Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Break the Ice in the Classroom!

The first weeks of school can be challenging for some students, especially those who are new. Try this activity modified from Project Learning Tree’s Environmental Exchange Box to assist students in getting to know each other.

Create a list of questions (see sample questions below for ideas). Incorporate natural resource topics into your questions. If you are planning on taking your students on outside field trips this fall, this activity can be used as an indicator of the comfort level of your students to outside activities.

Cut the list of questions into individual slips of paper (1 question per slip). Place the slips into a box. Pass the box around. Each student pulls out a slip of paper, reads the question, and answers to the class.

As an extension, the students could record the answers and graph the results. They could share the results with other sections of their same grade level.

Sample Questions

  • What is your favorite thing to do outside?
  • What is your favorite food?
  • If you could be any animal what would you be and why?
  • What is your favorite color?
  • Do you prefer to view sunrise or sunset?
  • What is your favorite song?
  • What is your best outdoor memory?
  • What is your favorite flower?
  • What is your favorite tree?
  • What is your favorite movie?
  • What is your favorite sound heard outside?
  • What is your favorite smell?

Book List
Grades PreK-2
Arnosky, J. 1995. I See Animals Hiding. Scholastic.
Carle, E. 1999. Eric Carle’s Animals, Animals. Putnam Juvenile.
Carlson, N. 1990. I Like Me! Puffin.
DK Publishing. 2007. Backyard Bugs. DK Publishing, Inc.
Giogas, V. 2007. In My Backyard. Sylvan Dell Publishing.
Hallinan, P.K. 2001. My First Day of School. Ideals Publications.
Penn, A. 2006. Kissing Hand. Tanglewood Press IN.
Selsam, M.E. and J. Hunt. 1991. Keep Looking! Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing.

Grades 3-5
Amato, C.A. 2002. Backyard Pets: Activities for Exploring Wildlife Close to Home. Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated.
Arnosky, J. 1983. Secrets of a Wildlife Watcher. HarperCollins Publishers.
Arnosky, J. 1997. Crinkleroot’s Guide to Knowing Animal Habitats (Crinkleroot Series). Aladin.
Bishop, N. 2002. Backyard Detective: Critters Up Close. Scholastic, Inc.
Green, J. 2002. In a Backyard. Crabtree Publishing Company.
Morrison, G. 2004. Nature in the Neighborhood. Houghton Mifflin Company.
Norsgaard, E.J. 1990. Nature's Great Balancing Act: In Our Own Backyard. Penguin Young Readers Group.
Sterry, P. 2005. Nature Explorer. Running Press Book Publishers.