Every August, I wait for a spark of inspiration to help me dive in to September’s back-to-school.
It’s amazing what tiny little event or conversation can give birth to the mysterious *muse* — brightening my dull outlook on the year ahead.
A conversation with my friend Pam recently put that spark into motion. The inspiration is there – finally.
ISLANDS: a unit study.
Unit study learning is a way to compel students to read and write about interesting topics while hiding the fact that they are actually learning.
I usually begin my year with an engaging unit study, and if we need a boost mid-year, sometimes I sneak one in around January.
So this fall we will plan to study islands, in addition to the other reading, writing, arithmetic, and history that we always do.
- Reading (aloud and independently) appropriate grade-level books about islands. (I have a growing book list: The Cay, Treasure Island, Island of the Blue Dolphins, Baby Island, Island of Dr. Libris, Surprise Island, Shipwreck and Nim’s Island are some of the titles)
- Making analogies and comparisons about islands.
- Learning to spell words that have silent letters.
- Writing reports about island nations.
- Studying general geographic terms. I like the picture book: Geography from A to Z: a picture glossary by Jack Knowlton.
- Anyone have any other ideas?
Though not every student will eagerly anticipate the writing-of-reports, a happy and enthusiastic teacher is contagious and helps classroom morale!
I think 2017-2018 will be a good year.
Word Prompt of the Day: Anticipate
Photo credit: Sergio Jara