Monday, May 21, 2012

Frogs and Toads Thematic Unit, Teacher Created Resources

Frogs and Toads Thematic Unit
I purchased this book at our local educator resource store when it was going out of business. I was able to pick up a handful of these books that I had never looked through before during their store closing sale.  I flipped through one or two and thought that they looked like they had some good ideas, and since they were on sale for 50% off, I picked up a few. This book is recommended for "Primary" or 1st to 3rd graders.  I am homeschooling two girls, ages 5 and 4.

My first impressions were very positive, I read through the table of contents and introduction and immediately made plans to use most of the activities in the book.  The book utilizes three age-appropriate books, "Frog and Toad Are Friends" by Arnold Lobel (Harper & Roe, 1970), "Red Eyed Tree Frog" by Joy Cowley (Scholastic, 1999), and "Tuesday" by David Wiesner (Clarion, 1991).  I found this resource to have some easy projects as well as some very challenging projects that we will have to return to in a few years.  We spent 8 weeks studying frogs and habitats.

We really enjoyed all of the activities we did throughout the book.  For "Frog And Toad Are Friends.” We especially liked Buttons, Buttons Everywhere, A Jacket for Frog and Help for an Embarrassing Swimsuit.   We also read the other “Frog and Toad” books.

The “Red Eyed Tree Frog” section has some very good information in it, and one of the most fun parts of the whole unit was the “Rainforest in a Box.”  We got a large appliance box and covered it in green poster paper from the dollar store, then did an Eric Carle inspired painting session to paint the layer pieces,  followed up with the addition of some gold wrapping paper vines and a few rubber snakes and it was just about perfect.  We enjoyed putting all of our stuffed animals and bugs that would live in a rainforest inside,  and sit in there to read stories.  Writing center included copy work about each of the layers of the rainforest and what animals live in each layer. 
We supplemented this part of the studies with LOTS of books from the library about the rainforest.

The book “Tuesday” is a story about magical flying frogs on lily pads.  I’ll admit that this was a story that my kids didn’t particularly enjoy. They like a good story line and this one was just too silly.  We used this section to add in our pond habitat information to follow up from the rainforest habitat.  Our writing center continued on with copy work about pond habitats and some labeling and drawing sheets.  We supplemented in more library books.  A lot of the project sheets in this section were too advanced for my kids, and I look forward to returning to this unit in a few years.  I’m especially looking forward to; An Evening Stroll in the Neighborhood, Frog Facts, Frog Math, and Design A Pond.

The annotated bibliography at the end of the book has a great list of books to read and look into. 

If you are planning on demonstrating the life cycle of the frog in your classroom or home, don't forget to order your tadpole eggs so they arrive when you begin your unit.  Also, make sure you are aware of the restrictions on shipping the tadpoles to your area.  As recommended in the book, we ordered ours from Insect Lore, we ordered the Frog Hatchery Kit With Certificate, the kit comes with a small plastic habitat for the eggs to hatch in and the tadpoles to live in until they become froglets, magnifying glass, supply of tadpole food and a coupon for 6-10 live frog embryos.  We also purchased the Frog Life Cycle Stages models.

Additional resources that we used are listed in the Amazon box to the right called Frog Unit Resources.  Additional books were checked out from the library.

As we finished the unit, I found that we used less of the book then I originally anticipated, due to the complexity of the worksheets.  We will definitely revisit this unit in 2 or 3 years, and I think at that time, the things we did do will be too easy, but the other sheets will be just right.  I would 100% recommend this resource to a parent or teacher putting together a unit study on frogs.

Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review. The items mentioned above and seen in the pictures were purchased for my personal use in homeschooling my children.  I honestly review the items I use, so others can know what to expect when they use the same resources.  Everything stated in the review is my own honest opinion.

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