Thursday, July 11, 2013

Biome-Ecosystem Wheels

I have a year "under my belt" for grades 1-4 with MVCA, which uses the K12 curriculum.  Overall, the curriculum is lovely.  I have no concerns about the children covering everything they need to.  However, there seemed to be so much “paper”.  Not all that fun for learning coach or teacher.  Unfortunately, with the first year and 6 kiddos here, on top of not knowing what each curriculum entailed, we had time (and energy) for only the required assignments.  I don’t really want that to be the case this next year.

I’ve been working on creating Science Unit binders for C., who is going into 3rd grade.  I expect he will become very independent this next year…as long as I’m organized and we follow a very specific daily schedule with him. (A little lesson I learned last year is do a little in every subject every day.  That makes units be completed more quickly and they have a better retention rate when it comes to unit checkpoints.)  My goal for C. is to allow him to go forward with Science on his own easily and also create a binder for his work so that we could all enjoy it.  He loves to share any new found information/facts.  I started History binders last year and it fell by the wayside because most of the printables in the history curriculum were coloring sheets and that did NOT keep their interest.  However, the little we did do…they loved to go back and look at it.  

Biome/Ecosystem Wheels  
One of the activities for Science3- Unit 3:  Ecosystems- is to read through several nonfiction books about various biomes.  They have a book about the Tundra, Boreal Forest, Temperate Deciduous Forest, Tropical Rain Forest, Desert, and Grassland/Prairie.  I actually have most of them recorded on the laptop because they weren’t “easy reading” for last year’s 3rd grade student.  However, I think C. will be able to handle them fine.  We’ll fall back on the recordings if we need too.  I found the “research and note taking” okay…it's a good skill to learn...just wasn't very intriguing.  So we are taking a different approach to it for this year…something visually appealing for the binder. 

I got the idea from a teacher from the 
This is an example of what that class did.
This was an upper elementary or even middle school class.  

However, Mr. C. does NOT care for anything ‘artsy’.  He’s getting better little by little, but it’s not something he willingly does.  If I was doing this with his brother I’d give him the 2 blank circles to create his own wheel, organize it on his own, etc.  Goes to prove that each one is so different and that is a-okay! 
So here is the version I’m going to provide for him, printed on cardstock…one wheel for each book.  He’ll probably balk at decorating the top of the wheel in a way that represents the biome, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.  No reason why we can’t google and print some images and make more a collage.  I think that overall it will be visually appealing for him. After he gets the first one done and he’ll be more willing to do the other ones.  I also think it will appeal to his sense of organization and it’ll help him know what the point of reading the book is about…what information should be gleaned from the book.  It’ll also make him feel important and work on some of those presentation skills when we take the time to have him share the wheels with the rest of the group.

It's not "perfect" as I just eyeballed the lines to create the wheel but it will suit our purposes just fine.  If you want a copy, feel free do download for your own personal use.

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