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Lesson Plans Created by TeachNet Adaptor Grants

RESPONSIBILITY: Caring for Classroom Virtual Pets

Name: Jessica Gold
School: PS 35x
Address: 261 East 163rd Street
City: Bronx, NY, 10451
Original Project: RESPONSIBILITY: Caring for Classroom Virtual Pets
Author: Cindy Lewis
URL: http://teachnet-lab.org/ps142/petcare/index.htm

How did you modify this unit for use in your own classroom?: Being the Speech Therapist and not seeing the children all together at the same time in a classroom, but rather individually and in small groups, I had to modify the unit by working on the project in many steps and at different levels. There was also a lot of repetition of lessons as I had to present it many different times to different groups. For the older or higher level children, there were different expectations and standards from those of the younger or lower level children. I also had to break down the tasks into small parts that would be able to be completed in a 30 minute session. For the final project, instead of the children choosing any pet they would prefer to research, the children chose the breed of dog they would prefer and completed the essay on that.

List your primary instructional objectives for your students.

  1. Students will identify and use voting as a way to make decisions. 2. Students will discuss data using appropriate terms more than/less than. 3. Students will construct a bar graph displaying recorded data.
  1. Students will listen to and discuss stories being read aloud. 2. Students will generate predictions about story outcomes using available information. 3. Students will retell stories orally including necessary story grammar elements. 4. Students will identify characters in the story and produce sentences to describe them.
  1. Students learn to compromise. 2. Students will participate in group planning and discussion. 3. Students will generate questions to research on the Internet. 4. Students will be introduced to the Internet.
 

What role did technology play in this curriculum unit?: The children were introduced to the Internet. We used it to find many things. First, we looked up titles of books about our chosen pet which was a dog. Then we used it to research and see pictures of different breeds of dogs. Finally, we researched everything we would need to know about dogs so that we would be prepared for our new pet!

How did you assess and evaluate student performance?: Students participated a in survey casting a vote for their favorite pet. Students completed a bar graph survey including the questions relative to the data collected. Students had to identify and explain the reason for choosing their favorite character in a given story. Written report on important facts relevant to their chosen pet. Oral report using the written report as an outline. Demonstrated ability to work cooperatively in a small group.

Please tell us briefly about your background & teaching experience: Ms. Gold is the Speech and Language Pathologist in the school. She has been working for 2 years. Ms. Gold serves the general education and special education students in grades K-4. During intervention, her focus is on improving receptive and expressive language skills, narative development, phonological awareness, and articulation.

What are your recommendations for other teachers interested in adapting this unit?: I recommend to leave a long time span in order to complete the project especially if you are only able to see small groups of children at a time.

Samples of Student Projects

  We had a general discussion about pets. We talked about who has a pet at home, what you need to do for pets, what animals make good pets, etc. Students brainstormed four possible choices for a classroom "virtual" pet. The final choices to be voted on were fish, rabbit, turtle and dog. From the final four choices a vote was taken and a rabbit was selected as our "virtual" pet. Students then completed a bar graph survey including the questions relative to the data collected.
 
 
  Based on the fact that the dog was chosen as the classroom virtual pet, a selection from eight books having dogs as the main characters was read as a guided read aloud. The students identified the story grammar elements and retold the stories in correct sequence. A chart was made listing relevant facts about dogs. The students then identified their favorite character from one of the stories and explained their reason for choosing that particular character.
 
 
  The students had to formulate questions about dogs that they wanted answered in their research. Examples of questions asked - How big does it get? What does it eat? What does it play with? Are they friendly? Then students used the internet to research different breeds of dogs so that they could choose their favorite. Sites were bookmarked on the Internet relevant to the dog breeds being researched. The students came to me with their questions and I read the information from the Internet. Finally, a written and oral presentation was produced by each student about their chosen dog breed.
 
 
 
 

 

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