Wednesday, April 1, 2009

First Grade Reptiles Lesson

I used to feel uneasy when I had to have a larger than usual class in K-3. With my new tools, I look forward to these times. It gives me an opportunity to learn how to integrate the Activboard, Activotes, and Discovery Streaming into the school day. I hope that someday I have more Activboards in the school and want practical, first-hand knowledge of what can be done.

Book Fair Schedule Change
I had the entire first grade in the computer lab today. They will be going to the book fair tomorrow. Usually half of the first grade is in my lab while the other half goes to the library. The next day, the students switch and I have the half who went to the library.

What To Do?
I started by browsing Promethean Planet. I was specifically looking for a lesson designed for K-2 with Activotes. I downloaded a few lessons, but the one that caught my eye was called Discover Reptiles by Nicole Glover of Kentucky. It got my attention because I was certain that I could find a complementary video on Discovery Streaming. Reptiles are fascinating creatures. I headed over to Discovery Streaming and was not disappointed.

Discovery Streaming Reptile Choices
There were a tremendous number of choices. As you can see from the image on the right, there were 44 video clips just in the K-2 grade range. I previewed about five.

The first video that fit my need was Animal Groups: Beginning Classification (copyright 2000). I liked it because it talked about all the vocabulary in the Activstudio flip chart: turtles, lizards, crocodiles, snakes, vertebrates, scales, cold-blooded. It was a one minute 54 second clip.

The second video I chose was The Jeff Corwin Experience: Wild Animals in the City (copyright 2005). In one segment in New York, they show how a snake was left behind in an apartment and had to be collected by the animal control department. It was a ten minute clip, but we only watched the first few minutes.

Running the Class
When the students arrived, they sat in a horseshoe around the Activboard. I reviewed the Activote and explained that everyone would have at least two turns working on the board. We would write, erase, or move things on the board. I modified the original flip chart. Several slides were changed from "reveal" type items to Activote questions.

This was the second time they used the Activotes, so I made the first few questions very easy. I focused on having the students click A, B, C, D, or E to identify the snake, crocodile, turtle, lizard, and iguana. Next, the students slide vocabulary to where they thought it belonged in different sentences. They must have worked on the concept of reptiles. They were aware of the concept that reptiles are cold-blooded animals. Afterward, students erased a block to reveal the actual answer.

Next, we watched the first video and filled in the blanks about different animals on the board. Other students clicked to reveal the answer and compare it to what was written by the previous student. Before moving on to the Jeff Corwin video, I needed to review some vocabulary: rural, urban, and suburban. Those words all came up in the clip. We used the Activote to determine if the students felt we were from a farming (rural) or big city (urban) area. I talked about the word suburb and how it applied to our area. I asked who had traveled to New York and Miami.

Finally, nearing the end of our 42 minutes together, we watched the snake being bagged in the New York apartment.

Looking Forward to Opportunities
I am looking forward to more opportunities to gather the students around the Activboard and use the Activotes and Discovery Streaming. It is a great combination of products. My hope is that I will eventually have more classrooms with boards and I will have a personal understanding of what can be accomplished with students. I know the children had a fun learning experience.

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