Sunday, April 21, 2013

Common Core in the Content Areas: Biomes and Habitats

My new weekly series is called Common Core in the Content Areas. Eventually if people show enough interest I think it would make a great linky.

Jessica at Ideas by Jivey was kind enough to help create a great blog button for the series.

Ideas By Jivey

Since it ties into Science, I am also going to link up with Collaboration Cuties' Must Read Mentor Texts since I am offering book suggestions for Science.

This week I am going to share some ideas on studying Biomes. I decided I wanted to do an end of the year project to incorporate Science and Social Studies as well as Reading and Writing.  I have tried to incorporate a lot more Nonfiction this year, but I felt that the Informational Text Common Core Standards are the ones I really want to review at the end of the year. Informational Text is much harder for students to read because they have to be much more active readers. I decided that a project on biomes would be a great way to tie up the year. With tomorrow being Earth Day it is also a great time to begin our discussion of biomes.  I am going to be stalking all the blogs I follow and Pinterest for some cute Earth Day freebies to tie in tomorrow.

We introduced biomes last week with a Discovery Education video to preview all of the biomes. Then, the students had to choose a biome they wanted to learn more about.  I asked all of them to check out at least 2 books at the library on their biome to bring to class tomorrow.  We are going to practice all of the Reading Informational Text Standards over the next several weeks while they read/learn about the plants, animals, climate, etc. of their biome. I have been looking for some cute books that would also make great read alouds over the next couple weeks.  The students will be reading Nonfiction independently, but I will probably choose some other texts for read alouds.

I found a unit on TpT that is going to make a great starting point for our research. Today I just need to finish my informational text graphic organizers and plan for the unit.  (Every weekend I plan on getting so much accomplished but in my effort to be eat better, exercise more, and be more balanced I have found I have less time at home for blogging, grading, planning, and creating products.)  The biome unit is by Tanye Rae Designs.
The unit has some great research organizers, handouts, and even book suggestions for each biome. After going through the library, here are some books I found on biomes, ecosystems, and habitats.  I am going to have my students research the plants, animals, climate, and the various plant and animal adaptations for these biomes. We also probably talk about food chains during this unit.
Last week, we started reading What is a Biome? by Bobbie Kalman.  It is a great overview book.  I would say it is probably more effective read independently or in small groups than whole group. We are going to read it in small chunks. (I found the Discovery Education video a more engaging preview to the unit.)  It will make a good book to do mini-lessons on reading informational text though as I have them practice different reading skills over the next couple weeks.
You can never go wrong with Magic School Bus.  I found a couple of Magic School Bus books related to Biomes.  The kids always enjoy the videos more but the books are great as read aloud. To talk about animal habitats and ecosystems, there is The Magic School Bus Explores the World of Animals.
To talk about Food Chains, there is The Magic School Bus Gets Eaten.
I found a cute book called Crinkleroot's Guide to knowing Animal Habitats.  An old man is your guide and leads you through ways to find animals in different habitats. There is a whole Crinkleroot series of books.

I always love searching through the Graphic Novels in the kid's section for ideas as well. I found
A Journey into Adaptation with Max Axiom.  We will read this when we talk about adaptation.

If you go look in the Junior Nonfiction section at your library under 577 and 578, you can find a ton of nonfiction books on each of the biomes.  These are the books we will use for their independent research.  As we get started, I will share more of my ideas and finds on studying biomes.  Do you have any fun books or lessons you use when studying biomes, food chains, ecosystems, habitats, or plant and animal adaptations?

Don't forget about my Be a Better You Giveaway.  You can earn a $30 gift card to a store of your choice to get healthier for summer.


  1. Cute button! We did a must read mentor text linky today if you want to link this up! It would be perfect with the books that you mentioned! :O) No pressure though!!

    Thanks for sharing all of these ideas! We are in the middle of ecosystems right now!

    Collaboration Cuties

  2. These are great resources. Thanks for sharing! I'm Brandee, your newest follower. :)
    Creating Lifelong Learners

  3. My students and I are just working on a Biome writing project right now. They are each researching a Biome and are going to create a poster from their research.

    Hunter's Tales from Teaching

  4. HI April! Thanks for sharing! These are fabulous ideas and I love the book suggestions. Have a great week!


  5. Oh my gosh! I completely forgot about Crinkleroot! I have that book somewhere! ???
    Love the graphic novel. My students love graphic novels.
    We are just finishing up biomes. I used pvc pipe to form arches around the desks. My students then researched a biome and recreated it. They had so much fun!
    Thanks for the great book ideas. My list is quickly growing!
    Fabulous Fifth Grade Fun

  6. I love these book ideas! I think I need to get my hands on them! PS that button looks so cute on your blog! ;-)
    ideas by jivey
    Follow Me On Facebook! :)

  7. Thanks for sharing all the great texts! Just found your block through the link up and am a new follower!

    Sarah @ Hoots N' Hollers

  8. April, the Common Core in the Content Areas logo is so CUTE :) I love Bobbie Kalman books for easily accessible science nonfiction texts. I love how the structure of the books are predictable. I actually saw a few of them in the Target Dollar spot recently, but they looked to be on about a 1st-2nd grade level so I let them be. Can't wait to hear more content area connections!


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