Open Court Unit Openers

So what makes a successful unit opener?  Thanks Mathew; Creating Lifelong Learners  blog for the friendly nudge. I’ll be spending some time this next week looking at our next unit plan.  The unit opener is an opportunity to give your Language Arts curriculum a jump start.  Spending a day away from routines and exploring a concept is such an enriching experience.   It  sets the tone for the rest of the unit.

In  the introduction of my next unit I will have a small table in front of the Concept and Question Board.  I will bring several pieces of realia to have students identify and explore.  I will put these items in a big brown grocery bag, just to build suspense.  Even though we are bombarded with the use of different mindmaps, the old KWL chart still works for me.   I have students with in table groups to come up with ideas.  The students then share their ideas with the class.  From these ideas we make our class KW, I revisit chart throughout the unit and add ideas and facts learned.

The use of images is an essential part in my introduction of the concepts in the unit.  This can be accomplished by preparing selected images that represent these concepts.  I like to search for images at social sharing websites like flickr. I use a school LCD projector to show these to the students.  You can also print them out and make a transparency and use with an overhead projector.   I will use these to introduce a writing prompt.  This will be their initial writing piece.

I will also use this day to introduce the unit project.  These projects can take many forms, from your traditional display boards to more sophisticated reports and maybe even powerpoints.  I am thinking of having the students create a digital story to showcase their learning from the unit.  The digital story will incorporate student narration, the use of pictures and maybe some video.  We are going to publish these group digital stories on our classroom blog, thirdgradediscoveries.  This is our new classroom blog.  So, how do you introduce unit concepts in your classroom?

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One Comment on “Open Court Unit Openers”

  1. Mathew Says:

    Excellent ideas for using pictures and building suspense. I like the idea of using flickr for pictures and using those as writing prompts.

    I look forward to the day when the technology is cheap enough to put blogs on the concept question board.


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