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May 1, 2017

Shark Week FUN With Let’s Find Out

By Andrea Maurer
Grades PreK–K, 1–2

    If you didn’t get the magazine Let’s Find Out from Scholastic this school year, you will for sure want to put a subscription on your wish list for next year! Here’s why:

     

    First and foremost, the students LOVE it. They can’t wait to dive into the next issue the moment they are done with the one they are reading. Each edition piques my students’ interest and in return makes experiencing the magazine an intrinsic motivator for them. In addition to the take-home magazine, there is a digital version that is packaged with a nonfiction video and a multilevel skill-building game. The videos give the students content knowledge about the main topic featured in the magazine. The videos are so engaging that the students plead with me to watch it again. What is so great is that they can. The students have access to all of it at home!

     

    Second, it can be challenging to find engaging nonfiction text to use in the classroom that is specifically geared toward kindergarten. The fact that the text from Let’s Find Out, is readable with a mix of decodable words and sight words is worth its weight in gold. I have witnessed my students’ reading confidence soar!

     

    Third, being a kindergarten teacher, I am drawn to teaching materials that have bold and vibrant illustrations and photographs. The students are too. Each edition of Let's Find Out includes visuals that are stunning and really capture the students’ attention. Each issue also includes a larger size version of the magazine edition that the students receive.

    Now, ready to have some fun with the May/June edition of Let’s Find Out, “Hello, Big Shark!”? I hope you are because not only are your students going to have a blast learning about sharks, your next week lessons are already planned for you! Read on to find out how I hosted my very own Shark Week!

    Out of all the editions of Let’s Find Out this year, none had caused such a stir in my class than the “Hello Big Shark!” edition. Three-quarters of the students were elated as exhibited by their shrieks of joy and excitement, yet about a fourth had a look of terror on their faces when first seeing the big poster. The common element was both sides of the “shark pendulum” were interested in learning more about the topic.

    Monday:

    We began by discussing the front cover of the magazine and identifying what the main topic was. Needless to say, it was clear to everyone that Shark Week had just begun. Then we began the “Know” (what do I know about the topic) portion of a KWL chart. Even before reading the magazine, I had the students watch the shark video included in the online edition.

    After the video, the students paired up with their talking partners and discussed what they saw in the video. They also asked each other what they wanted to learn more about. Being enticed by the video, I continued the KWL chart by having the students respond to the “Want” (want to learn) portion of the chart.

    Tuesday:

    Beginning at the tables, I had the students take a couple of minutes to write their names on the magazine cover in the space provided and look through Let’s Find Out at their own pace. The students then followed along with the online magazine "Listen and Read" link. When done, we drew a box around the unknown words in the text, which were gills, cartilage, rubbery, and bends and discussed what those words mean.

     

    Next, we did the “All Kinds of Sharks” activity on the back page. We took a close look at the different sea life pictures. We watched an amazing YouTube video of Annika Young, a representative from One Ocean Diving, talk about how important sharks are to our planet and what is currently happening to our shark population. It was specially created for kindergarten students so you will want your students to see this! She is actually coming to give a presentation to our class next week!

    We also worked on a text-to-world response from a page I found in Scholastic Printables. The students responded to how people might help save sharks from being hunted for food, sport, and jewelry. I loved reading their responses!  

    Wednesday:

    We began by re-reviewing the unknown words and highlighting the sight words in the text. We then choral read the text. After, I introduced the online game, which for this edition is called Feed the Shark. The students took turns playing the game. They got to play it independently during center rotations on Thursday at the “kinder techies” center. In addition to Let’s Find Out, I also read and discussed, Discovering My World: Sharks to the students and we reviewed what we had learned about sharks. The students responded to the sharks are, have, and can graphic organizer from the book.

    Thursday:

    We began the day by reading and discussing the book, Clark the Shark by Bruce Hale. In a whole group setting we created a Venn diagram and compared and contrasted the book to the Let’s Find Out, “Hello Big Shark!” issue. The students now are pros at recognizing and describing fiction and nonfiction books.

    The students then got to do Shark Centers Around and Outside the classroom which consisted of 4 rotations and lasted about 15 minutes each.

     

    Here are the shark centers:

    *Shark Puppets:

    Students chose from two different kinds of puppets from Scholastic Printables. They got to make a stick puppet or a paper bag puppet. When the students finished their puppets, they told two or more facts about sharks in the puppet theater. Many students referred to their Let’s Find Out magazine for retelling shark facts. Here are more nonfiction resources that the students may refer to: Fly Guy Presents: Sharks, Sharks, Science Vocabulary Readers, Sharks.

     

    *Measuring Sharks:

    I printed four pictures of different sizes of sharks and we headed outside. (The pictures I printed were: Pacific angel shark: 5 feet, lemon shark: 10 feet, megamouth shark: 15 feet, and a tiger shark: 20 feet.) I tied four different pieces of yarn to the fence. We used measuring tape to measure the length of each shark and I cut off the yarn to match the shark’s size. Each student held the yarn to show the difference in length. We discussed which shark was longer and which shark was shorter. We also discussed how the lengths were each five feet apart.

     

    *Sensory Bin/“ark mini-book”:

    I put together a sensory bin with blue beads and ocean figurines for the students to first explore. I cut out different pieces of paper in the shape of sharks. I wrote the letters sh, b, d, g, h, j, l, m, p, t, on yellow shark cutouts. I wrote the letters “ark” on the other shark cutouts. The students searched through the bin and each time had to choose a yellow shark with a letter and then place it in front of the letters “ark.” They read the word and if it was a real word, they wrote it on a dry erase board. After we finished our center rotations and took a movement break, we read the mini-book, The Shark, and filled in the blanks in the book.

     

    *Kinder Techie Center:

    The students went to the Let’s Find Out site, read the book, watched the video, and played the online game, Feed the Shark.

     

    Friday:

    We finished out Shark Week by revisiting the book, Clark the Shark. We went into more detail by creating an anchor chart of the story elements, characters, setting, problem, and solution. The students wrote a letter to Clark about his behavior at school. The students’ main goal was to site a specific example from the story and give a suggestion on how to change it. They were the funniest and most creative letters I have ever read!

    In addition, Shark Week would not have been complete without making a shark hat, which the students couldn’t wait to wear home and, of course, tell everyone what they learned about sharks! Teachers, this is so incredibly easy to prep! 

    To end the week, we reflected on everything we learned about sharks and filled in the “what did we LEARN about sharks” on the KWL chart. I was so impressed with my kiddos! We had to continue writing it on another piece of chart paper.

    To subscribe to Let's Find Out for all the issues with great paper and online activities, just click here. I really hope your class has a terrific time with all these activities. Please let me know how it goes!

     

     

    If you didn’t get the magazine Let’s Find Out from Scholastic this school year, you will for sure want to put a subscription on your wish list for next year! Here’s why:

     

    First and foremost, the students LOVE it. They can’t wait to dive into the next issue the moment they are done with the one they are reading. Each edition piques my students’ interest and in return makes experiencing the magazine an intrinsic motivator for them. In addition to the take-home magazine, there is a digital version that is packaged with a nonfiction video and a multilevel skill-building game. The videos give the students content knowledge about the main topic featured in the magazine. The videos are so engaging that the students plead with me to watch it again. What is so great is that they can. The students have access to all of it at home!

     

    Second, it can be challenging to find engaging nonfiction text to use in the classroom that is specifically geared toward kindergarten. The fact that the text from Let’s Find Out, is readable with a mix of decodable words and sight words is worth its weight in gold. I have witnessed my students’ reading confidence soar!

     

    Third, being a kindergarten teacher, I am drawn to teaching materials that have bold and vibrant illustrations and photographs. The students are too. Each edition of Let's Find Out includes visuals that are stunning and really capture the students’ attention. Each issue also includes a larger size version of the magazine edition that the students receive.

    Now, ready to have some fun with the May/June edition of Let’s Find Out, “Hello, Big Shark!”? I hope you are because not only are your students going to have a blast learning about sharks, your next week lessons are already planned for you! Read on to find out how I hosted my very own Shark Week!

    Out of all the editions of Let’s Find Out this year, none had caused such a stir in my class than the “Hello Big Shark!” edition. Three-quarters of the students were elated as exhibited by their shrieks of joy and excitement, yet about a fourth had a look of terror on their faces when first seeing the big poster. The common element was both sides of the “shark pendulum” were interested in learning more about the topic.

    Monday:

    We began by discussing the front cover of the magazine and identifying what the main topic was. Needless to say, it was clear to everyone that Shark Week had just begun. Then we began the “Know” (what do I know about the topic) portion of a KWL chart. Even before reading the magazine, I had the students watch the shark video included in the online edition.

    After the video, the students paired up with their talking partners and discussed what they saw in the video. They also asked each other what they wanted to learn more about. Being enticed by the video, I continued the KWL chart by having the students respond to the “Want” (want to learn) portion of the chart.

    Tuesday:

    Beginning at the tables, I had the students take a couple of minutes to write their names on the magazine cover in the space provided and look through Let’s Find Out at their own pace. The students then followed along with the online magazine "Listen and Read" link. When done, we drew a box around the unknown words in the text, which were gills, cartilage, rubbery, and bends and discussed what those words mean.

     

    Next, we did the “All Kinds of Sharks” activity on the back page. We took a close look at the different sea life pictures. We watched an amazing YouTube video of Annika Young, a representative from One Ocean Diving, talk about how important sharks are to our planet and what is currently happening to our shark population. It was specially created for kindergarten students so you will want your students to see this! She is actually coming to give a presentation to our class next week!

    We also worked on a text-to-world response from a page I found in Scholastic Printables. The students responded to how people might help save sharks from being hunted for food, sport, and jewelry. I loved reading their responses!  

    Wednesday:

    We began by re-reviewing the unknown words and highlighting the sight words in the text. We then choral read the text. After, I introduced the online game, which for this edition is called Feed the Shark. The students took turns playing the game. They got to play it independently during center rotations on Thursday at the “kinder techies” center. In addition to Let’s Find Out, I also read and discussed, Discovering My World: Sharks to the students and we reviewed what we had learned about sharks. The students responded to the sharks are, have, and can graphic organizer from the book.

    Thursday:

    We began the day by reading and discussing the book, Clark the Shark by Bruce Hale. In a whole group setting we created a Venn diagram and compared and contrasted the book to the Let’s Find Out, “Hello Big Shark!” issue. The students now are pros at recognizing and describing fiction and nonfiction books.

    The students then got to do Shark Centers Around and Outside the classroom which consisted of 4 rotations and lasted about 15 minutes each.

     

    Here are the shark centers:

    *Shark Puppets:

    Students chose from two different kinds of puppets from Scholastic Printables. They got to make a stick puppet or a paper bag puppet. When the students finished their puppets, they told two or more facts about sharks in the puppet theater. Many students referred to their Let’s Find Out magazine for retelling shark facts. Here are more nonfiction resources that the students may refer to: Fly Guy Presents: Sharks, Sharks, Science Vocabulary Readers, Sharks.

     

    *Measuring Sharks:

    I printed four pictures of different sizes of sharks and we headed outside. (The pictures I printed were: Pacific angel shark: 5 feet, lemon shark: 10 feet, megamouth shark: 15 feet, and a tiger shark: 20 feet.) I tied four different pieces of yarn to the fence. We used measuring tape to measure the length of each shark and I cut off the yarn to match the shark’s size. Each student held the yarn to show the difference in length. We discussed which shark was longer and which shark was shorter. We also discussed how the lengths were each five feet apart.

     

    *Sensory Bin/“ark mini-book”:

    I put together a sensory bin with blue beads and ocean figurines for the students to first explore. I cut out different pieces of paper in the shape of sharks. I wrote the letters sh, b, d, g, h, j, l, m, p, t, on yellow shark cutouts. I wrote the letters “ark” on the other shark cutouts. The students searched through the bin and each time had to choose a yellow shark with a letter and then place it in front of the letters “ark.” They read the word and if it was a real word, they wrote it on a dry erase board. After we finished our center rotations and took a movement break, we read the mini-book, The Shark, and filled in the blanks in the book.

     

    *Kinder Techie Center:

    The students went to the Let’s Find Out site, read the book, watched the video, and played the online game, Feed the Shark.

     

    Friday:

    We finished out Shark Week by revisiting the book, Clark the Shark. We went into more detail by creating an anchor chart of the story elements, characters, setting, problem, and solution. The students wrote a letter to Clark about his behavior at school. The students’ main goal was to site a specific example from the story and give a suggestion on how to change it. They were the funniest and most creative letters I have ever read!

    In addition, Shark Week would not have been complete without making a shark hat, which the students couldn’t wait to wear home and, of course, tell everyone what they learned about sharks! Teachers, this is so incredibly easy to prep! 

    To end the week, we reflected on everything we learned about sharks and filled in the “what did we LEARN about sharks” on the KWL chart. I was so impressed with my kiddos! We had to continue writing it on another piece of chart paper.

    To subscribe to Let's Find Out for all the issues with great paper and online activities, just click here. I really hope your class has a terrific time with all these activities. Please let me know how it goes!

     

     

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