As you know, I've been having some fun at home doing "summer school" with my son. Its's not at all structured or intense, just some extra learning with mom. :) One thing he really wanted to learn more about was bugs. He was all about the bugs! I narrowed it down to insects, telling him that spiders were left out of this club. That got his attention! Of course he wanted to know why, so that led to our big question, "What is an insect?"
Of course we went to the library and got some insect books.
I also made this simple little card:
I had these plastic insects for him to use (but you could also use pictures of insects. He looked at each bug and counted the legs and looked for 3 body parts and antennae. To add a little more hands on fun, he used "puff balls" too. He filled in the circle with the pom-pons when he found the characteristics of an insect (sort of like a checkmark). When he got to the spider, centipede and scorpion, he realized that they were not insects because they did not get to use most of the pom-poms.
If I were in the classroom, I'd put kids in small groups to do this activity, or I would do it whole group and put insects under the doc cam one at a time while all the kids used pom-pons at their desks with this sheet.
Be still my heart! He thought of this next part! He wanted to group them so we made circles using pipe cleaners. He loved that. It's the little things my friends. :)
To really help us remember what makes an insect an insect, we created one using play dough. He had to include antennae, wings, 6 legs and 3 body parts.
I would definitely do this in the classroom with kindergarten or first graders. Kids love when you bust out the play dough and it could be a quick authentic assessment too.
He ended up making a few...
Then used the dot marker to make another.
The teacher in me couldn't resist... I made a little chart to review the things we learned. I actually had this chart made and read it to him with the blanks not filled in. Then we came back to it after reading/learning about insects. He used his special pointer (uh popsicle stick with a pom-pom glued on the tip) to reread it. In class, I would use this as an interactive reading/writing activity. This would be my visual aide that I always refer back to. I would make it fancier with a diagram too. :)
Then he filled in the blanks (with some help).
We went on many many bug hunts over the past week!
When he found a bug, he loved getting out that magnifying glass to count the legs.
A lot of these ideas I could bring to my classroom if I ever do an insect unit. Simple, but fun!
This all spurred on a little dragonfly close reading set. I've been studying close reading a lot this summer, practiced it during the past school year, and went to a couple of trainings. I learn best by doing, so I created this just as much to help myself along the process. I'm practicing it on Shawn and can't wait to go use it in the classroom with my students! I hope to work out all the kinks before showing you all. ;)