Tips & Tricks

{Week 2} BTS in a Flash! Curriculum Must Haves

Welcome back for week 2 of our Back to School blog link up! This week is all about CURRICULUM MUST HAVES.
Here are MY must haves…

Every year before I lock up my classroom and turn in my keys for the summer, I prep a few products that I cannot live without so that they are ready to go when I return. These products have been tested by my students and given their STAMP OF APPROVAL!  

Over the years I’ve realized that  students L-O-V-E to take part in science experiments, however, few of them truly understand the important role science plays in our lives. Many of them also know that scientists use tools, but are unfamiliar with their names or how they work.
That’s where my Intro. to Science Unit comes in handy. For the first 2 weeks of class, I use this resource to make sure my students understand the scientific process. I also review 10 tools that we use throughout the school year and students are given opportunities to practice using them correctly with a partner. 
To make sure my students understand the steps involved in the scientific method BEFORE we actually start experimenting, we spend some time sharing and discussing. We also complete a flapbook making sure that students have a reference sheet to refer to in the future.

Once we complete all of the above and go over a few very important SAFETY RULES, we culminate our unit with a few experiments. Not only does this give students an opportunity to practice the rules we went over earlier, but we also focus on each of the steps in the scientific method and we practice using some of the tools we learned about as well.
I have found that dedicating these few weeks in the beginning of the year makes everything run so much smoother in the long run!
Another favorite of mine is Teaching and Tapas Close Reading Bundle for 2nd grade. You’re probably wondering why I’m using the second grade bundle if I teach 3rd. To be honest, when I originally purchased this unit I bought the 2nd grade version thinking that I would use it for the beginning of the year and then use the 3rd grade unit for the last two 9 weeks.
Half way through the year I realized that this bundle was PERFECT for my 3rd graders. I ended up using it for the ENTIRE year and NEVER felt that the passages were too easy or that my class was bored. As a matter of fact, my students looked forward to reading new passages every week. They especially loved the informational text passages!
After reading an article from this bundle on Basilik Lizards, my students wanted to find out more about these reptiles so we ended up doing some research and even watching a video of them walking across the water. AMAZING!!!! Another passage we read was all about the Five Second Rule. This led to a debate on whether students believed that if something fell on the floor they had 5 seconds to pick it up before germs stuck to it. Interesting topic, huh? It sure caught my kiddos attention!
If you’re looking for close reading passages that will captivate your students, have them going back to the article to find and underline evidence, determine authors purpose, use context clues to understand vocabulary, determine main idea, etc…. this is a must!

My last curriculum favorite is actually a product that I’ve been eyeing for some time now. It belongs to Cassie from Funky in Fourth. I’ve wish listed her Zoo Design project based learning activity!

With this hands on project, students will practice their Area and Perimeter skills. They will design zoos that fit certain guidelines.
I know that this is something that my students will get a kick out of and since Area and Perimeter is a topic that some of them will probably have a hard time with, I figured this activity would be a perfect way for them to practice. The best part is that they would be able to see a real world connection to what we were learning in class.

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It’s your turn now! Blog about YOUR curriculm faves and use the image below in your post.

Be sure to link up with us and check out everyone else’s must haves!

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  • Reply
    Inspired Owl
    August 2, 2015 at 11:36 am

    I love your science unit! That is such a great idea to spend time at the beginning of the year on that. I agree with you about the Teaching and Tapas Close Reads- I have those too. They are challenging, but really good. I have to check out that zoo pack. It looks really fun and engaging 🙂

  • Reply
    Fancy Free in 4th
    August 2, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    Your science unit looks GREAT! The kids LOVE science and this is such a fun way to engage them from the beginning. I am also Wishlising the ZOO!
    Thanks for linking up!
    Fancy Free in Fourth

  • Reply
    Teaching with Team W
    August 3, 2015 at 3:34 am

    We used the Zoo Design project last year and it was great! The students really enjoyed designing their own Zoo, and they were practicing area and perimeter at the same time!
    Teaching with Team W

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