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Life Cycle Ideas and Activities for Hands-on Learning Fun!

Do you teach about life cycles? 

Here is a plethora of ideas and resources to make your life easier and to help make learning fun!

Do you teach about life cycles? Discover hands-on learning fun with these life cycle ideas and activities!

Why is it important to teach about life cycles?

Do you teach about life cycles? Discover hands-on learning fun with these life cycle ideas and activities!

Teaching young people about life cycles is a great way to help them understand the world around them. It helps them connect with nature, and develop a sense of life patterns. 

 I typically start any unit with plenty of books on the topic, and here are some of my favorites! (Can you tell who my favorite children's non-fiction author is?) Each image is an affiliate link to Amazon.

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You can find more books on life cycles HERE! (Also affiliate links!) In my classroom, I'll read a few, then leave several different life cycle related books out for them to read on their own. (The librarian/ media specialist is your best friend!)

Do you teach about life cycles? Discover hands-on learning fun with these life cycle ideas and activities!

Start with something small, with just a few parts to the life cycle. Flowering plants, such as sunflowers or daisies are a great place to start, since these life cycles are very basic. After going over one or two simple life cycles, advance to something else children enjoy and know something about like apples or chickens!

Do you teach about life cycles? Discover hands-on learning fun with these life cycle ideas and activities!

Then do a few more together. Advance to something more complex and fun, like the butterfly or the frog!

Do you teach about life cycles? Discover hands-on learning fun with these life cycle ideas and activities!

There are so many plants and animals out there, each child can have plenty of options for exploring on their own!

Do you teach about life cycles? Discover hands-on learning fun with these life cycle ideas and activities!

Then assign research. More advanced students can do all the research on their own. Average students can do some research on their own. Some students will need extra guidance. I highly recommend using the text pages from these collections:

Do you teach about life cycles? Discover hands-on learning fun with these life cycle ideas and activities!
 Spring Life Cycle Bundle: 9 different plants and animals (dandelions, cherry trees, bees, Monarch butterflies, chickens, robins, salmon, earthworms, and rabbits)

Summer Life Cycle Bundle: 9 different plants and animals (watermelons, daisies, strawberries, tomatoes, frogs, praying mantises, sea turtles, ants, and ladybugs)

Fall Life Cycle Bundle: 8 different plants and animals (apple trees, corn, pumpkins, sunflowers, owls, spiders, bats, and wild turkeys)

Winter Life Cycle Bundle: 9 different plants and animals (orange trees, cocoa trees, pine trees, deer, groundhogs, harp seal, penguin, polar bear, and puffins)

Why are these sorted by season? Well, because it's more fun! I'm sure you know how excited the kiddos get about special events and holidays! Use that excitement in your classroom! Let them explore pumpkins and bats near Halloween! Let them explore pine trees and deer around Christmas!

All these life cycle sets are sold separately, but the bundles are at a huge discount. Plus, all bundles include these two extra resources: 

Do you teach about life cycles? Discover hands-on learning fun with these life cycle ideas and activities!
Reader's theater about life cycles: What Came First, the Chicken or the Egg? This is a great way for students to share what they've learned and culminate the unit! Plus, there's a song for performers to sing as a finale!
Do you teach about life cycles? Discover hands-on learning fun with these life cycle ideas and activities!

Digital fun! Life Cycle Fun Facts! This resource (hosted on the popular Boom Learning platform) includes facts and questions about a plethora of plant and animal life cycles! This deck has 40 different questions, and no child will know all the answers! One of the features I love about Boom Learning resources, is that they can play the deck over and over, and because of the immediate feedback, they can learn something every time they play! Teachers can easily check their scores to make sure they are showing growth! (If they aren't, there's a conversation that needs to take place!)

There are many ways to differentiate the learning of life cycles!

Do you teach about life cycles? Discover hands-on learning fun with these life cycle ideas and activities!
Whether they're working alone, with a partner, a small group, or the whole group, this is important:

Do you teach about life cycles? Discover hands-on learning fun with these life cycle ideas and activities!

Get them talking and thinking! Get them comparing different life cycles, looking for similarities and differences. Have them predict a life cycle of a plant or animal before researching it. Encourage them to sort life cycles that are alike! Most of all, get them talking about what they  are learning! Those conversations deepen the learning!

All life cycle resources include these 7 pages:

Choice is essential!

Do you teach about life cycles? Discover hands-on learning fun with these life cycle ideas and activities!

All of these resources are included in The Life Cycles Collection. This massive bundle includes 35 different plant and animal life cycles as well as the Reader's Theater:
What Came First, the Chicken or the Egg?  and the digital resource: Life Cycle Fun Facts! Have I mentioned that bundles come with big discounts?

Do you teach about life cycles? Discover hands-on learning fun with these life cycle ideas and activities!

Most important, give opportunities to share their learning. Although some might be shy about sharing information in front of the class, that's what makes it so memorable! The memory is powerful when strong emotions are involved. Not only will they remember what they shared, they'll remember what life cycles their classmates shared as well! 

Do you teach about life cycles? Discover hands-on learning fun with these life cycle ideas and activities!

A special day to celebrate all the learning is a necessity! Have a Life Cycle Festival! Have children share their presentations on what they learned! Invite parents, administration, friends, other classes, etc! I'll bet you can think of plenty of life cycle related foods to serve! Be sure to have someone videotape it all!

What ideas do you have for learning and celebrating life cycles?

Do you teach about life cycles? Discover hands-on learning fun with these life cycle ideas and activities!


Twelve Ideas to Get Your Students to LOVE Reading!

One of the most important things we can do as teachers is help our students develop a love of reading!

Twelve ideas to get your students to LOVE reading: One of the most important things we do as teachers is to give them a love for reading.
 
One way to get them to love reading is to get them hooked on books!
Twelve ideas to get your students to LOVE reading: One of the most important things we do as teachers is to give them a love for reading.
 I am committed to reading daily to my students. Sometimes I read to them to emphasize a particular literature skill, or to teach a specific non-fiction topic, but for the most part, I read to them to help them develop a love for books! Here's a post I wrote a few years ago about the importance of reading aloud. (Plus, there's a freebie!) The Importance of Read Alouds!

 Want to make story time even more fun?
Twelve ideas to get your students to LOVE reading: One of the most important things we do as teachers is to give them a love for reading.
Take them all outside on a nice day!
 
Even better:
 Twelve ideas to get your students to LOVE reading: One of the most important things we do as teachers is to give them a love for reading.
Take them outside for reading! There's nothing more fun than being outside on a nice day! Here's another post about learning outside: Five Ways to Get Them Learning OUTSIDE!


Students are social beings!
 
Let them read with their friends! Just be careful... make sure they are reading books at their independent level (or easier) and are working with friends close to the same level. It needs to be a positive experience!
 
Here's one of my favorite ways to build enthusiasm for reading:
Twelve ideas to get your students to LOVE reading: One of the most important things we do as teachers is to give them a love for reading.
 
I confess, I've always been a big fan of integrating the arts and I even have an acting background. Both posts below show many reasons to use Reader's Theater, and suggests several resources, including a freebie!
 
 Once in a while there's a reason to plop a kiddo down in the teacher's chair and have them read to the class.
Twelve ideas to get your students to LOVE reading: One of the most important things we do as teachers is to give them a love for reading.
 
Just like when they're reading with friends, be very careful. This needs to be a positive experience for all involved. One thing I do sometimes is let children choose a passage from a book they like, practice it, then read it to their classmates. (This also works in a reading group!) It's a win-win! The child gets to share a book, and their friends get a taste of a book they might want to read! Here are some other ideas for building fluency and accuracy: Seven Ideas for Reading Accurately And yes, there's a freebie in there!
 
Don't they love those tablets and laptops? (and their parent's phone for homework)
 
There are  plenty of places to find reading materials to be read on these devices. May I suggest these Boom Learning resources? Teachers can check to see how students are doing, links can be sent home, and the children love these!

This idea is a bit obvious for teachers:
 Twelve ideas to get your students to LOVE reading: One of the most important things we do as teachers is to give them a love for reading.
 
Where to get all these books? Well, first of all, the school librarian (media specialist) is your best friend! 
There are also those wonderful book orders. The books are quite reasonably priced, and the more books children purchase, the more free books you can get! I'll always let the kids look over the order sheets and circle the ones they might want. Then, I'll have them show the face they'll use when they're begging their grown-ups for books! (Melts my heart every time!)

Besides books at their level, they need books they enjoy!
Twelve ideas to get your students to LOVE reading: One of the most important things we do as teachers is to give them a love for reading.
Again, time to visit that librarian! They know what kids like!
But you know your kids best! Some very popular topics in my classroom: sports, animals, humor, mystery, friendships, school life, and any upcoming holiday! Let them talk to each other about the books they're reading. They can "sell" a book better than I can!

 Did you ever notice when children are playing a game, they get caught up in a game and forget they are practicing a skill?
 Twelve ideas to get your students to LOVE reading: One of the most important things we do as teachers is to give them a love for reading.
 
Here are some reading games that will help them forget they're practicing important skills: Reading Games and Activities.

As I've mentioned, integrating the arts is a valuable tool in the classroom! Music is magical in many ways!
Twelve ideas to get your students to LOVE reading: One of the most important things we do as teachers is to give them a love for reading.
This post has several reasons to use music in the classroom, and some fun resources! Sing With Your Students
 
Don't hesitate to sing with them, it will increase their learning in many ways. Plus, it's fun!

This is probably the most important! (in addition to reading to them, of course!)
Twelve ideas to get your students to LOVE reading: One of the most important things we do as teachers is to give them a love for reading.
Let them see you reading!   
Let them see that you love books!
Let them see you talking about the books you're reading!
Let them see your passion for books!

 How do you get your students to LOVE reading?

 Twelve ideas to get your students to LOVE reading: One of the most important things we do as teachers is to give them a love for reading.

The Most Important Part of Writer's Workshop

I've been a passionate fan of Writer's Workshop ever since I learned about it a VERY long tie ago! (Not to give away my age, but I was first introduced to Writer's Workshop and the work of Donald Graves back in the 1980s!) I've been lucky to have a lot of instruction and support with the Writing Process, and have used it in my classroom with much success!

The Most Important Part of Writer's Workshop! There are many important parts of Writer's Workshop, and they're all important. But this is essential!
There are so many important parts to the process of writing! Here are some ideas!

 Is sticking to a schedule the most important part?

The Most Important Part of Writer's Workshop! There are many important parts of Writer's Workshop, and they're all important. But this is essential!
Developing a schedule is very important! Most children need the predictability of a daily schedule. Sticking to that schedule matters, but there's something more important.

 Is having the right materials the most important part?

The Most Important Part of Writer's Workshop! There are many important parts of Writer's Workshop, and they're all important. But this is essential!
Having the right materials is indeed very important! For young children, it's important for them to be writing on paper (as well as on a computer) to develop those fine motor skills. Folders with key writing tools are also valuable. Having the right materials matters, but there's something more important.
 
 Is checking their daily work the most important part?

The Most Important Part of Writer's Workshop! There are many important parts of Writer's Workshop, and they're all important. But this is essential!
 
It's very important to check the students work frequently, but it would be insane to try to check every piece of writing they ever wrote! Checking their work is one of the strategies to help you plan what you need to teach. Checking their work matters, but there's something more important.

 Is pre-writing the most important part?

The Most Important Part of Writer's Workshop! There are many important parts of Writer's Workshop, and they're all important. But this is essential!
Just like athletes need a warm-up, so do writers! Many activities can be considered pre-writing: talking, drawing a picture, making a list, free-writing, outlining, or doing research are some ways that writers warm up before the true writing happens. Pre-writing matters, but there's something more important.

Are Individual conferences the most important part?

The Most Important Part of Writer's Workshop! There are many important parts of Writer's Workshop, and they're all important. But this is essential!
Conferencing with individuals has many benefits. Quite often having a chat about a piece of writing that's in progress will help a child progress. This is also a comfortable one-on-one time to give a student plenty of positive feed back. Individual conferences matter, but there's something more important.
 
 Are mini-lessons the most important part? 

The Most Important Part of Writer's Workshop! There are many important parts of Writer's Workshop, and they're all important. But this is essential!

Mini-lessons are what drives their writing skills! 
They are an opportunity to model desirable writing skills. The best way to find topics for your mini-lessons is to look at their work and see what they need modeled. Another place to find ideas for mini-lessons is in your district's writing standards. 
Mini-lessons matter, but there's something more important.
 
 Is taking a status of the class the most important part? 

The Most Important Part of Writer's Workshop! There are many important parts of Writer's Workshop, and they're all important. But this is essential!
 
Taking a status of the class helps you keep track of where your students are. It's a good place to see how long each student is spending on each step of the writing process, and if they are using their writing time productively. It's not necessary to do this each and every day, but 2-3 times a week is suggested.Status of the class matters, but there's something more important.
 
 Is giving them time to write the most important part? 

The Most Important Part of Writer's Workshop! There are many important parts of Writer's Workshop, and they're all important. But this is essential!
 
Children need to write daily. However you can squeeze it into your very busy day, make sure they've got some time to write every single day! Just like an athlete, writers need to use their skills so they don't lose their skills! Giving them time to write matters, but there's something more important.
 
 Is conferencing the most important part? 

The Most Important Part of Writer's Workshop! There are many important parts of Writer's Workshop, and they're all important. But this is essential!

Besides individual conferences, it's important to have small group conferences as well as whole class conferences. Sharing conversations about the writing of classmates can promote positive attitudes about writing, and can be very motivational as well as educational for young writers. Conferencing, but there's something more important.

 

 Is sharing the most important part?  

The Most Important Part of Writer's Workshop! There are many important parts of Writer's Workshop, and they're all important. But this is essential!
Yes! This is it! Knowing that the students will be sharing is what motivates them to write! It gives them a sense of audience! It's important that children share their writing often! They can share in a whole group conference, a small group share, or even one-on-one with partners. It's essential! Why write if no one is ever going to see it? They need that audience!

 Here are a couple of other posts about writing you might like:

Writer's Workshop: Help them learn to love writing by writing about what they love!

The Most Important Part of Writer's Workshop! There are many important parts of Writer's Workshop, and they're all important. But this is essential!

12 Ways to Celebrate Writing

The Most Important Part of Writer's Workshop! There are many important parts of Writer's Workshop, and they're all important. But this is essential!

Looking for some writing resources? 

Check these out: Writing Resources

What do you value about the Writing Process?

The Most Important Part of Writer's Workshop! There are many important parts of Writer's Workshop, and they're all important. But this is essential!

 

 

 

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