Friday, April 15, 2011

Butterfly Life Cycle Links

This website is based off the local PBS television station and provides many different resources for children’s activities. The main website in general has many activities and topics that they describe. There is even a kid’s tab with informational videos.

There is a specific section of the website dedicated to butterflies and their life cycles. The first pdf file is a basic overview of how a teacher should conduct the whole lesson on the butterfly life cycle. There is a very important topic that this website covers and that is the participation of parents. There is a sample letter that should be sent home to allow parents to know what their child will be learning and doing. There are a total of 6 lessons that the teacher will have to cover and each lesson has more detail on directions in other pdf files. Each lesson covers a specific topic along with a hands-on activity to help assist learning the content needed. Each lesson plan is very organized in describing what the objectives are, the materials needed, as well as the dialogue the teacher can use. There are worksheets attached at the end that students can work on while learning the lesson.

I think this is a very good website that is content based on the butterfly life cycle. Content is clearly covered because the activities are teaching the content and the worksheets are reviewing the content that had been learned. There is a vocabulary sheet that provides definitions of some important terms dealing with the butterfly life cycle. There are some possible areas of limitation especially for the teacher because the lessons are so set that the teacher may feel like they don’t play a major role in teaching the children. The teacher should be able to freely customize the given lesson plans to fit their classroom.

Evaluated by: Diana Chong

Butterfly Webquest

This website is a guided project for 1st graders to learn about the butterfly life cycle. It was created by a 1st grade teacher in Massachusetts. It is designed so that the students use the website to guide them through several activities which teach them about the butterfly life cycle. The website provides explicit directions to the students. It starts with an introduction which tells the students the 4 stages of the butterfly life cycle that they will be learning about. Next it informs the students of the tasks that they will complete during the project. Then the process is described in detail that the students will follow while working on the project. The process specifies that the teacher will assign partners for the students to work in pairs on the project.

Task one directs the students to click on links to different websites where they will read about and see photographs of the 4 stages of the butterfly life cycle. The website provides questions for the students to discuss with their partner when they visit each link. The final website they visit has a sheet illustrating the butterfly life cycle which they print out and color individually.

Task two consists of four art projects, each one representing a stage of the life cycle. The student is required to read the directions from the website and each complete their own art projects.

In task three the partners are to discuss what they have learned. There are questions to guide their discussion. After their discussion, each student writes four things that he has learned.

The website also provides an evaluation for the students to view, that shows the specific objectives that they will be evaluated on. In addition, there are books listed that are available for the students to read with the reading grade level included. There are also additional websites that the students can visit to learn more about the butterfly life cycle.

I think this website is a great resource for teachers and students to learn about the butterfly life cycle. It provides a complete lesson plan with clear objectives, explicit directions, multiple resources for learning the material, several different ways for the students to demonstrate their understanding of the material, and criteria to evaluate student performance.

The teacher can use large group instruction to begin the project by asking children to share with the class things that they already know about butterflies and their life cycle. The teacher can then read a book to the class about the life cycle. Next the teacher can assign partners and explain the process of the project.

One limitation of the project is that few classrooms have enough computers for all of the partners to be on the website at the same time. The teacher would need to set up stations in the classroom with a station for each task. Then the teacher would divide the partners into three groups and they would rotate to each station to complete the tasks.

This website allows the students to work together in small groups and take responsibility for reading the directions and completing each task. It provides the students with the experience of using the internet to learn about the life cycle. It requires them to demonstrate their understanding of the concept through art work, group discussion, and writing. The teacher could conclude the project by directing a class discussion where she asks each group to share their answer to one of the questions that they discussed with their partner.

This project would be successful with ELL’s because it gives them the opportunity to work together with another student and practice communicating in English. The teacher can pair the ELL with a native speaker that can scaffold their discussions as needed. This project also allows ELL’s to demonstrate their understanding of the project through art work, where they can feel successful regardless of their English language proficiency. It also requires them to express their understanding through writing, but they are given support from their partner if they need it.

The teacher could also ask each group to use the evaluation on the website to complete a self-evaluation. Then the teacher could conduct her own evaluation and compare the two evaluations with each group.

By using this website as a resource for teaching the butterfly life cycle, a teacher can provide an experience where the students take co-ownership in learning the subject.

Evaluated by: Angela Jones

This website allows me to believe that I can become a great teacher if I have sources like this one. It includes various activities a teacher can use in and outside of the classroom to build the students understanding about the life cycle of a butterfly. I have so many ideas from this website, so I hope I get to teach about the life cycle one day in my classroom.

The website has many resources for critical thinking. First off, after teaching you the basic information of the life cycle of a butterfly, it consists of various activities the students can work on to build their knowledge. The website included butterfly flashcards in which you can tell what kind of a butterfly you are observing. This would give the students an idea of the different types of butterflies. Another activity which orders higher level thinking is the section which compares butterflies and moths. The students would really have to use their knowledge to differentiate between the two.

Strength of the website is that it consists of various engaging activities. Many of the activities relate to the students life; like the butterfly themed birthday. This way, they would be more engaged in learning about the life cycle since it is relating to them and they are having fun with the topic. However, although the website has much strength, it could improve. The website would be better if it had a video to show the life cycle of a butterfly. This way, the students could better visualize it to understand it better.

The resources on this website could be used both in class, and for homework. One creative way to use it in class would be to have a butterfly themed party with the resources given on the website. For the party, the teacher could set up a few stations consisting of different activities. For example, one station could be set up to read about butterflies. Another could be for worksheets, crosswords, and flashcards, while another station could be to make window butterflies. Of course, all of these resources are found on the website. This activity would use different teaching strategies; hands-on, audio, visual, etc. For homework, the students could do some of the activities at their home computer. They could also use the resource on the website, “butterflies in my garden,” to figure out which flowers they see butterflies on. The previous activity stated is definitely a higher level thinking activity.

The images on the website, plus the activities, would really assist second language learners in learning the life cycle of a butterfly. The website illustrates principles of good teaching and effective methodological practices. It appeals to all of the learning strategies. For example, it consists of pictures, readings, crafts, online games, puzzles, etc. Also, they have activities which are meaningful to the students.

Overall, I believe this website is filled with numerous activities which can be used in various aspects. Students who will learn about the butterfly life cycle will be young, and this website is geared toward young children. If I am to teach about the life cycle of a butterfly, I will definitely use this website. It allows the teacher to become very creative while using the resources as well.

Evaluated by: Shaheen Lakhani

While many teachers may find it difficult to demonstrate the life of a butterfly in a fun and engaging way, this website is an awesome site dedicated to butterflies. This website is specifically for a teacher who is in need of a fun lesson for children grades 3-5. The Home page of this site gives you many options in a Menu bar on the left. These options include pictures of the life cycle, a photograph gallery of all kinds of butterflies, and frequently asked questions and answers about butterflies and moths.

In my opinion, this website is very insightful for new teachers because it gives you all the tools needed to educate your students. However, the best feature of this site is the lesson plan added under the Teaching and Learning Tools section. After clicking on this option in the menu bar you will see a lot of new options appear. If you click on the choice titled The Life Cycle of a Butterfly, you are presented with a great lesson plan that actively engages the students and checks the students comprehension. It begins by listing all the materials you are going to need, and then starts with a description of what you will do in the lesson. First you will read The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle to your students. After this you will take out the four laminated pictures of the butterflies life cycle (these are already prepared) and explain the four stages a caterpillar goes through to become a butterfly as you show your students the pictures. I really like this activity because it gives the student’s a visual image of what is happening to the caterpillar as it grows. Now to actively engage the students in the learning process you will have them act out the life of a butterfly. To do this you will have them demonstrate each stage with their bodies. For example, in the first stage the caterpillar is an egg, so the students might sit on the floor with their knees tucked in to represent they are an egg. By doing this activity you are able to check every students understanding of the life cycle at the same time. I think this is also great for students who may have ADD or ADHD becomes it gets them physically involved. This activity is also really good for ELL’s because it enables them to demonstrate what they know in a fun way and with low pressure. These students, who may be struggling with oral or written language, will not feel the pressure of the entire class as they do this activity. The children can come up with their own unique way to express what a butterfly looks like in a particular stage. Finally you give the student’s the four pictures of the life cycle and have them color in the pictures, and depending on the age, have them write or copy what happens during the four stages. I really like that this activity is flexible, and it checks to make sure the student’s really understand the concept on an individual level. This activity also enables you to vary the difficulty and engage students of all language levels. Because the pictures are the same as the laminated ones, the children will already be familiar with them and the repetition will help them store the images in their long-term memory.

In conclusion, I found this website to be very useful for helping young kids understand the concept of the life of a butterfly. While there are many upsides to this website there is one limitation. The only negative thing about this website is that it is strictly specific to butterflies. If a teacher wanted to know about other insects he/she would not find help from this website.

Evaluated by: Tori Lackey

This website offers a variety of different information and activities relating to the butterfly life cycle for elementary age students, probably 2-5 grade. Under the Life cycle link, the student comes to a web page that is has a general overview of the four stages of the butterfly life cycle. As the student continues to scroll down the page each stage is explained further with bold headings and pictures beside the text to illustrate what the text is explaining. Then during the last two stages, the pupa stage and the adult butterfly stage, the website has time a time lapsed video that shows how the caterpillar forms the chrysalis, as well as how the adult butterfly emerges from the chrysalis. At the bottom of the page there are additional links to coloring pages, information on different species of butterflies, and the migration pattern of the monarch butterfly.

There are several things that this website does that I though would be helpful for ELL students. First the layout of the information follows a very logical progression and is organized in a way that is progressive as the student scrolls down the page, making navigation optimal. I also like how the text and information is supported with living photos, meaning the pictures are of real eggs, caterpillars, chrysalis, and butterfly. I think the real photos make the text more relatable. Also the use of subtitles makes sure the important information is accessible to ELL students that might not understand the vocabulary used in the main text. One feature of the website that I think is extremely valuable to students is the animation of how the butterfly forms the chrysalis. I think the video is helpful because this stage of the lifecycle is very complex, and the video will illustrate what the text is describing. This is the same reason I think the second video is a great tool for ELL students, because it helps show the complex process of the butterfly emerging from the chrysalis.

Although I think this website is a great resource for ELL students learning about the butterfly life cycle, I think there are some aspects where the website falls short. I think this website could be better if key words within each section of the text had been bolded. Such as “Butterfly eggs are usually laid on the leaves of plants…” I am also somewhat disappointed with the links to activities at the bottom of the website. I wish there was some kind of labeling/matching activity rather than just coloring pages. Although I think the activities fall short, the link to the migration website is a great segway into connecting a science concept to geography, seasons, as well as measurements (distance traveled, time elapsed, etc).

If I were using this resource in my classroom I would probably use it as a primary source for information, letting the students work in groups to read the text about each of the four stages, as well as watch the videos that accompany stages three and four. I would then have the students split up into four groups, where the would prepare a poster about the stage, including what the organism looks like, where they are located, what they are doing and how long they are in this stage. I would then have the students put together each poster to form a time line of the life cycle of the butterfly. I would also get a butterfly habitat for the classroom so the students could watch first hand the process they just read about online. I would then probably segway into a geography lesson that would explain the migration pattern of the monarch butterflies, focusing on season, temperature, climate as well as land features, such as rivers, lakes and mountains and how they are shown on maps.

Evaluated by: Sarah Roddy

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