Literature Based Activities-Connected to Science and Social Studies Units
Each week we have a big book that is used as a springboard for the week’s activities. Phonics is always incorporated in these big books. Phonics is needed to isolate the sound of a letter or the blend of letters. Each book that has been chosen for the 1st grade has a phonics skill in mind to teach. For example, we have at least 1 book for each short and long vowel. We also have books that teach different kinds of words (i.e. compound words, action words, contractions). These books are not only educational but enhance enjoyment for reading. We have books that are full of science and social studies information as well. These science and social studies books will enrich and enhance the first grade science and social studies curriculum.
The children will be story webbing from the big books (identifying main character, plot, setting, problem, and solution). The class will also practice sequencing events from the big books. The children will compare and contrast big books to other books. They will also be doing character analysis and story mapping (identifying the beginning, middle, and end to a story).
Phonics lessons are not the only lessons taught from big books. As stated earlier, our weekly lessons or themes come out of the big book. The lessons extend across the curriculum. The big books will offer reading, writing, spelling, science, social studies, math, creative art, and music lessons.
Making class big books are part of the literature based activities program. The idea of the class created big book comes from the big book or other related literature that we are reading in class. We make a class big book about once a month. We do the entire writing process. The children first brainstorm their idea then they tell me what they would like to say. I write their idea on chart paper. Later in the year, I will only write the words that they need help spelling. Next the children write their name, date, and sentence. This is their practice paper. What I look for is the use of capital letters, correct endings, finger spaces between words, and correct letter formation. Then I conference with each child on his/her mistakes. Finally the child fixes the mistakes and rewrites the sentence. The sentences are glued onto paper and the child illustrates his/her idea. The children love to see their “published” work and get the chance to take the book home to show it off!
The first grade will be engaged in six major science units this year. Our units are Engineering and Technology, Sound, Light, Plant and Animal Structures, Living Things and Their Young, and Objects and Patterns in the Sky. These units will engage students, promote active learning and deeper thinking, spark interest in science and science-related careers, create enduring understanding, build problem-solving skills, and create lifelong learners. We will also be visiting the science lab one period a week where Mrs. Boyer will be co-teaching many experiments to further our units of study. This period is known as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). Science is integrated in our thematic weekely topics as well.
Social Studies is taught throughout the week as it is integrated in our weekly thematic units. However, we will explore the following units of study throughout the year: Rights and Responsibilities, Geography of the Community, Symbols and Traditions of the United States, Lfe Today and Long Ago, One Nation Many People, and Work in the Community. Students will be engaged in many hands-on lessons throughout the year.