I let way too much time pass in between posts! I will make more of an effort to post more frequently!
The past 3 years I have done a rainforest activity with my students. Every year it has become bigger and better. This year's goals were 1) to give my students more of a voice and choice (project based learning style,) and 2) give tours to our parents and other classes.
Well, we certainly achieved our goals!!!
Let me backtrack here.
I started off by introducing both a coral reef and a rainforest to my students. We looked at pictures and watched a Magic School Bus video on both. (I picked both of those places because I love them. They are such colorful, vibrant places, and my kids really like things like that.
I then told my students to think really hard about which of those places they would like to do a project on. My students voted with a secret ballot and the rainforest won!
I put together a flipchart with pictures of enough rainforest animals for each student to choose 2. I had name sticks so each time I called on a student they picked an animal. (I picked names twice and at random.)
Once the students had their animals, it was time to get stared. Even though each student had 2 animals, each reading group was able to learn about their group mate's animals. I had printed information on their animals. We read through it together and the students told me the important information we should highlight.
**Side note: My co-teacher was working with my students on foods from the rainforest, plants, and trees. They were learning a LOT about the rainforest.**
Once we got through the research, the students got to make their animals. The students also made trees, flowers, and plants.
The students chose where to place them. Then they took leaves and wrote rainforest facts, plant, facts, tree facts, and animals facts on the leaves and placed them around the rainforest.
Our rainforest looked like this:
Hallway: quetzal, toucan, parrot, gecko, iguana, tarantula, cassowary, and leaf cutter ants.
Hallway: parrot, orangutan, vampire bat, macaws, komodo dragon, caecilian, poison dart frogs, geckos, and the beginning of an anaconda.
Hallway: more of the anaconda, lemur, gorilla, queen alexandra birdwing butterfly, iguana, chameleon, and some frogs.
Hallway: The end of the anaconda, quetzal, toucan, vampire bat, lar gibbon, sloth, iguana, capybaras, caecilian, blue morpho butterfly, tarantula, gold frog, (and maybe some poison dart frogs)
Hallway: toucans, tapir blue morpho butterfly, lar gibbon, harpy eagle, beginning of a python, vampire bat, tapir, tarantula, poison dart frogs, red eyed tree frogs, leaf cutter ants, caecilian, and katydids.
Hallway: Caiman crocodile, hoatzin, jaguar, caecilian, blue morpho butterfly, great hornbill, parrot, baboon, more of the python, and more teeny, tiny frogs!
This photo is in my classroom. It includes a parrot, a baby sloth, queen alexandra birdwing butterfly, vampire bat, caecilian, tarantula, quetzal, iguana, gecko, macaw, and a few random, tiny frogs!
Also in my classroom: Capybaras, gorilla, chameleon, iguana, gecko, caecilian, red eyed tree frogs, and poison dart frogs, (the frogs are sooooo tiny!!!),
Classroom: lemur, macaw, parrot, vampire bat, gold frog, caecilian, chameleon, tarantula, poison dart frog, red eyed tree frog, and leaf cutter ants,
classroom: chimpanzee, tarantula, gold frog, caecilian, vampire bat, hoatzin, and gecko,
This photo is in my classroom. It includes a yellow boa, a macaw, and a caecilian.
So what did we do once everything was put up? I took these pictures and their notes that they had. I put together a packet with the pictures and their notes. We practiced this packet everyday in reading group and I even had it as a listening center. Students had this to help them when giving tours. They gave their parents a tour. The parents LOVED it. I heard from many parents that they have been hearing rainforest facts for weeks! One parent even told me that her child wanted to buy her a macaw for Mother's Day! Cracked me up!
My students also gave a tour to 17 other classes in my school. Needless to say, they were TOURED OUT by the time they finished.
When we finally took down our rainforest, it was VERY emotional. Many of us were trying not to cry.
Due to testing and snow days, we didn't get as much done as I wanted to. Other things I wanted to do: Have the kids make binoculars for the tourists, create a brochure for the tourists to take with them, and a few other things that I'm drawing a blank on right now!
Hope you enjoyed my post!