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April 8, 2016

National Parks Road Trip

By Lindsey Petlak
Grades 3–5

    Buckle your seatbelts, because we’re going on a US regional road trip, and on the way we’ll be visiting our amazing national parks! In our class, we have a yearlong, retro road trip theme and I am very excited to add the element of our parks system to the journey.

    Every Kid In A Park is a government program created by President Barack Obama so that, "fourth graders and their families could discover our wildlife, resources, and history for free." The best part? With the Every Kid In A Park program, every US fourth grader can get a free pass to any federal park, land, forest, or water area for the entire school year! Head on over for interactive fun, resources, and free passes!


    EVERY KID IN A PARK RESOURCES

    Scholastic has partnered with Every Kid In A Park and free resources for the classroom abound on both the government site and Scholastic's Park page.

    Participating agencies on the government website, for instance, include:

    To introduce your students to our nation’s natural and historical resources, download and print the lesson plans, activity sheets, and resource sheets from Scholastic's Every Kid In A Park page. After you explore the free resources, provide feedback for a chance to win FIVE FREE BOOKS!

    You will find printables, including ones displayed here, that cover the following four learning activities:

    1. Exploring Federal Lands And Waters and 2. Environmental Stewardship

     

    3. Citizen Science and 4. Our Nation's Native People

    These are just a sampling of the many printable resources available. Go to Scholastic's Every Kid In A Park page to access the PDFs to use in your own classroom.

     

    TOUR THE US WITH BOOKS

    Of course, when it comes to texts to support your study of US regions and national parks, Scholastic has you covered. From short nonfiction texts, to Geography Spin magazine to supplement the books you’re using, there is a treasury of texts available to help with researching our national parks. The facts and maps included, as well as the actual photographs make these books perfect to build interest, background knowledge, and for research reference texts.

    Our team pairs a novel with our study of each region. This helps students make text comparisons between the fiction and nonfiction pairings, ties in culture native to the region, and tells the tales of that region, landmark, or national park in a literary format, rather than just facts. Students love reading about characters from these different locations, adventures involved with different landmarks or national parks, and in doing so notice things like dialect, traditions, and other life factors that might not be present or might not be as relatable or interesting in nonfiction texts. Some of our favorites include:

     


     

    ONLINE SCHOLASTIC RESOURCES

    Aside from the fiction and nonfiction texts and the Every Kid In A Park mega-resource site above, Scholastic also has an abundance of online national parks resources for you to access. From printables, to Scholastic News articles, to video clips, these resources will supplement your national parks instruction, texts, and activities perfectly across multiple subjects!

     


     

    SHOW WHAT YOU KNOW

    With such a variety of resources to supplement this engaging study of our national parks, it’s only fitting to offer a plethora of awesome project opportunities for students to show what they’ve learned about these amazing American hot spots. Read on for a few of my favorite hands-on projects that are perfect for your kiddos to show what they know.

    • Beth Newingham’s regional tour unit, "Travel the World from the Comfort of Your Own Classroom": I am a HUGE Beth Newingham fan and much of my US regions unit activities somehow stem from her ideas in the article listed above. It’s filled to the brim with amazing ideas!

    • Screencast Apps: We use screencast apps a lot for math talk and explaining our math reasoning, but they could just as easily be used for students to write, draw, insert images, and voice record facts about national parks. Read my blog post to see how!

    • National Parks Pinterest: Our national parks have such interesting and identifiable visuals! Help students capture those by making their own mock Pinterest boards for each park they research. Check out "Pinterest-Inspired Project and Hallway Display" to see how to bring this artistic project to life.

    • "Create a Green Screen Video in Your Classroom": Have students craft a research report and kick it up a notch as they present their final product. Students apply an image of their park to a green screen app (see blog post for how-to) to make it look like they are presenting their report at the actual location! They could read their report aloud, or add a persuasive twist by posing the report as a commercial or travel guide for their national park of choice!

    • Tech-Integrated Student Work Displays: Whether it’s a Google doc, digital photo collage, recorded presentation, or something more extensive, such as a student-created iMovie, display everyone’s hard work in the hallway by using QR codes for people to scan and reveal each student’s hidden final product!

     


    Are you ready to roll? Buckle up for amazingly fun learning opportunities as your students learn about our awesome national parks. Hopefully these ideas and resources will help give you ideas, save you time, and enhance your existing plans! Thanks for reading!

    Buckle your seatbelts, because we’re going on a US regional road trip, and on the way we’ll be visiting our amazing national parks! In our class, we have a yearlong, retro road trip theme and I am very excited to add the element of our parks system to the journey.

    Every Kid In A Park is a government program created by President Barack Obama so that, "fourth graders and their families could discover our wildlife, resources, and history for free." The best part? With the Every Kid In A Park program, every US fourth grader can get a free pass to any federal park, land, forest, or water area for the entire school year! Head on over for interactive fun, resources, and free passes!


    EVERY KID IN A PARK RESOURCES

    Scholastic has partnered with Every Kid In A Park and free resources for the classroom abound on both the government site and Scholastic's Park page.

    Participating agencies on the government website, for instance, include:

    To introduce your students to our nation’s natural and historical resources, download and print the lesson plans, activity sheets, and resource sheets from Scholastic's Every Kid In A Park page. After you explore the free resources, provide feedback for a chance to win FIVE FREE BOOKS!

    You will find printables, including ones displayed here, that cover the following four learning activities:

    1. Exploring Federal Lands And Waters and 2. Environmental Stewardship

     

    3. Citizen Science and 4. Our Nation's Native People

    These are just a sampling of the many printable resources available. Go to Scholastic's Every Kid In A Park page to access the PDFs to use in your own classroom.

     

    TOUR THE US WITH BOOKS

    Of course, when it comes to texts to support your study of US regions and national parks, Scholastic has you covered. From short nonfiction texts, to Geography Spin magazine to supplement the books you’re using, there is a treasury of texts available to help with researching our national parks. The facts and maps included, as well as the actual photographs make these books perfect to build interest, background knowledge, and for research reference texts.

    Our team pairs a novel with our study of each region. This helps students make text comparisons between the fiction and nonfiction pairings, ties in culture native to the region, and tells the tales of that region, landmark, or national park in a literary format, rather than just facts. Students love reading about characters from these different locations, adventures involved with different landmarks or national parks, and in doing so notice things like dialect, traditions, and other life factors that might not be present or might not be as relatable or interesting in nonfiction texts. Some of our favorites include:

     


     

    ONLINE SCHOLASTIC RESOURCES

    Aside from the fiction and nonfiction texts and the Every Kid In A Park mega-resource site above, Scholastic also has an abundance of online national parks resources for you to access. From printables, to Scholastic News articles, to video clips, these resources will supplement your national parks instruction, texts, and activities perfectly across multiple subjects!

     


     

    SHOW WHAT YOU KNOW

    With such a variety of resources to supplement this engaging study of our national parks, it’s only fitting to offer a plethora of awesome project opportunities for students to show what they’ve learned about these amazing American hot spots. Read on for a few of my favorite hands-on projects that are perfect for your kiddos to show what they know.

    • Beth Newingham’s regional tour unit, "Travel the World from the Comfort of Your Own Classroom": I am a HUGE Beth Newingham fan and much of my US regions unit activities somehow stem from her ideas in the article listed above. It’s filled to the brim with amazing ideas!

    • Screencast Apps: We use screencast apps a lot for math talk and explaining our math reasoning, but they could just as easily be used for students to write, draw, insert images, and voice record facts about national parks. Read my blog post to see how!

    • National Parks Pinterest: Our national parks have such interesting and identifiable visuals! Help students capture those by making their own mock Pinterest boards for each park they research. Check out "Pinterest-Inspired Project and Hallway Display" to see how to bring this artistic project to life.

    • "Create a Green Screen Video in Your Classroom": Have students craft a research report and kick it up a notch as they present their final product. Students apply an image of their park to a green screen app (see blog post for how-to) to make it look like they are presenting their report at the actual location! They could read their report aloud, or add a persuasive twist by posing the report as a commercial or travel guide for their national park of choice!

    • Tech-Integrated Student Work Displays: Whether it’s a Google doc, digital photo collage, recorded presentation, or something more extensive, such as a student-created iMovie, display everyone’s hard work in the hallway by using QR codes for people to scan and reveal each student’s hidden final product!

     


    Are you ready to roll? Buckle up for amazingly fun learning opportunities as your students learn about our awesome national parks. Hopefully these ideas and resources will help give you ideas, save you time, and enhance your existing plans! Thanks for reading!

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