By Gina Kennedy

By Gina Kennedy


The end of the school year is near, does it seem possible? Every school year seems to get shorter and every year I panic wondering if I can finish everything before the end of the year.

From preparing staff developments, writing creative lessons for my gifted students that will keep them motivated and charged and finishing a multitude of paperwork; I am trying to not worry and keep moving forward. My only consolation is that I know the end of the school year is like a pregnancy; it has to end sometime and all those little things that I'm worried about now; somehow always get finished and no longer matter once June rolls along.

By keeping the focus on what really matters; those bright and shiny eyes before me, I am able to prioritize much easier. At this point in the year I have 26 more days to teach and make an impact on my students and that is all that really matters right now.

1. "What Surprised You Most?"  After I have introduced a unit or topic and the students have started their research projects or follow-up activities; I always try to do a quick assessment to find out how well the students are grasping the concept as well as what might be interesting them most about the topic.  
     My fifth grade language arts students are reading novels with WWII themes and completing research projects about WWII as well.  I asked them each create a poster explaining the information they have learned about WWII and describing the events and details that have  surprised them the most.  This could be adapted to any history or science theme.

2.  "TAGxedo Animal Adaptations"  Our students are working on animal adaptations and habitats this week.  "Tagxedo" is one of my favorite "word shape" creators on the web.  
     After a brief training on how to use the "Tagxedo"; the students were asked to choose an animal they weren't familiar with and research the physical and environmental adaptations of that particular animal.  After the students researched the animal; they were asked to create a "Tagxedo" shape and fill in the shape with their research.  
     Because "Tagxedo" will choose to display the words artistically; I also have the students turn in their original research paper after they have printed off their "TAGxedo" shape.
      The "Tagxedo" is extremely easy to use and your students will figure it out in no time.

3. "Prepositional Phrase Cut-outs"  My students were having a difficult time grasping how to identify prepositional phrases so I had them locate prepositional phrases last week in newspapers and magazines and create new complete sentences of their own!

Have a great week,

Earth Day Teaching Ideas!

"Earth Day" Lessons and Activities

1.  "BIOGRAPHY OF A RECYCLED BOX"  With "Earth Day" right around the corner I decided to tie in our study of biographies with the environment by having the students take an in-depth look at the "life" of a food box.  The students were instructed to bring a food box to school and then research the company that produced the contents of the food in the box and the location of the factory.

They were then instructed to write a biography of the box by creating a book using their recycled box as the front and back cover. The biography was to include the entire lifespan of the box from the days spent in the factory, the household that purchased them, their long days on the grocery shelf to even the day they were recycled or placed in the landfill.

The students came up with very creative responses as one of the Weight Watcher's meals even ended up in the White House with President Obama.  They had a great time with these biographies and NO TWO were even close to being alike!
I've included a link below to download this free product:

2. "Environmental Character Trait Quotes"  My students were asked last week to match a character trait to the owner of a quote about "Earth Day!"  Each quote ultimately led to a great conversation and some of the character traits were actually quite subjective and could argumentatively fit more than one author.  This is a wonderful invitation for a "higher level" discussion in your classroom.  I've included a link below to DOWNLOAD this free product:

3. "Ecology Differentiated Writing Science Project Menu"  I created a science writing project menu as well this year to integrate "Earth Day" across the curriculum with my students.  With this menu, students will take a deeper look at ecological issues in our world and complete three differentiated projects on this menu with an "Ecology" green theme.
      From writing a speech that is to be presented to an Ec
ology" panel to creating a biome guide; students will love the choices and enjoy researching projects they can take ownership of.
I have also included a rubric and 47 "Ecology" terms and definitions.  To purchase this product, click HERE:

4. "Earth Day Data Fact Sheet and Follow Up Math Problems"  I've researched a list of important "Earth Day Facts" to share with my students and I've included some follow-up math word problems to reinforce their understanding of the data. DOWNLOAD this freebie here!

5."Earth Day Resolution"  Each of my students will be signing their own "Earth Day Resolution" once they've decided what difference they would like to make this year to help save the Earth!   DOWNLOAD this freebie:

Have a wonderful week,