Out of This World!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Take a peek at this set of astronauts!
At Hiawatha, we believe in balanced literacy.  We believe that teaching reading, writing and content areas (and, if we can, math) all fit together.   We believe in promoting literacy through units that have essential questions and provide experiences for our students.  We believe is starting from the standards and backwards mapping, planning with the end in mind.

This year, we are exploring a new format to plan our essential understandings for our units.  Below is what our talented first grade (+Amelia Sheers, +Vianney Sanchez +Kayla Kaczmarek +Shianne Gillespie +Melissa Alper) team created for their Space Systems unit.

After they created their essential understandings and unpacked the essential CCSS and NGSS standards into single point rubrics, THEN they began planning the activities for their unit.  It is so much more targeted to plan for great activities when you have the end in mind, rather than just finding lessons about space and hoping they hit the target.

But, what about the beginning of the unit?

So often, we launch into units, but don't take time to invest our children in the content.  When we have an emotional or physical connection to something, it makes our learning experiences much deeper.  So, our first grade team planned to send their students into space!  They turned our 100+ year old gym stage into the universe, and their 70 or so students into astronauts, and blasted off!

Do you want a little glimpse of what it would be like to be a space explorer?  If so, it's your lucky day!

They then went back to class.  But, they didn't just take out their math books and move on.  Oh no!  They used the excitement that they had gathered and started sharing what they already know for their space unit!  They started a Padlet wall and reported all that they already know about the sun, moon, earth, and outer space.  

I can't wait to watch this set of astronauts as they continue on their journey through space.  After all, this was only the BEGINNING of their unit.  With teachers as out of this world as theirs, they can go anywhere.  To infinity, and beyond!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing. That is a neat idea to transform a large space into the experience of outer space.