter
Activity: Read slide show on site and take quiz (Students may need help learning how to navigate through the site.)
Discussion: feedback on site; how did you do on quiz?
Closure: How will we share our knowledge of this unit and show what we've learned - ideas for assessment?

Activity 10
Focus: Response Circles
Reading Material: multiple copies of A Little Bit of Winter, Time to Sleep, Wake Me in Spring and Winter, or four other fictional books about animals in winter.
Format: small group
Introduction: Now that we've learned about animals in winter by reading nonfiction, we can extend our reading and read some fictional stories about the same topics. How is reading fiction different from reading nonfiction? (If students have not had experience reading different types of genres this would be a good time to go into detail about ways the two genres are similar and different.)
Purpose for reading: enjoyment and personal response
Activity: (The book selection part of the activity may need to be done at an earlier time so groups can be formed and be ready for the reading.) Do a quick booktalk about each of the books. Share a synopsis of the story and read a favorite part. Students should be thinking about which story they would like to read. Students make their choices by filling out a book slip and indicating their first, second and third choice. Explain that you will try to make sure everyone gets either their first or second choice, but that all the books will be available to read at a later time. Students are then grouped according to the book they selected and each group member is given a number, 1-4. (If there are more than four people in the group, start over again with #1.) Students are to decide in their group how they will read (chorally, partner reading, independently, etc.) Once the decision is made, students read the book and prepare a response (oral or written) depending on the number they were given. (#1 - talk about your favorite part of the story and why you liked it; #2 - share a connection you made (text-to-self, text-to-text or text-to-world); #3 - share a part that gave you a great picture in your head and talk about what you saw; #4 - talk about what you thought about one of the characters and support your opinion with information from the book. After all groups have finished reading and preparing a response, students can be grouped in various ways to talk about their books. They should first stay in their own groups and share their responses, but then can group themselves by number and share their thoughts. This gives students the opportunity to hear about all four books.
Discussion: Have selected members of each group share their responses. Can also do a jigsaw where group members switch after a certain time. What did you think of the story? What interested you in any of the other 3 stories?
Closure: leave books out for future independent reading

Activity 11
Focus: Readers Theater
Reading Material: Readers Theater scripts, based on the 4 books read the previous day
(Developing readers theater scripts is a great activity for students. Students can create scripts from any book with a good amount of dialogue and more than one character. Creating the scripts could be a separate activity, done prior to this one.)
Format: small groups (same as previous activity)
Introduction: Ask students to briefly review what each book was about. Focus on the characters in each story and how they might act. Explain to students that they will be doing a readers theater version of their stories. (If students have not had experience doing readers theater they may need to have this explained in more detail.) What is the best way to read during this time? (fluently and with expression). Why is it important to use expression? How do you decide what expression to use?
Purpose for reading: fluency and expression
Activity: Students return to their book groups and sit in a circle. Each student has a copy of the script. Group members decide together on roles and begin reading the story, encouraging each other to use as much expression as possible. After groups have read the script through a few times, invite them to read through the story for the rest of the class.
Discussion: After each group reads, share positive comments on the reading and favorite parts.
Closure: Scripts can be left out for students to read at their leisure.

Activity 12
(This activity was developed fully for another graduate class on writing. It is part of this unit and is excerpted here, in a form that differs from the previous activity outlines. Teachers will need to modify the activities and explanations for their group of students, dependent on the form the writing will take, ex. book, website, etc.)
Focus: writing an expository paragraph
Reading Material: various nonfiction books, magazines and articles on animals in winter
Format: independent
Introduction: (This activity was previously done in slide show form as part of an online project in response to the story, Keep Looking, by Miriam Selsam. Future students may decide to write paragraphs for a student created book on animals in winter, or for another reason. The introduction to the activity will be based on these reasons.
Purpose and audience: Students discussed the purpose of their slide show and who would be viewing it. They decided their writing had to be easy to read (since younger students may be viewing the site) and clear. Their information had to be accurate and interesting. The students also decided to include an illustration with each informational slide on the site.
Characteristics of expository writing: Students then discussed and analyzed the differences and similarities between informational writing, newspaper reporting, recipes and fictional writing - all forms of writing they had used in the past. The students brainstormed the defining characteristics of expository writing and listed them.
Pocket chart activity: Students were introduced to a paragraph on snakes. Each sentence was written on a different color sentence strip. The topic sentence was blue, the three details were pink and the summary sentence was red. Students reviewed their list of defining characteristics and matched them to these parts of the paragraph. They formed their own definitions of topic sentence, details and summary sentence and discussed the purpose of these three parts. Small groups of students were then given another informational paragraph to read. The parts in this paragraph however, were mixed up. It became the students' job to sequence the sentences correctly and identify the topic sentence, details and summary sentence. Students checked each others work and read their final paragraphs to the group.
Graphic organizer: Students were now ready to apply what they had learned about expository writing to their own pieces. Each student was given a large piece of chart paper with a blank graphic organizer on it. The boxes on the organizer were color-coded to match the sentence strips in the previous activity (blue - topic sentence, pink - details, red - summary sentence). Students used the animal they had researched to fill in information on the graphic organizer. First, students shared ideas for topic sentences. Then students used the charts they had previously created to add three supporting details about their animal. Finally, ideas for summary sentences were shared. Students worked on their own organizers, using ideas from class discussions and facts from their charts.
Type 3 writing and FCA's: Students now took their organizer and used it to write an expository paragraph about what their animal did in winter. The FCA's (focus areas) were as follows:
1. 30 pts: (6 pts each) topic sentence, 3 details, summary sentence
2. 10 pts: proper indentation at the beginning of the paragraph
3. 20 pts: CUPS (capitals, understanding, punctuation, spelling)
The students worked to develop this rubric of points to assess their work. They shared their work with a friend and checked for the 3 FCA's before turning in their pieces.
Sentence variety: As an extension to this writing activity, students were asked to highlight the first word of each of their sentences, then read only those words aloud. Many noticed that their sentences all started the same way. Students then brainstormed a list of possible beginnings for their sentences, and were asked to try to fix what they could. Because this was an extension activity, students were not expected to master this, and it was not included in the FCA's for the piece.
Illustrations: Students then worked to create their illustrations for their paragraphs. They listed all important details they needed to include, and discussed the importance of focus in their pictures.
Publishing: Students shared their finished work with another second grade class. Their work was then typed and their pictures scanned and posted on the project website.

Activity 13
Focus: making connections
Reading Material: multiple copies of The Big Snow, by Berta and Elmer Hader
Format: partners
Introduction: (This activity assumes students have had experience with a strategy study on making connections.) Review some of the strategies good readers use when reading, including making connections. Briefly discuss connections between texts, to yourself and with what you know. Explain to students that today they will be focusing on text-to-world connections, based on what they have learned about animals in winter.
Purpose for reading: make text-to-world connections
Activity: Students work with a partner to read the book together. Because this is a more difficult text, partner choral reading is suggested. After each double page spread, students are to reflect on what they have read and discuss any text-to-world connections they have made. Students will each be given 3 sticky notes to mark places they made connections. They will share these connections later. Start by doing a modeling session with everyone in a whole group. Read the first page out loud and do a think aloud so students can "see" what you are thinking as you read. Focus on making connections between what you read and what you know about animals in winter. For example, after reading the line, "The wild geese were flying south." You might talk about how you know geese migrate in the fall, so it must be fall time in the story. The idea is to connect information that you know with what you are reading. Read the rest of the page, thinking aloud as you go. Read the next 2 pages, doing the same thing. Remind students that they are to do the same thing you did and they have only 3 sticky notes to use. They will have to choose 3 of their "best" connections to share. Students break into pairs and read, noting connections they make.
Discussion: Invite students back as a whole group and do a Think/Pair/Share, sharing connections they made. Come back together as a group and invite students to share connections. How did those connections help you understand the story better?
Closure: Do a round of "Pass the Book." Students sit in a circle and pass a copy of the book around the circle. Each student takes a turn sharing something about the book - a favorite part, something they noticed, etc.

Activity 14
Focus - categorization; activating schema
Reading Material: multiple copies of Keep Looking, by Miriam Selsam
Format - partners, with whole group discussions
Introduction: Show students the cover of the book. What do they notice? Read the title and the summary on the back. What is the book about? What are some words you would expect to see in this story? Why? How about some you would not see? Explain to students that they will be doing a Word Sort today, using words that will be in the story. How will talking about words in the story help them understand better when they are reading?
Activity: Choose between one of the word sorts. Students work in partners to sort the words they are given before reading the story. Share ideas with the whole class.
- What's In?/What's Out?: Students are given cards with 12 - 16 words on them. These words might be in the story, or they might not. Students work with their partner to sort the words into three categories, words that they think are in the story, words they do not think are in the story and words they are not sure of. After everyone is done, share ideas and reasons for selecting categories.
- Categories: Students are given 12-16 words and are asked to sort the words into 3 categories. Teachers may wish to state the categories ahead of time (ex. Animals, places, action words) or to let students develop their own categories. Share ideas after everyone is done. Were all the group ideas the same?
Discussion: share opinions about the book, including favorite images created by words (this can be an activity in itself for a second reading. Have students reread the book and mark 2-3 sections with sticky notes in which they made "pictures in their heads." Discuss the imagery.)
Closure: add book to book basket for future reading

Plan for Assessment
Authentic assessment of any unit should be ongoing. The form of assessment often reflects the talents and interests of the students being assessed. For this reason, a variety of assessment strategies are presented. Teachers may choose one of these strategies, or develop one of their own, in response to the needs of the group. It is expected that for each assessment, students will demonstrate knowledge of the concept being taught and/or growth in understanding over time. The rubrics for assessment developed with the students will contain guidelines specific to that activity.

Informal Ongoing Assessments:
Type 1 / 2 journals: These are brainstorming journals designed to give students a chance to share their ideas informally. Students should reflect on entries in these journals throughout their study to see how their ideas are changing and evolving as new information is presented.
Discussion: Whole group and small groups discussions also provide important anecdotal information as a form of informal assessment.

End-of-Unit Assessment Ideas:
Kid Pix slide show: Students work with the computer teacher to research information for, design and create a slide show done in Kid Pix. A rubric should be developed at the start of the project detailing what is expected. Examples may include: a plan sheet, a title page, one page each with information on an animal that hibernates, migrates and adapts, pictures that relate to the text, etc. It is most beneficial if the students work with the teacher to develop the rubric for assessment.
Artist Rendition with Verbal Explanation: Students may choose to show what they have learned by drawing a detailed picture (in any medium) of a scene showing animals in winter. Students are also responsible for sharing the information in their pictures. For example, part of the picture may be an animal hibernating. The picture would clearly show where the animal spends the winter, how its body has adapted to winter sleep, etc. Many students are more able to show what they know in pictures than in words (writing). This assessment gives them that opportunity.
Student Created Book : Students may choose to combine writing and drawing by creating their own book on animals in winter, showcasing what they have learned. Again, a student developed rubric is essential in maintaining student ownership of the project.
"I Used to Think . . .": This assessment is a great way for students to reflect on how their thinking has changed over the course of the unit. Students are asked to look over their journal entries and fill in the following frame: "I used to think _____________ but now I know _________." The group can decide how many to do.

In any classroom, flexibility is the key. Although each day's activity builds on the previous day's learning, it is important to build in opportunities for students who have missed class time to catch up on what was done. This may include small group work with a volunteer or peer coaching. Modifications will need to be made for students with IEPs, and those with other learning needs. The teacher should sit down with all support staff involved in the child's learning to develop objectives and modify activities to best suit that child's learning style and needs. Care must also be taken in forming book groups and pairing students to read together. It is best to pair a struggling reader with one who is "average", rather than a child who is a fantastic reader. It is up to the teacher to form groups according to known learning styles, abilities and social needs in his or her classroom.

It is expected that there will be a small percentage of students who do not master the objectives of this unit. The teacher should look at each child individually and decide if more small group work with certain concepts is necessary, or if modification of the objectives is needed. Students may need an alternate way to show their learning, or need more time for activities. Many of the language arts activities in this unit involve objectives that students are
not expected to master at this time. These are year-long objectives and the experiences in this unit are meant to provide students with the opportunity to practice these skills and strategies.