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‘Freaky Frogs’ Help Third Graders With ELA Skills

Bush Elementary School third grader, Ava Koch, shows off the frog she chose to research and write about for her “freaky frog” ELA project.

Frogs that hold water, look like glass, have horns and are poisonous are helping Bush Elementary School third graders learn important English language arts skills, and also get a bit of science and fun. Students studied five “freaky” frogs: Water-holding Frog, Glass Frog, Amazon Horned Frog, Blue Arrow Poison Dart Frog and the Strawberry Poison Dart Frog.

Third grade students started the unit by reading different non-fiction books about the frogs including Small but Deadly Poisons Dart Frogs, Poison Dart Frogs Up Close and Everything You Want to Know about Frogs. Students choose their favorite frog and exhibit what they learned, through books and on-line research, by writing text that informs or explains about their favorite frog.

Students completed a writer’s workshop that includes graphic organizers to identify and organize important information from the texts. They also used the accordion graphic organizer from the Step Up to Writing program to decipher what information they want to use in their informative paragraph.

They identified the main idea and key facts about their frog. Then, they wrote a rough draft informative paragraph, including a topic sentence and details about the text, which was edited in one-on-one sessions with the teacher.

They wrote two separate texts about their frog of choice. The students also created a presentation on their frog, which could be a poster or digital presentation.

Bush Elementary School third grader, Aliana Cosme, worked on her “freaky frog” writing project.

“I learned that the red-eyed tree frog lays clutches of 11 to 78 eggs,” said Bush Elementary School third grader, Ingrid Stendahl. “It was fun to research them and I think it’s important to do a project like this because some of the frogs are endangered due to habitat loss. I’m trying to start a club at school to rescue animals and doing this project helped me understand why that is important.”

In addition to the writing exercise, students learned about a variety of animal adaptations, including frogs, and the difference between physical adaptations and behavior adaptations. They also learned the difference between a predator and prey.

“I feel this is a fun and meaningful activity that provides an opportunity for students to explore and research a variety of frogs,” said Bush Elementary School third grade teacher, Gary Gustafson. “This project also provides the opportunity for students to identify important information that matches their topic sentence, write supporting details and a concluding sentence. I believe students enjoy this project because they get to explore a frog of their choice and become an expert. They really enjoy sharing the information to their peers. I feel it makes them feel smart and important. The students really enjoy seeing their finished project in the hallway. Students from other classes get to see their projects, which creates conversations between students and teachers.”

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