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December 2, 2018

Winter Animals Wow Students!

By Molly Lynch

Ignite your students’ curiosity about winter habitats.

Grades 1–2

    Key Takeaways

    • Scholastic News for grade 1 makes it fun to learn about winter animals.
    • Access free age-appropriate resources by logging into the Scholastic News for grade 1 website.
    • The Winter Walk activity teaches students how to group by comparing animals that hibernate with ones that do not.

    I'm always amazed at how fascinated children are by animals — from what they eat, to where they live, to how they behave. What surprises me is that kids can easily recall facts about animals, yet struggle to remember the proper spelling of what! (Tell me I'm not alone in this frustration!)

    So, naturally, my students were quite excited to dig into the “Winter Neighbors” issue of Scholastic News for grade 1. (Try it free here.)

    To get started, I logged into the Scholastic News website. One of my favorite features of the online content is the introductory video that accompanies each issue. The quick two- to three-minute video gives an overview of what the upcoming issue will be about, and even adds a bit more information than what's included in the magazine.

    The images and videos are visually appealing for students. More importantly, the narrator speaks at an age-appropriate rate for students to follow the information and let it sink in!

    Another great online resource is the vocabulary slideshow. A few keywords are included for each issue, with a visual and a very simple definition of each for first graders to understand. This is great for the students learning English in my classroom, but it really benefits all learners.

    After reviewing the video and the vocab, I project the digital magazine on the board and away we go! In my classroom, we always read Scholastic News as a class, so being able to project the magazine is a bonus. (Each month, BIG Issues are included if you'd rather gather your students on the rug and read together.)

    Students take turns reading the content. The color-coded boxes make it easy to break up the reading.

    After reading the issue together, I always ask my students to complete the activity on the back of the magazine on their own. It's a simple way to squeeze in an assessment to see what the students understand.

    We quickly check our answers together (or with a partner to mix it up). Using the online edition makes it easy — you simply click the answer and it self-checks. There's something about the “ding” the students hear when we select the correct answer that excites (and motivates!) them.

    If you ask my students to choose what their favorite part of Scholastic News is, the unanimous answer would be the game we play each week that goes along with the lesson! The best part about these games is that they use the theme of the current issue but squeeze in an important skill. This issue’s game focuses on punctuation, an often-forgotten skill in first-grade writing.

    Another bonus to the online content is the ability to quickly print out the lesson extensions included with each issue.

    My students loved creating these bear ears and deer antlers.

    I allowed the students to choose which animal they wanted to write a fact about. They re-read the issue and selected one fact they thought was interesting.

    They proudly wore their animal hats around all day! (To sign up for a 30-day free trial to Scholastic News, click here.)

    To further extend the lesson the following day, we did a Winter Walk around our school. Students made note of which animals they saw and how they behaved. We discussed how some of the animals we see here in California are very different from the animals we read about in our issue.

    I love that this activity incorporates adjectives and verbs. It was a great starting point for this important first-grade skill that we cover throughout the year.

    Because my students were so interested in winter animals, I added an extra activity to our center rotations. I Googled animals that hibernate (and found a list of those that do not). I wrote the names on sentence strips and added two headers:

    • Animals that hibernate
    • Animals that do not hibernate

    Students took turns adding the animal strips under the headers according to where they thought each animal belonged.

    It was awesome to hear the students in each group discuss why they put the animals under the different headers.

    All of these activities gave my students lots of practice thinking about animals in the winter!

    — Molly Lynch is a first-grade teacher in the San Francisco Bay area. She also writes the blog LuckyToBeinFirst.com.

    Key Takeaways

    • Scholastic News for grade 1 makes it fun to learn about winter animals.
    • Access free age-appropriate resources by logging into the Scholastic News for grade 1 website.
    • The Winter Walk activity teaches students how to group by comparing animals that hibernate with ones that do not.

    I'm always amazed at how fascinated children are by animals — from what they eat, to where they live, to how they behave. What surprises me is that kids can easily recall facts about animals, yet struggle to remember the proper spelling of what! (Tell me I'm not alone in this frustration!)

    So, naturally, my students were quite excited to dig into the “Winter Neighbors” issue of Scholastic News for grade 1. (Try it free here.)

    To get started, I logged into the Scholastic News website. One of my favorite features of the online content is the introductory video that accompanies each issue. The quick two- to three-minute video gives an overview of what the upcoming issue will be about, and even adds a bit more information than what's included in the magazine.

    The images and videos are visually appealing for students. More importantly, the narrator speaks at an age-appropriate rate for students to follow the information and let it sink in!

    Another great online resource is the vocabulary slideshow. A few keywords are included for each issue, with a visual and a very simple definition of each for first graders to understand. This is great for the students learning English in my classroom, but it really benefits all learners.

    After reviewing the video and the vocab, I project the digital magazine on the board and away we go! In my classroom, we always read Scholastic News as a class, so being able to project the magazine is a bonus. (Each month, BIG Issues are included if you'd rather gather your students on the rug and read together.)

    Students take turns reading the content. The color-coded boxes make it easy to break up the reading.

    After reading the issue together, I always ask my students to complete the activity on the back of the magazine on their own. It's a simple way to squeeze in an assessment to see what the students understand.

    We quickly check our answers together (or with a partner to mix it up). Using the online edition makes it easy — you simply click the answer and it self-checks. There's something about the “ding” the students hear when we select the correct answer that excites (and motivates!) them.

    If you ask my students to choose what their favorite part of Scholastic News is, the unanimous answer would be the game we play each week that goes along with the lesson! The best part about these games is that they use the theme of the current issue but squeeze in an important skill. This issue’s game focuses on punctuation, an often-forgotten skill in first-grade writing.

    Another bonus to the online content is the ability to quickly print out the lesson extensions included with each issue.

    My students loved creating these bear ears and deer antlers.

    I allowed the students to choose which animal they wanted to write a fact about. They re-read the issue and selected one fact they thought was interesting.

    They proudly wore their animal hats around all day! (To sign up for a 30-day free trial to Scholastic News, click here.)

    To further extend the lesson the following day, we did a Winter Walk around our school. Students made note of which animals they saw and how they behaved. We discussed how some of the animals we see here in California are very different from the animals we read about in our issue.

    I love that this activity incorporates adjectives and verbs. It was a great starting point for this important first-grade skill that we cover throughout the year.

    Because my students were so interested in winter animals, I added an extra activity to our center rotations. I Googled animals that hibernate (and found a list of those that do not). I wrote the names on sentence strips and added two headers:

    • Animals that hibernate
    • Animals that do not hibernate

    Students took turns adding the animal strips under the headers according to where they thought each animal belonged.

    It was awesome to hear the students in each group discuss why they put the animals under the different headers.

    All of these activities gave my students lots of practice thinking about animals in the winter!

    — Molly Lynch is a first-grade teacher in the San Francisco Bay area. She also writes the blog LuckyToBeinFirst.com.

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Susan Cheyney

GRADES: 1-2
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