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Elementary Teacher Resources, Issue #034 - LBHQ (Low Budget High Quality) Idea!
May 25, 2009

Low Budget
High Quality Idea!

It’s that time of the year where the kids are squirrely, you’re busy and you need something to keep all of you motivated to end the year on a good note.

Well, I have a LBHQ (Low Budget – High Quality) idea for you!

Teach a unit with a “mission”.

I’ve chosen to teach about the rainforest this year.

I started with reading The Great Kapok Tree and made a big, ol’ tree on my classroom wall from bulletin board paper.

I had the kids write down rainforest facts that they learned from the story and hung them up too.

Then I raided my school's library for all the books about rainforest animals I could get my hands on.

Each day we read about a specific animal and create it to put into our rainforest.

We’ve talked about snakes, frogs, butterflies, toucans, and chimpanzees so far.

Through these animals the children are:

  • Learning about Rainforest layers
    (Emergent, canopy, understory, forest floor)
  • Discovering tons of vocabulary
    (molt, life cycle, grooming)
  • Enjoying a fun, energy-burning art project every day

I have been using up the left over scraps in my scrap bucket – so I haven’t had to purchase anything yet.

The kids have learned a ton, and they are still excited to come into school each morning because they know there will be a wonderful art project!

Once we have covered all of the animals… the project will turn into a “mission”. I will then present the kids with a problem that they will have to solve with their new-found knowledge.

I am going to tell them that a bulldozer is coming to tear down the rainforest and introduce the concept of deforestation to them.

Their mission is to demonstrate why the rainforest is important and explain why it shouldn’t be cut down.

The kids can do this through posters, letter writing campaigns, plays, songs, whatever they feel the desire to do.

This makes the children have ownership of their forest – and what happens to it.

This whole project from start to finish can take days – or weeks – depending on how far you want to go into it.

Another teacher at my school is doing the same type of “mission” unit, only she’s using the Ocean as her platform.

She’s teaching all about the ocean animals and life… then will introduce the horror of an “Oil Barge” leak. It’s the same concept with a different ecosystem.

I hope that you can adapt this LBHQ idea into your room so you can finish the year with an amazing, engaging, wild science adventure.

P.S. If you don’t have a big wall to do this on, think about making a portable ecosystem on a large piece of cardboard that can be folded up and put away when not in use.

If you liked our first Literacy Centers eBook... you will love it's new companion "More Literacy Centers for Primary Grades".

We have created and tested 18 new centers specifically made for the busy teacher like you!

Check out my podcasts on my podcast blog. They are fun and helpful!

I hope that you have enjoyed this newsletter. Please feel free to email it to friends and family who are teachers or homeschool moms!

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

See you next month!

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