Eagle Essays

In preparation for President's Day, my class also learned about National Symbols. I purchased a unit from What the Teacher Wants, then decided to add in a research article and an art project around the bald eagle.  My friend Michelle from Third Grade Al Dente posted about this bald eagle art project earlier this year.  She was so sweet and sent me her 9x17" master in the district courier (she works at another school in my district). 
Via Third Grade Al Dente
In my classroom, I like to use a lot of cooperative groupings (see my post about GLAD here).  For the research essay part of this project, my students did a jigsaw activity.  I handed each table a different article for them to buddy read and highlight the important information.  When they were finished, they got together as a group (5-6 kids per table) and filled out the graphic organizer altogether.  We then shared out as a class to see how each table collected different information based on their articles.  This was a fun way to see how the articles cover the same main ideas, but don’t necessarily have the same details.  With completed graphic organizers, each child then wrote their own 3 paragraph essay about eagles, using the Step-Up to Writing method of a topic sentence (on green paper), 3 main ideas (on yellow paper), 2-3 details for each idea (on red paper), then a conclusion that restates the topic sentence and ends with a feeling or thinking statement (on green paper).  Go here for some more great resources on Step-Up to Writing.  The essays turned out great!  I had the kids read their essays aloud to the class as a speaking exercise.  Some were super nervous, but they all did such a great job and I was so proud of them!




After we finished up our essays, we got to work on the art project.  I have to admit, this took about and hour and a half.  With my eagle master from Michelle, I copied it onto white, 9x11" paper for each child.  I then gave each student 9x12" sheets of construction paper in white, dark brown, and light brown.  Each child also got a half sheet of yellow.  First, I had them place the yellow paper over the beak, trace, cut it out, and glue it down onto the beak.  Then, folding the dark brown paper in half so they can cut multiple feathers at once, they cut out feathers shapes.  I taught them how to cut the feathers close together so they use as much of the paper as possible.  My school is having a construction paper shortage and supply budgets are frozen, so we need to make this paper last long!  They glued the dark brown feathers halfway up the body, then switched to light brown.  Once they got to the head, they switched to white paper, and cut out an eye with the leftover yellow paper.  

Here are some of our eagles, hanging up in the classroom.  You'll see my President posters in the background from the What the Teacher Wants unit.  They are the red and blue ones hanging in front of the window.



Some kids did better than others on filling in the eagle with feathers and leaving no white spaces.  Some were rushing through it or didn't have the patience for it.  Either way, I still love them.

How do you teach American National Symbols?  

2 comments

  1. I am nominating your resourceful blog for the Liebster Blog Award.
    Visit my blog at Fabulously First to find out how to pass on this wonderful award.

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  2. Your eagle is so cute! I have followed you for a bit now and am sorry for not coming by more often. I am off to go see what I have been missing. I have 4 leprechaun *freebies* that I would love for you to come grab.


    Heather
    Heather's Heart

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