Back in October, I hosted a Unit Opener planning week for Open Court units #2.
It resulted in some terrific ideas being posted by web site visitors and fellow bloggers and those ideas are now linked to from the unit opener pages of those units.
As teachers at different schools have different pacing, editions, and schedules, this might never come at the exact perfect time for you. However, it’s never too late to reinvigorate your unit and by the end of the planning time we’ll have another collection of great ideas for next time…but only if you contribute your own thoughts.
Options for Contributing
Start sending in your ideas now.
The Incredible Voyage of Bill Pinkney is now available on DVD.
This is a fantastic film which brings the story to life. It’s long. I would not play it in its entirety in one sitting but would play a piece every day as you read the story.
Some teachers find it objectionable that Bill Pinkney drinks alcohol in celebration on his journey and says the d word at a point in the story when his life is in danger. Use your best judgement and do preview the film ahead of time. Although I played only 5-10 minutes at a time, I did not edit any of it out in my classroom. Instead, we used the mild bad language as a an opportunity to talk about the dangers Bill Pinkney was facing (and the importance of not swearing).
I encourage you to acquire this movie as well as a DVD player if you do not yet have one in your classroom. They’re cheaper than you think these days.
Thanks to Francie Kugelman for sending this link which may come in handy for the Going West/New Frontiers units in 5th grade. This shows Lewis and Clark’s Expedition in Google Earth.
My favorite one-stop shop for opening this unit is Cornell University’s Urban Bird Studies web site
.Â All resources are free though they request a donation if they send you materials.
This site has films you can watch with your students and asks students to be urban bird watchers in their own community and submit data online about what they find. Imagine how much more meaningful this unit would be if students are actively involved in the scientific community as data collectors on the topic you are studying.
I would inform them of this role as part of the unit opener and ask them to get started by taking careful notes on one of the films from their web site.
Here are some other unit opener ideas for the City Wildlife Unit.