Effectively launching or introducing a unit can increase student buy-in and interest, resulting in higher engagement and student performance. I would like to share a few fun ways to introduce Unit 5 that can be applied across all grade levels!
What's the Big Idea?
As you move into unit 5, you may notice the technology theme that spans across grade levels K-6. This unit creates a broad understanding as student learn about tech at home, school, and work and progress to focusing on problem solving, innovation, responsibility, and the value of technology.
You can view the focus and essential question for each grade level below:
K: Technology at Home and School: Why do we use technology?
1: Technology at Work: How can technology make a difference in our lives?
2: Solving Problems Through Technology: Where do ideas for inventions come from?
3: Advancements in Technology: What is the value of innovation?
4: Technology for a Green Future: How do we make decisions about developing new technology for a green future?
5: Technology’s Impact on Society: What value does technology bring to people’s lives?
6: Technology in the 21st Century: How do we take responsibility in making advances in technology?
Launching with a Read Aloud
Reading aloud to students encourages them to think critically, fosters a sense of community, and makes learning fun. Read-alouds leave a lasting impression that can serve as a strong unit launch point while providing students with a shared experience. Using a text that is relevant to new content sparks inquiry and interest, adding a “buzz” about what’s to come!
There are several texts I would recommend that support Unit 5. You can find these texts here.
The Anchor Chart
You all know the way to my heart- a good anchor chart! Anchor charts are invaluable teaching tools. They can be used to front load and introduce new material, but can also serve as a “reference” throughout a unit. Anchor charts help build independence as gradual release is being practiced- come on, what’s not to love here!
Anchor charts should be well-planned and intentional! When constructing an anchor chart, you’ll want to be sure to include a few key pieces. Anchor charts should include a graphic, categories or “big ideas”, and descriptions. Because the “big ideas” within the chart are transferable across your unit, it can be recreated by students and applied to each new text. Students will gain background knowledge, new vocabulary, and a solid foundation for moving forward!
Here is an anchor chart I created for Unit 5:
Open Ended Questioning
Open ended questions (as seen in the picture above) are an effective way to challenge your students and learn more about how they think and what they know. They can transform your leaning environment and the way your students think about the world. As you begin a unit, you may consider displaying key questions that can be revisited as you move through the unit. As new resources and ideas are introduced, periodically “check in” with students and pose these questions, tracking the changes in thought process on a bulletin board or in a notebook. Due to the real-world nature of Unit 5 and the diverse perspectives on technology, this will promote lots of discussion! Using open-ended questioning is a great way to track critical thinking and assess the development of the “big ideas” within the texts (and unit)!