Friday, March 23, 2012

Earth Day 2012

Earth Day is one of my favorite themes throughout the year.  It offers opportunities for great vocabulary, discussions, and a wide array of other language skills. This was my post from last year, Earth Day 2011, and while I'll be using some of the same apps and materials this year, I have some new ideas for Earth Day 2012!
With the movie release of "The Lorax" this year, I decided to include Lorax-themed materials.   Most of my students, ages 4 years through 14 years will do various tasks related to Earth Day...from articulation words pasted on to mini-Earths to higher level reading passages to role play/social skills.  I have been using Earth Day to target Speech/Language goals for quite a few years.  Some students, who have worked with me for several years, begin asking me what this year's Earth Day theme will be and get so excited when I reveal clues.  I think that is so awesome.  The students practice asking me questions and looking at clues to see if they can guess the theme. This in itself is a really great language goal.  I typically begin talking about this unit after St. Patrick's Day. This is a huge unit for me, so I will only include a few of my favorite lessons and ideas.

Incentive Charts, Door Decorations, etc.:
I begin by having the students pick an incentive chart from clip art that I collect from google images.  Last year, the students all had an Earth.  This year, each student picked a 'bumper sticker' with a message or catchy phrase. The 'bumper sticker' wall is pictured below. If appropriate, the student needed to tell me what their bumper sticker saying meant, ex: 'Earth Day Rocks!' with a guitar picture--multiple meaning word and play on the word 'rocks'.  Some of the students helped me search for images, which was part of lesson targeting listing word associations for Earth Day.
An important note...since Earth Day is all about recycling, reducing, and reusing...the students and I discuss ways to either reuse or recycle my 'decor'.  The students usually either take their incentive charts home or put them in their lockers.  
 I needed to take a picture further away in order to keep names obscured. Not all of my students had selected incentive charts when I took the picture, my caseload is much higher than that!

This is part of a display that I made several years ago, we discuss the sayings.  I usually point out that I used recycled cardboard for the background, an example or 'reusing' materials.  Again, I try to reincorporate how I am reusing items, this was my door display last year...but now has a new use on my interior wall.

Some of my students like to predict what theme I will use on my door.  I change the theme throughout the year, and usually do something seasonal or with a message/lesson. Every year, I incorporate Earth Day.  This year, I used The Lorax for obvious reasons! I liked the idea because the students were able to use their background knowledge to make predictions, inferences, etc.  Again, with the underlying theme being: reduce, reuse, recycle...the students are allowed to take apart my door decoration each year...they can pick a piece to cut apart and add to their locker or take home.

Some Materials that I have Made: 

Lorax Games
 I found images of the Lorax (left).  I made sets for: vocabulary, synonyms/antonyms, wh- questions for conversation starters, and articulation sets.  Some students were given 'home' games for articulation practice. I love my envelope games!  I put all of my games in these envelopes for easy storage (I put a pic on the front for easy reference). They are easy to send home as well!  I will reuse these games in future paper waste!!!

Here is another game that I made (right)...again, I have a few versions.  The image below is for formulating sentences.  I also have versions for: articulation, grammar (past tense verbs that go with the Lorax), vocabulary from the Lorax, comprehension questions from the Lorax, etc.

Truffula Trees!
 I found a set of printable Truffula Tree cards, I was going to use these, but opted to go with a set I had made instead.  These could be used to make a board game or envelope game though as well!  Could be used for Bingo or a ton of other fun games!

Lorax Yourself!!!
After each student is turned into the Lorax (with the Lorax app...puts a mustache on the person's face), the student comes up with their own Lorax statement: If you were the Lorax, what would your message to others be?  Once I have compiled their statements, I will put them on my door with their Lorax photos (Again, I can't put a picture of my students, but they really enjoy seeing their face with the Lorax mustache!  They also have so far enjoyed reading what other students have said.)  Here is iTunes stock photo of a person with the Lorax 'stache!!!  I cut and put all of my students pictures on my door.

More Truffulas!
I searched for "Lorax material" and found the above images of Truffula Trees. I saved and enlarged the images.  I use these for vocabulary words...the students take turns tossing a penny on the paper. They need to use the word on the tree in a sentence (each word earns points).  The image above is for /s/ blends.  Instead of a penny, I had the student use airflow (blowing) to move the cotton ball onto different truffula trees. A nice oral motor component!

I also have a large collection of worksheets and printables, including ones that I found on-line as well as ones that I have created.  I bring in examples of items that can be recycled, items that are made from recycled products, items that can be reused, and items that should be reduced.  We use these for a variety of activities, such as describing, explaining cause/effect, etc.

Here are a list of iPad apps that I use:

Truffula Shuffula: match truffula trees, similar to Bejeweled Blitz.  I use this app as an incentive/game in between turns or at the end of the session.  If in pairs or in a group, the students each are allowed 1 move, thus working as a group to achieve a high score.  We will be keeping score on a chart, each group will be responsible for deciding on a group/team name.  So far, we came up with a few: Team Truffula, Super Lorax, and The Truffula Seeds. The stduents can also help their teammates 'scan' for sequences of Truffulas! This is a nice opportunity to practice/discuss social skills: turn taking, appropriate comments, not overtaking a situation, giving appropriate help to a friend, etc.

The Lorax: book, we listen to the book.  I ask comprehension questions targeting: basic details, meanings of words, figurative language, predictions/inferences, problem/solution, etc.We also compare the book and the move (most of my students have recently seen the movie).

The Lorax App: Take pictures of yourself/students with the Lorax mustache! Students who wanted to have their picture taken were able to do so and we put them on my door with a Lorax theme. Each students generates a Lorax Statement about how they will help Earth.  They write their statement in conversation bubbles and I attach the conversation bubble to their picture.  I do not have a picture of this part of my dorr due to student confidentiality.  You can also use this app to make the Lorax talk (similar to Talking Tom Cat).

Lorax Garden:  I have this app, but it isn't my favorite and I have not used it extensively.

Go Wind: A windmill, when you blow on the microphone on the iPad, the windmill increases in speed based on airflow.  It isn't perfect, sometimes it spins on it's own; but, it is a nice addition to the oral motor part of a session. You can demonstrate increased and sustained airflow. I also have toy windmills (pinwheels) that I bring out.

Make Dice: Earth Day vocabulary lists that I make into dice

Clean the Gulf: This app provides information about the Deep Horizon Oil Spill.  I use this app for answering questions about informational text. I also use this app paired with document-based news articles and the students do a compare/contrast activity.

Oceans:  This is another app that I use for informational text.  The students must use the information to answer higher level comprehension questions, critical thinking questions, etc.  The app includes some really stunning pictures, which I use for non-fiction writing prompts.

Four Seasons HD: A book about the seasons and the environment. More suited for an early childhood-early elementary level.

Recycle War:  A simple game of sorting recyclables.

Climate A2Z:  Topics that match each letter of the alphabet.  I use this app for listening comprehension. The students and I select a topic to learn about. After listening to or reading the information, I ask comprehension questions (basic details, main ideas, problem/solution, predictions/inferences, etc).  This app can be used with older elementary through middle school as the topics are slightly more advanced.

Oil Spill Cleanup: A student favorite!  I use this app following a discussion on pollution.  This is a good app to pair with goals targeting cause/effect. Students take turns removing oil from animal species.To add more complexity to the task, some student must look at the species and try to find that specie's name.  They must use the clues to decide what specie it might be (based on the locations, appearance, etc).   Last year, students wrote mock letters to different audiences: BP executives, local people affected by the oil spill, etc.  They needed to decide how to modify the 'voice' of the letter based on the audience they were writing to (randomly drawn from an envelope). 

Erika's Water: A story about water conservation.

Names in a Hat:  I added Earth Day-themed vocabulary, discussion question prompts, and definitions.

Phonics Genius: I make my own flash cards...I have words to define as well as articulation words that contain target sounds and are associated with nature/Earth Day/etc.

Recycool HD: Sort recyclable items into the appropriate bins. I use this app as an incentive between or after turns/tasks. The bins change at random, so you must pay close attention when dragging items to bins...this is mostly used as an incentive/game following a structured activity; however, it works nice as a partner game.  One student is responsible for dragging the item, the other student is responsible for watching for changes in the location/order of the bins...and gives their partner appropriate directions and feedback. We talk about communication breakdowns (what went wrong, what we need to fix, taking ownership, accepting criticism/suggestions, etc).

1 comment:

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