Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Titanic Sails Again

I hope everyone has had a great week!  The rain has FINALLY stopped here.  I had to find a new way to get to school yesterday because a major road that I take was closed because a river had overflowed.  Turns out, this new route was five minutes faster!  :)

This week, my class finished up our study of the Titanic.  (With all the water flowing around here for the past two weeks, it was the perfect setting!)  This is one of the kids favorite units of study all year and I always try to time it to end around April 15th (the date the Titanic sank).  I don't know about your class, but it is taking a bit more effort to motivate them these days, and this project does the trick!  I think it is the perfect project to link up with Joanne at Head Over Heels for Teaching for her Spark Saturday linky party.

I have gathered lots and lots of resources on the Titanic and it seems like I never teach the unit the same way twice.  This year, I added a very fun writing project that I adapted from Scholastic where the students researched, wrote, and published a front page newspaper about the Titanic.

I gathered pictures of the Titanic and copied them on cardstock.  Having the students work in pairs, I gave each group a picture.  Their job was to write a front page article that would fit their photo.  I had all kinds of pictures -- an iceberg, the Titanic leaving dock, the Titanic sinking, John Jacob Astor, the grand staircase, etc. -- so no one's article was the same.

Because we have been studying informational reading and writing, the teams also had to decide the text structure they would use to write their article.  They could choose from descriptive, cause and effect or sequence.  They also had to have three headings in their article and at least three other text features on their front page (map, caption, chart, graph, etc.).

I was very excited when one of the students asked if he could go online to find some advertisements from 1912 that he could add to his front page.  This quickly spread and soon everyone was adding an advertisement (which is very appropriate for a newspaper.)  This also led to some great discussions about what the society of 1912 valued most as seen from the newspaper ads of the time.  Here is one of the favorites that someone found:

Yes, apparently cures for baldness was a very hot topic a century ago. Ouch!

Here are some pics of the finished products.  I think they look GREAT!!


If you would like a copy of my handout to use this project in your classroom, you can get it here.  I would appreciate it if you could let me know how it goes for you!  :)

On another note, Jen at Runde's Room is having a sale at her TPT store this weekend to help support a friend of hers whose son has just been diagnosed with cancer.  She is donating profits from her sales this weekend to this family as they begin their battle against this beast.  Why not head over to TPT and gather up some of Jen's goodies for yourself and send some love her way?  See you there!



  1. Kids really do love learning about the Titanic! In the May Arrow edition of Scholastic Book Club the dollar book of the month is a Titanic book and my students fought over who got to read it first! Thanks for the handout that you used for your project, I'm going to have to remember it for next year!

  2. These really are incredible! It just shows what kids are capable of when they are engaged and motivated! Great job!
    ~following you via Google Friend Connect ;)
    Creating Lifelong Learners

  3. Hi Jennifer...I just found your blog via the Spark Students Motivation Linky. I'm your newest follower! I look forward to all your ideas as well as getting to know you :)

    Stephanie Ann
    Sparkling in Third Grade

  4. What a great idea Jennifer! Your newspapers look incredible! An interesting project or unit of study is a super motivator! Love! Thanks for sharing and coming to my party! I'm your newest follower!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  5. Ooooooo fun!! I love the Titanic and kids always do too! What a great project! I LOVE it! Thanks for sharing! I know they had to be super motivated to be able to research such a fun topic!!

    Collaboration Cuties

  6. Thank-you so much for sharing! And ... those newspapers look AMAZING!!!

    Runde's Room

  7. What a fantastic idea. You are right sometimes the right activity or project is just the motivation that a class needs. Thanks for sharing this one!

    Looking From Third to Fourth

  8. Great teaching!!



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