Light the Olympic Fire
With the Winter Olympics soon approaching, opportunities to incorporate Olympic themes into the classroom are timely and endless. Sadly, it’s becoming a fact of life that in the teaching world we don’t have much time for “fun stuff” anymore. Activities that are fun must also be valuable, educational, and efficient. Here are a couple of ways to shine the Olympic torch onto geography and writing lessons.
I came across a wonderful website, 3 Dinosaurs, which offers a variety of free Winter Olympics materials for preschool to primary-age students. One “Winter Olympic Extra” download is a Free Winter Olympic Country Learning activity. (Click on the link and scroll down.) It is a simple, yet engaging task that can be completed independently, in pairs, or small groups. Students choose a country, research five interesting facts, draw a country flag, and locate its continent. They can also record the sports the country is competing in and tally the medals won by that country.
This activity can be used as a learning center or whole class activity. If students work independently, they can research more than one country, then create their own book of countries from around the world. Another option is to collate the work of students and publish it as a class book. Either product would make a great display item.
Below is a list of digital sources students can use to research information they need:
One of my favorite parts about watching the Olympics is hearing the personal stories of the athletes who compete in the games. Their inspiring narratives are often filled with courage, grit, and determination. Why not have students create their own inspiring story to share with the class? Use this template to guide students through the writing process. Then, get creative and have them turn the final product into a video or news piece like on network broadcasts, a screencast, or an e-book. Click here for more ideas on how to incorporate technology when presenting the Spotlight Stories.
The free activity included in this blog is an example of the writing tasks found in Simple Solution Reading Comprehension books. This series includes standards-based writing tasks to go with each unit. Complete lesson plans, graphic organizers, and suggested responses are included in each task. If you use Simple Solutions Reading Comprehension, click on “Teacher Editions” in the S2TaR Center and use the Writing Tasks from the following books:
- 4th grade Reading Comprehension, Unit 1 or Unit 17
- 5th grade Reading Comprehension, Unit 2
- Middle School Reading Comprehension, Unit 11