Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Text Suggestions on Hurricanes and Teachers Helping Teachers

Happy Election Day (or what remains of it).  I have been watching the election results and dozing.  It is so hard to sit still at the end of a day and stay awake (even when it is important).

I just wanted to share a quick post on hurricanes in case you are trying to help your students understand Hurricane Sandy.  I am going to share some text suggestions on hurricanes you could use with your students.

First, I wanted to mention an opportunity if you are looking for a way to help out teachers who have been affected by the hurricane.  By now, you are probably aware of this, but I want to pass it on just in case.  Laurah at the ESOL Odyssey is sponsoring an opportunity for Teachers to Help Teachers.  She has put in a ton of work into organizing this, and it makes me proud to be a teacher when we work together to support one another. There is a form you fill out to choose an item from your store to donate to teachers in need.  You also can blog about it and link up to the linky party to show your support. Many teachers have lost a lot of their materials, and this would would be one way you could help them rebuild.

My students have been studying fast changes to the earth, so we had already been discussing earthquakes, volocanoes, and tsunamis.  We are working on discussing Atmosphere and Air and about to begin our discussion of weather.  As it fits in with the rest of these discussions, I am adding some additional discussion of hurricanes.

Last week we watched this video on Hurricanes from Brainpop. We also watched a Discovery Education video on how hurricanes are formed.  Here is a link to StudyJams and some videos related to weather.  Here is a Magic School Bus episode on Air, which we will watch as part of our discussion of atmosphere and air. 



Now, some text suggestions on Hurricanes:

Looking at several texts on hurricanes is going to give us some opportunity to practice some of the 5th Grade Common Core Reading Informational Standards.

RI 5.5 Compare and contrast the overall structure (e.g., chronology, comparison, cause/effect, problem/solution) of events, ideas, concepts, or information in two or more texts.

RI 5.7 Draw on information from multiple print or digital sources, demonstrating the ability to locate an answer to a question quickly or to solve a problem efficiently.

RI 5.9  Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.

We will start by discussing as a group what questions we might have on hurricanes.  Some examples might be:
How are hurricanes formed?
How are they detected?
What can people do to prepare?
What kind of damage to they cause?
How do people rebuild?
What makes hurricane conditions more dangerous?

We will then read one book together and make a 2 column chart for questions and answers. Students will then practice the skill on their own by reading some books independently and putting questions and answers. I may even have some students read about hurricanes and other students read about tornadoes, wildfires, tsunamis, etc. for some variety.

Magic School Bus has a a book called Inside a Hurricane.  My library had multiple copies of the book, so I am debating if I want to do this as a read aloud or have them read it in small groups.  I may use this one as the read aloud. This would be narrative nonfiction as it presents nonfiction information as a fictional story.

Hurricanes: Earth's mightiest storms is an exemplar text for Common Core. It has a lot of historical information on Hurricanes and a lot of pictures. I am actually debating on using this book as the read aloud as well since it is an exemplar text and would be a good book for finding answers to questions. This might be one some students would struggle to read independently as the information is more dense.  By having students read with questions in mind, it gives them an intent for reading.
Do Tornadoes really Twist? Questions and answers about Tornadoes and Hurricanes is a book that is structured as basically questions and answers.
I actually would like my students to read all three books.  We may do one all together and then they can read the other two in stations or groups. We will then compare/contrast the structure of each book.  For each one, I will have them write questions and see if they can find the answers. We will discuss the differences in how the information is presented and if one structure we felt was more effective than another.  This would also be a good opportunity to discuss text features for each text structure.

At the end, they will use the information from all three books to write about what they learned about hurricanes, integrating information from multiple sources.

We may extend this skill by having them the next week each read a book and an article on different types of storms/natural disasters.  I will have them use the same process of writing questions and answers.  They will then write a short presentation/speech on what they learned to present.  I think having them speak on what they learn will be more engaging when there is some variety to the topics.  We will probably just discuss as a group what we learned about Hurricanes.  I may even have them research ways they could try to help efforts for Hurricane Sandy, such as donating to the Red Cross or have them see if there are places to help/donate to kids that have been affected. How are you discussing hurricanes in your classroom? How are you using the Common Core Informational Standards?

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