Teaching holidays and themes has always been something that I have loved about teaching at the primary level. The children get so excited and frankly a little crazy in the weeks leading up to any holiday, vacation, full moon --- pretty much everything --- am I right? But tapping into that excitement when planning my lessons is what makes teaching so much fun! What teacher doesn't want their students excited about what they are learning and motivated to do the work? I don't know any.
The tricky thing about teaching themes is that holidays can become a touchy area in some schools in order to respect the diversity of its students. Every school is different and every group of students is different so it could likely change from year to year. But then the reality is that you have these giggly, wiggly, little cuties who cannot possibly contain their excitement about an upcoming holiday and it's hard to get them to think about anything else. For this reason I try to plan lessons where I can teach about the holiday without teaching about the holiday. Around Christmas time I love to teach units on Reindeer and the Gingerbread Man. My students have always loved these units and it helps channel some of the excitement. So for this time of year and the Easter holiday, I decided to create a unit that would accomplish the same things.
This unit begins with some informational reading about rabbits including fact cards with real photos and a student mini-book. I have used the fact cards projected on my screen and have also printed them out and had them available for students to look through. They love the authenticity that the real photos bring.
I also use the student mini-book for small group reading and for students to search for information. These worksheets are great for helping students learn how to find evidence in the text to answer questions.
Next we move onto distinguishing facts from opinions. I have a card sort and also a cut and paste worksheet.
Bringing vocabulary to life is a huge part of informational literacy. I use whole group instruction to match the word, definition, and picture. Then I have students work on the vocabulary book. For the young ones, like kindergarteners, I included just a word and picture match since reading and writing the definition would be a little much for them.
Finally, of course, we tie in some writing. I included a blank mini-book for students to write freely what they learned about rabbits. There is a flip book where students can write down 3 facts and an opinion. There are also some writing prompts for students to respond to.
And how cute is this rabbit? You can use it with any of the writing options.
If you have some of the same holiday struggles or are just looking for a fun spring topic to teach, check out this unit. Just click on the cover below: