Miss. Huling's First Grade Class
Donaldson Elementary School
Oakdale, Pennsylvania

Our shark unit began with the class completing the first two sections of a KWL chart as a group. That was followed by one of the non fiction read aloud books about sharks. Next we visited the Enchanted Learning site, as well as sites recommended by the project coordinators. Various worksheets from Enchanted Learning and from the project site were used. Similar books and websites were used on other days. An excellent site which we use in our school is NetTrekker. It is a safe search engine, which our school district subscribes to, which facilitates differentiated instruction. As a primary teacher, I especially like the fact that it can be set to read to the child. This is quite a useful site in addressing UDL.

The students then created sharks on drawing paper, with attention given to including parts of the sharks which we had labeled before, such as the different kinds of fins, gills and body shapes. These sharks have been “swimming overhead” throughout the unit.

During one of our computer lab times, the students used Kid Pix to draw and write a fact about sharks.

A cooperative learning activity-Round Table-was used to summarize information learned about sharks. This, like many other cooperative learning structures, facilitates UDL. Each child on each of 4 teams was responsible for writing a fact about sharks. Team members were encouraged to talk with each other to assure different facts were told and to assist each other, as necessary. The facts were written on sentence strips. These facts were then read aloud for the class. I typed the sentences on Primary Tablet and then cut them apart. The students then worked as a classroom group to arrange the sentences into a story. We worked together to group facts together and to combine any that were the same on different teams. We edited and proofread as necessary. These were then hung on a chart for all to read. We read the story as a group and then each student took a copy home for reading homework and to share their shark expertise with family members. The story was then combined with their Kid Pix pictures and used for a PowerPoint presentation.

The unit was concluded with a shark wordsearch, a shark acrostic poem, a *windowpane activity and the completion of the KWL chart from the beginning of the unit.

*I can’t remember where the windowpane activity originated. The first time I used it was during a course on differentiated instruction. However, I have used the windowpane format often to address and assess learning at different ability levels in the classroom.




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