Have a group of teachers decorate their classrooms as places that the Captain has visited. Each teacher or aide stays in the classroom and the students rotate with the aide to the different rooms. As the students visit the room the teacher or aide can stamp their pre-made passport.
Every time I teach the Captain Pinkney unit I use The Incredible Journey of Bill Pinkney. The images in the video are the same as the ones in the big book so it aligns perfectly. There is one scene where Captain Pinkney opens a bottle of champagne after reaching land which some teachers have objected to but I didn't find it inappropriate in the context. He also uses the d word when he is nearly shipwrecked but this too provided a teachable moment as it experessed the Captain's frustration at the danger of his circumstances. Do preview it ahead of time and use your judgement.
Teachers cannot just push play and let the students watch. I would watch about two minutes a day, just enough to coincide with what was going on in the big book. We'd watch the video and then look at the big book and students would have all this background knowledge which would fill in the blanks. Even in those two minutes of video, I would constantly be stopping to check for understanding and use the same reading comprehension strategies I would use with the big book. This would maximize student understanding, especially when the vocabulary in the movies was tough.
I found that this made the unit one of our favorites.
To kick off this unit, our first graders go on a trip. Each teacher hosts a continent or region and plans an activity(ies) usually with a book, (but internet and powerpoint has been used), and something "crafty" related to the theme. The students rotate through each teacher's classroom spending about 45 minutes in each. They have a suitcase (made from brown construction paper the day before) and a passport. As they travel to each place, they usually listen to a story, do an activity or two, get their passport stamped, and take their "souvenir" activity with them (packed safely in their suitcase) as they zip off to another worldly location. An example may be a visit to Antarctica, listening to a story of penguins, learning a short penguin poem, and cutting and gluing a penguin of their own. Our students have also visited rainforests of South America, listening to a story about the people, animals and location of rainforests, coloring a rainforest location map and matching rainforest animals with their location (upper story, understory, etc). The kids love it! The teachers make a big thing about going on a trip. Sometimes they get to do a word search, sing a song, or see real pictures of the real places on the internet.
Make a mobile in the shape of the United States. Hang the united states symbols that are covered in the unit (ex. statue of liberty, united states flag and so on)
This activity is a typical GLAD lesson. Create a blank template of a sailboat. Label all the important parts of the sailboat in front of the class. Class can have their own templates to label during or after the lesson. They can create a wonderful addition to your Concept/Question board. For English Language Learners, stress the different vocabulary and definitions. I found that once my class (ELL students) had a better idea of what a sailboat was, Capt. Pinkney's journey became more meaningful.
Students can write messages to Bill Pinkney and place them in small plastic bottles, place the bottles in a wading pool filled with sand. Teacher can answer the messages when students go home and return them in bottles on the sand.
In pencil, lightly draw out the seven continents on chart paper. In front of the class, trace over your drawing in a black or dark marker and then label each continent. Label each of the major oceans with the students. This is also a good time for talking about hemispheres, the equator, and how maps are globes made flat. Also see lesson plan by Mathew Needleman
This year I will give each student a paper with a shape of a car, airplane, boat or anything else you can travel in and have them complete the cloze: I would like to travel to ________________ on a ______________.
We asked the students this question: 'What do you have to do before you go on a big trip?' We gave them 'suitcases' with lines on them to chart their concepts, vocabulary and questions for the Concept-Question board. We charted all their
We had three stations: one with artifacts from China including my passport with a Chinese visa stamp and real Chinese currency. A reading station with all kinds of books about China. And a writing station with the suitcases.
As the students rotated we listened to their conversations and charted their vocabulary. We were amazed by all the things they already knew about travel and making the committment to go on a big trip! In addition to the suitcases, they created circle maps by adding three things or ideas they learned about traveling and/or China.
On the circle map, I placed the map of China in the center and the Chinese flag in the corner for them to color. The students stayed in class at lunchtime and we served them rice with chopsticks. It was a wonderful experience for the students who got to 'visit' China and talk about how you would prepare for a big journey across the sea.
During our activities the students could orally and in written form communicate their ideas that travel widens your horizons about the world in many different ways. The students