Saturday, April 9, 2011

Earth Day

Every April, I target a unit surrounding Earth Day.  Many students work on an Earth Day topic and I pick different goals for each student. The app that I often associate with lessons is called Oil Spill Clean Up. For all groups, we work on our targeted skill for the majority of the session.  Common goals include defining higher level vocabulary, explaining concept associations (how Earth Day concepts are related), answering how/why questions, identifying causes and effects, or articulation practice. Next, we talk about oil spills, such as the BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.  Again, we target cause/effect and brainstorming what effect the oil spill might have on species, who would help those species, and other problems/solutions.  For the app, the students need to clean up the trash and then clean their animal specie of oil as fast as possible.  The animal then makes a noise to indicate it is clean and ready to be which point you shake the iPad.  This app is great for students who need to scan the entire screen (vs. only looking at one small area).  It is also very well suited for small groups as it requires teamwork.  For social skill groups, the students need to help each other scan and then also use eye contact and whole body listening before passing the iPad to the next communication partner. It has been a GREAT hit with ALL students...aged 6 years through 14 years!  The older students are interested in taking data on how many species they saved...also, several wanted to know what the name of the animal was, so we looked on line and did a quick compare/contrast lesson.  Other mini-lessons included: identifying/describing environmental jobs.

App:   Oil Spill Clean Up

Other Apps used with Earth Day unit: Recycle,  Erika Knows Green, Green Planet 4 Kids, Go Wind, Four Seasons, Climate A2Z, Litter Bug.  I am in the process of adding even more!

Erika Knows Green :  Water Conservation: A cute, simple, read-me book about how kids should recycle.

Seasons: A semi-interactive book that looks at some earth day concepts and the seasons.

Go Wind: A model of a wind turbine...when you blow on the microphone of the iPad, the blades spin faster.  It was a fun and good-feedback app for a student working on breathstream management. I bought ZAGG foam cleaner which is supposed to clean the iPad safely and is antibacterial. 

Litter Bug Lite: A very simple sorting game...a ladybug places either trash or recycle items in appropriate bins.  I did not buy the full version, I just have the lite.

Global Warming A2Z for Global Warming: This app goes through different environmental concepts based on alphabet letters.  Some nice pictures and mid to high-level comprehension possibilities. Tasks I address include: defining words, stating sentences about pictures, explaining cause/effect, and summarizing.

NOTE: The first  picture above is of my white board at work.  For the lesson, I write several words and draw some pictures on the white board.  I ask questions targeting: topic, predictions, background knowledge.  The students then read a short paragraph about Earth Day, recycling, reducing, and reusing. After the passage, they need to identify the main idea: Taking Care of Earth; and supporting details: reduce, reuse, recycle. Next, they must define each word by using key words. We then list items or ways to help in each of the areas.  For each item listed, the student must tell me the effect (reusable shopping bags...effect = less garbage in landfills, etc).  We also talk about how the terms are associated with each other.  This is a great unit for synthesizing the many goals they have worked on throughout the year.  We conclude the lesson with playing the app called Oil Spill Clean Up.  The other pics are some of the ideas and activities that I use to incorporate our Earth Day theme.

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