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Learn All Year Long

Learn All Year Long

Learn All Year Long

Kids and teens should read and write even when they are out of school. Why is this so important?

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ReadWriteThink has a variety of resources for out-of-school use. Visit our Parent & Afterschool Resources section to learn more.

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Activity

Star Light, Star Bright: Reading and Writing about the Nighttime Sky

 

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Star Light, Star Bright: Reading and Writing about the Nighttime Sky

Grades 3 – 5
Activity Time 1-3 hours (some after dark)
Activity Author

Christy Simon

Christy Simon

Urbana, Illinois

 
Publisher National Council of Teachers of English
 

What You Need

Here’s What To Do

More Ideas To Try

Glossary

 

What You Need

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Here’s What To Do

  1. Go outside with the child after dark on a night when the stars are bright. Ask the child if he knows what a constellation is (big star patterns) and if he can identify any of them. Share with the child some of your favorites.  If you're not able to go outside, explore the constellations online.

  2. Pull out a flashlight and together with the child, read a book about the night book coversky. Starry Sky is a good choice. Find Starry Sky at your local library or online at www.wegivebooks.org. Create a free account by clicking "Join" at the top of the homepage. Once logged in, click "Read" in the top header and then search for the title you'd like to read online, Starry Sky.

  3. Before beginning Starry Sky, discuss how this particular book is nonfiction. Take turns reading different sections and discussing the new information each of you is learning.  Be sure to pay attention to the new vocabulary defined throughout the book such as constellation, the zodiac, galaxies, and others. Use the images and captions to learn additional facts.

  4. After finishing the book, talk to the child about the interesting myths about constellations that you learned about while reading.  What star/constellation story did the child find to be the most interesting?  Which tales seemed the most far-fetched?  Are there other constellation stories that are different from those in the book that either you or the child has heard before? What can he imagine might be the story of some of the stars you saw together earlier?

  5. With the child, decide on one or more activity from the list below to do after reading the book:

    • Using the Word Mover Mobile App or Word Mover Interactive, write a poem or story about an existing constellation.  The child can create the poem by recalling information that he read about in the book, or observations he made when looking at the stars, or by doing additional research about the constellation online or in additional books.
    • Go outside and encourage the child to locate or identify a constellation mentioned in the book in the night sky.  He can then name the constellation, and use the Word Mover app or interactive to write a few sentences, a poem, or a short story describing the constellation and its origin as learned about in Starry Sky or one of the other books.
    • Using binoculars or a telescope, take an “up close and personal” look at some of the stars and constellations on a dark, clear night.  Have the child write a poem about what he saw using the Word Mover app or interactive.  Additionally, you may wish to take the child to a different location nearby for a different/clearer view of the stars in the sky.
    • Share this example as an inspiration!
  6. After completing the story or poem, have the child save his work and print it out to share with others!

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More Ideas To Try

  • Consider visiting the nearest planetarium (or an online planetarium) so that the child may learn more about the constellations that are easily seen in the area and their history.

  • Learn even more about the night sky by learning about the Hubble telescope, the planets, the Milky Way - the possibilities are almost endless! Visit this site to learn more about space exploration.

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Glossary

Observe

 

When children and teens observe, they may be following a formal process with a checklist of things to look for, or they may be exploring such a new experience that they can ask questions only after observing. Either way, observing should involve children and teens in the process of watching something closely, asking questions, and discussing what they have seen.

Nonfiction

 

Writing based in fact that is designed to explain, argue, or describe.

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