Having a room full of students on task, happy, and learning is a teacher’s dream, but then spring fever hits, and, “Bam”! Those plans seems to fly out the open window into the spring breeze, but there are ways to combat spring fever. Try using a theme that creates high engagement and sparks motivation. Read on to see which theme might work for you!
Theme #1-Icky bugs for Big Kids and Little Kids
Gross can be intriguing, but guess what? Pull out a few rubber bugs and have a little fun. “Eek!” they’ll scream, but then you know you have them in the palm of your hand. Spring fever will be no problem for YOU! You can pull in research skills, nonfiction comprehension skills, math problem solving, and many life science standards with a study of icky bugs, can’t you? Last week, I shared a PBL project idea in my post over on Adventures in Literacy Land you might consider. Project Based Learning has been proven to be very motivating, so this is one direction you could go with an Icky Bug theme. Here are a few book choices to get you started:
If you dig into this theme, you might find these resources helpful in your planning.
Theme #2-Ooey Gooey Messy Science
Kids LOVE to get messy (at least most kids do). One of my students’ favorite activities is to use shaving cream on our desks for cleaning. I can work in word study or fluency work with the shaving cream AND clean desks at the same time. Many of you have seen or made Gak which kids love. You know how excited they get feeling it in their hands. Goodbye Spring Fever! We’re getting messy today! If you use this theme, here are titles to get you started. However, I bet your library has a few “slimey” books too.
If you decide that this would be a fun directions to go, you might work in opportunities for cooking, chemistry, matter, and body systems. You can research famous scientists and/or ooey gooey substances in our environment. Here is the recipe for GAK.
Theme #3-Make Spring Weather Work for You
The weather can be somewhat unpredictable during the spring, so why not use the unpredictability work for you by studying storms. Storms can make all of us a bit uneasy, and yet, this uneasiness can lead to curiosity too. Kids want to understand how storms form, what kind of damage they can do, and how we can remain safe through them. [THIS POST] that I wrote for Virginia is for Teachers includes a long list of recommended book titles, resources, tech links, and more.
Our fourth grade students learn about storms, cloud types, weather tools, and such. The close reading set to the right was created to work on some of these skills AND comprehension of nonfiction. My students have always been engaged even when spring fever has been a challenge.
Theme #4-Go Green with Gardening
Like the Ooey Gooey section above, this theme takes advantage of kids need to get messy. Why not get them out in the fresh air and digging in the dirt. Kids can learn a lot from gardening, and tapping into that interest in the classroom with books about plants can lead to more meaningful reading. Your kids will have a purpose for reading if they’re learning how to make their garden produce. My school put together a garden area for our families, and believe it or not, most of the plants and seeds were donated. Parents came in to help with planting, and during the summer, many of our families came to enjoy the fruits of the kids labor.
In addition to these book ideas, I have a few book companion sets in my store that could tie in to a gardening theme.
Several of Bunting’s books work beautifully during the spring. I love Sunflower House for plant studies and Someday a Tree for Earth Day. You can get resources for these two plus three other titles in the author study.
FREEBIE FOR YOU
Theme #5-Who Done It?
Not long ago, I came across this pin on Pinterest. It got me thinking about how much upper elementary aged kids would enjoy a series of Who Done It lessons, and since making inferences is so challenging, what better way to weave in that skills! Well, the wheels have been turning on this, and I’ve now built up a decent board on Pinterest. I was surprised how many great resources are out there for mysteries. Just look at all of these great book titles.
In addition to these attention grabbing titles, there are also many great lesson options on TPT. My friend, Melissa at Don’t Let the Teacher Stay Up Late has a great series of mystery products that are so much fun, and let’s face it, drawing conclusions is a challenging skill. Check out this freebie from her store to try out with your kids. If you like them, she’s developed a series that you could add on.
I also loved this this mystery genre study idea that integrates technology. Tech with Jen. Jen has set up the mystery in a confidential file, supplied all of the ingredients to the mystery, and even integrated tech into it. You have to check it out.
Other Spring Posts You’ll Enjoy:
- The Ultimate Guide to Spring Mentor Texts for Comprehension
- 5 Ways to Keep Focus through Spring Fever
- How to Make Inferences with Just a Dream
Well, I hope these ideas will give you ways to keep spring fever at bay and your kids engaged and motivated. There is certainly a lot of learning ahead.