Saturday, February 8, 2014

Sparking Student Motivation: Olympic Edition!

I'm linking up with Joanne from Head Over Heels for Teaching for another Spark Student Motivation!  

It's so exciting that the Olympics have started! Have you been watching the events? I think it's such an exciting event that the entire world gets a chance to celebrate. Also, since the Winter Olympics only happen every four years, I think it's a great learning opportunity, too. I figured, wouldn't it be fabulous to come up with a curricular unit to tie in the olympics with my lessons! When I started this on Friday, my students were so excited! They kept asking what kinds of activities we would be doing. I plan to do my best to tie in mathematics, social studies, and language arts to be able to "Go For the Gold" with our learning.

One of the first things we started on Friday is to practice our close reading skills. I found a wonderful close reading packet by Ashleigh's Education Journey

We worked on differentiated passages in our reading groups. Then, each group answered the same questions about the passage. The first passage focused on the history of the olympics, which gave students a good look into the background of the olympic games. This definitely built some excitement into the following week's activities!

What I'm most excited about is our persuasive writing activity I found on Scholastic! Have students learn how the olympic locations are chosen, and then write their own persuasive speech about convincing the International Olympic Commission to host the Olympic Games in our city. I'm looking forward to exploring the speech writing process with my students and filming their speeches. While one student is presenting their speech, the rest of the class will act as the IOC and judge the speeches based on the important needs the IOC considers.  You can check out this resource in my TpT store as a FREEBIE!

Also, I plan to use some of our map and globe skills in social studies to plot the different countries playing in the Olympics on the globe using our knowledge of latitude and longitude. 

For a little social studies review before our test this week, we will use our knowledge of special purpose maps and create an economic, population, physical, and political map of Russia to learn more about Sochi. (Fun Fact: Russians pronounce Sochi as Soy-chee! What's up with the US announcers?) We'll also be tracking the progress of the Olympic medals and graphing them each day. I'm in the process of making a huge graph and printing and cutting all the medals to make a pictograph with our medal count. I'm really hoping that this will be a motivational integration of cross-curricular learning. Make sure to follow my class on Instagram to see how we are going for the gold this week!

How are you celebrating the Olympic games in your classroom? 


  1. Wow! You've incorporated all content areas/skills into your Winter Olympics Unit! Your kids are going to be so engaged and excited to learn such a high interest topic! I can't wait to see how their speeches go and which hometown wins! Thanks for sharing and linking up Stephanie!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  2. I love how you are using the Olympics to bring current events into so many areas of your curriculum. Reading through the guidelines for hosting the Olympics taught me a few things too. Thanks for sharing!

    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings