I just love teaching about storms. Students sit perched on the edge of their seats anxious to hear all the exciting and dangerous details. Hands fly up around the room with students eager to tell their own experiences and knowledge. To make learning more relevant, I like to teach this unit to coincide with our storm season. For those of us in the south, the spring storm season works perfectly.
Storms Unit: Kick it off
I like to start most units with a way to assess prior knowledge. A KWL or a “are, can, have” brainstorming chart does the trick perfectly. This is also a great way to learn about misconceptions to address throughout the unit.
I always have a hard time finding informational text to cover exactly what I want to teach, so I usually end up making mini-books. I love mini-books because they serve as a great reference for students throughout the unit and information is presented in a kid-friendly manner. The “All about Storms” mini-book includes a half page text on “What is a storm?” as well as a half page on each type of storm-thunderstorms, windstorms, tornado, winter storm, ice storm, cyclone, and hurricane. Mini-books can even be glued into interactive notebooks at the end of the unit to keep all learning materials together!
I like to break up learning into meaningful chunks of one topic at a time. This is another great benefit to using mini-books. One topic can be covered everyday or even stretched into two days. My general plans for each day includes watching any pertinent storm videos, reading one page of text in the mini-book, filling out the vocabulary foldable, and completing any accompanying skill pages. If I have a lot of skill pages, I spread it out over two days.
Wrap it up
I love to end units with a project choice board. Students get to extend/ showcase their learning in a way they choose. I like for students to complete projects in class instead of at home. I assign a deadline and give students several time blocks throughout the next week to two to complete it.
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