A Sneak Peak Into a Nature-Based SuperSprouts Lesson….

Salamanders

Spring is salamander season in our Eastern Pennsylvania region! Keep reading to learn how to make the most of this special springtime tradition with your class or students at home!

If you’re new to SuperSprouts lessons, here’s the basics:

SuperSprouts lessons are designed to engage students in literacy practices directly in nature. There are many resources available online if you wish to supplement this lesson with paper-based materials.

SuperSprouts goals and objectives are designed to guide lessons for a range of grade levels and knowledge sets. All lessons are available for customization to a specific grade level or knowledge set.

SuperSprouts lessons:

  • Tap into children’s innate curiosity about the natural world.
  • Support literacy development.
  • Are easily adapted to meet the needs of all learners.
  • Contain specific objectives linked to broader learning goals.
  • Align with the Pennsylvania State Standards.
  • Are available for customized learning by request: contact India here.

If you would like a more detailed and customized lesson plan, please contact me here!

*Goal:  Students discover salamanders’ natural habitat while exploring a narrative story structure.

*Objective 1:  Following the lesson experience, students will be able to evaluate what ecological conditions make a good home for salamanders.

*Objective 2:  Following the lesson experience, students will be able to create their own “Salamander Room” story using question and answer expanded story structure.

Setting:  Salamanders are found in moist, woodsy places. You may want to scout out locations before you take your class outside. Decomposing logs and rocks in moist areas are good bets. If you plan to do the reading and writing portion outside, be sure to bring your other materials with you.

Materials:

Set the Stage

Read the book, the Salamander Room, by Anne Mazer. Take your time and pause at key moments to draw students attention to the setting and how it reflects the salamander’s needs. After reading, take a look-back with your students and point out specific elements of the author’s craft. Specifically, you are examining the author’s use of “question and answer” to flush out the story.

Go Outside

If you’re not already outside reading, now is the time to go out and search for salamanders. Ask students to think about the story setting and suggest where salamanders might be found. Let students explore, but check in for understanding and observations. Reinforce astute observations about salamander habitat. For specific content about salamanders and their habitats, see additional resources below. Invite students to create their own salamander rooms out of found items in nature.

Create

Gather students together in a circle. Briefly review the text and literacy focus: Author’s Craft – Question and Answer. Students may choose to choose to write and illustrate their own Question and Answer story. For this exercise the focus is on the discovery process of the Question and Answer style of story telling, not the finished product. However, you may wish to include this writing exercise in your Writer’s Workshop.

Additional Resources:

You Tube Read-Aloud of the Salamander Room, by Anne Mazer

Eastern Salamanders and their Habitats:

Kids Britannica

Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission

Smithsonian’s National Zoo

For Teacher Reflection

Teaching Children Philosophy

I recommend this site for teachers who wish to consider deeper environmental questions prior to teaching the lesson. But a word of caution: Some of these questions may not be appropriate for young children who are still very much directly connected with the natural world and who are not yet developmentally ready to grapple with questions about environmental ethics.

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