Going Batty for Bats!

So... to say it's been a while would be an understatement. I have to give credit to all the amazing bloggers who find a way to make time for their blogs while balancing work, family, and friends. I have yet to discover how to do this gracefully!

Now that the school year is in full swing, I'm ready to try and make blogging a habit. I'm taking baby steps. :)

In class my students and I have been busy learning about bats. Stellaluna is one of my favorite read alouds (I always cry when Stellaluna is reunited with her mother) so I was super excited to launch this unit.

We started the unit by activating prior knowledge about bats with a Bat Schema chart (thanks to Erica Bohrer's amazing bat unit- click here to read her blog post about it and check it out for yourself).

Then we did a lot of research. A lot of research. We borrowed books from the library and from other teacher friends- I even bought a few new titles to add to our class library. The interest was so high for this- the kids were talking about bats all. the. time. We also used Lyndsey Kuster's "Flap Your Wings" bat unit to do our research. Click here to check it out- the unit includes differentiated texts and links to awesome videos which my students LOVED. Great book suggestions, too! As we learned more and more about bats, we updated our schema chart. (The picture above is after two days of "bat research").

All this research about bats really got my students thinking. They were especially interested in vampire bats, naturally. We had to do some special google research to assuage fears regarding whether or not vampire bats can be found in the US (thankfully, they are not). One of my sweethearts told a vivid account of his encounter with a vampire bat in "the place where you can find vampire bats". According to him, he bravely "defeated" the vampire bat. After some prodding, he admitted that his story was part fantasy at least- he "really did got to that place where vampire bats are!" Of course, we talked extensively about how vampire bats are not actually vampires. By the end of the unit most  of my first grade friends were not as terrified about bats anymore and had a newfound respect of them. MOST of them.

To tie in math- we made a class graph telling whether we thought bats were cute or creepy. This fabulous idea is straight from Cara Carroll- I just love everything she does! Click here to read her blog post about bats. 

The kids colored a simple bar graph to match this picture graph we made together- again, click here to find it and grab it from Cara Carroll's blog. 

To tie more writing into the unit, I had each student write about why they think bats are cute (or creepy). I differentiated it by providing some students with the starter: "I think bats are cute. Bats are cute because..." or "I think bats are creepy. Bats are creepy because..." Other students had to write both sentences without a starter. The kids loved writing about bats and creating their bat craftivities!

With the end of October approaching, our bat research is dying down and we are gearing up to study turkeys, of course! What are some fun units you explore in the month of October? Spiders, anyone?