Have you ever had one of these...
A project, that you never even thought of... that you didn't even have the time for... that was never planned and fit into your schedule, and it just...
Then you feel like this...
Yeah, I love those.
Recently, I was reading The One and Only Ivan with my 3rd graders. I really
Well, anyway- they were SUPER into this book, as suspected and then the Literacy Coach at my school sent me a link to a petition about a 55 year old elephant living in captivity and performing for those that visit the park. The petition was to free MoMo so that she could live the rest of her life happily without having to put on a show for people.
Light...bulb! WE COULD RESEARCH THIS!
Yup- and that's when our Elephant project was born. Exactly 1 week before we started it.
The question for this project was, "Should elephants be held in captivity and trained to entertain visitors?"
My kids worked in groups to research, and read books, and watch videos, and research... There was SO much content in this unit. Reading non-fiction, finding the main idea, comparing and contrasting information, forming an opinion, writing a persuasive article, and we even incorporated some other cool technology by making a Public Service Announcement. That's not even including things like: collaborating, working as a team, etc. Every single group came to the conclusion that elephants should not be trained to perform and entertain us. I tried to play devils advocate but they weren't buying it. That's OK.
They were SO engaged in this entire project. Every single day, y'all, no joke- they walked into the room asking, "Ms. G, are we going to work on our elephant project today?!"
To help them stay on the right track for their articles, I ended up modifying another graphic organizer I found that another teacher made, in order to fit with our elephant theme... so I don't want to share those graphic organizers, but as soon as I can remember where the heck I found the other teacher-authors - I will link it here. Here are a few pictures to give you an idea...
At the end of our unit, we invited parents, other teachers, our principal, assistant principal, and a few other people to come listen to us present about the reasons exactly why we should not support things like the circus. The students each shared their articles and shared their video.
It was such an amazing project- all for something that was never even thought of in the first place. It was timely, relevant, integrated the real world, and they felt like they were REALLY making a difference!
Now I call that a win.
I thought you might like to read their articles and watch their videos, so please enjoy them below! Each article is 2 pages long. If you feel like you want to leave us some comments on our work, you can use the Padlet at the bottom too!
Hope you enjoy! And please, "Help Save the Elephants!"