1. Teaching Points for the Unit - These are suggested teaching points you could use to teach this project. They do not need to be taught in this order and you may find your students need different teaching points. Please note this does NOT include full lessons, only teaching points aligned to standards
2. What Should my Field Guide Include? - a Content Guide for students (and teachers) to help guide the research and the content of the field guide
3. My Research Notes - a graphic organizer to help students record what they learn about the animal. This will also help students to organize their research, thus organize their writing.
4.My Research Notes with Guiding Questions - This version of the graphic organizer includes questions from the Content Guide to help students think about what to include in each section.
5. My Research Notes BLANK - This version allows students to think more critically and could be used with other projects. Students would determine what that category would be.
6. Field Guide Template - This is a template you can use for the rough draft of the Field Guide. You could also use this as the students’ actual field guides if you wanted to. In our classrooms, we used this as a template for the rough draft and then used large 11 x 18 in manila paper to recreate the template in a larger format.
7.Field Guide Pictures - Classroom photos to help you and your students see the end product.
8.My Field Guide Rubric - This is included to make your grading life easier!!! Writing can be so subjective sometimes- hopefully, this rubric will help you zip through grading students’ final projects!
9.Writers Celebrate! 3-2-1 Style - These cards can be used at the end of the unit as part of a gallery walk. Students can lay out their final masterpieces on top of desks or in a display area. Students walk around leaving comments for other classmates.
This is a resource to help you integrate Writing into the content area of Science or vice versa. Additionally, you might be able to integrate technology by using websites and videos to support your students’ research. Another possible way to use this resource is by having students create their final product in a power point presentation. There are NOT supplemental resources included in the product, but this may give you some ideas on how you can suit this resource to best fit your classroom‘s needs.
In order to implement this into your classroom, students will need to choose an animal to research. You may choose to limit the choices your students’ can make or limit to only wild animals or limit to animals found only in your state. One teacher tip I have for you is that if you do not want your students to choose pets, state that at the beginning of the unit. I gave my students a little too much freedom and some of the field guides became about pets. You might be okay with this if you are using this unit to get your kids writing! In my 4th grade classroom, we aligned this to various animals we discussed in class. As we began this unit, I noticed my students needed more guidance with topics an informational writer might discuss when writing about an animal. The questions we came up with are included in the “What should my field guide include?” page.
This is also meant to be a research project. Students will need to have access to books, articles, or websites about their particular animals. Whenever we begin any type of unit in my classroom, I head to our school library and fill baskets with that type of text. For this unit, you might want to choose two types of texts:
1)Texts based on the topics your students are writing about
2) Texts that students can use as a mentor text. I also suggest you choose a Mentor Informational Text to teach the lessons and model the writing techniques.
On Day 1 of the Unit, you might collect brochures, field guides, magazines, and other informational texts to help define the characteristics of Informational Text. Through your class discussion or minilesson create a classroom chart. Doing this simple study together will help set the foundation for the rest of the unit and create a point of reference for you and your students.
Another thought about implementing this into your Informational Writing curriculum is using the research to create an Informational Essay. In this way, you are still meeting the writing standards, in a fun and innovative way! Your students will have fun teaching their others all about their topic! If you use 11x18 paper to fold into the field guide as shown in the pictures, there is a spot for a sheet of paper 8.5 x 11 or notebook paper.
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Please know the there is a blank template for notes and the field guide. This might allow you to use the field guide and teaching points for other informational writing topics. Have fun and Happy Writing!!