Using Argumentative Writing to Examine the #SlothLife

Inviting First Graders to our class!

I love my prep time, but do you ever feel like there’s never enough time to do #AllTheThings with your kiddos? So when my weekly special was postponed from its original time, I was excited to have the gift of time to switch things up and decided to invite some first graders to our classroom to learn more about sloths! 

Of course we kicked it off by reading Eric Carle’s “Slowly, Slowly, Slowly” said the Sloth” Here is a link to a YouTube read aloud with cool sound effects!

First graders are so fun! While we were reading, they told me that some of the other animals were not being kind. If you’re not familiar with the book, other rainforest animals go up to the sloth and ask why it is so slow, quiet, or even boring! The first graders were very upset that someone would ask why someone else is boring because that is just not nice! 

After we read the book, I asked them whether or not it sounds fun to be a sloth. Surprising to me, many were not very excited about being a sloth. Next, we looked at real pictures of sloths using this article from the WWF and I shared some of the facts included with them. 

The last thing we did with our first graders was complete a craft similar to this one from Michaels, which my fifth graders named Sloth On A Stick. I had pre-cut some dark and light brown pieces of construction paper for them. I asked all the students if they knew what a circle and oval looked like, and they were surprised to find out that those were the only shapes needed to draw a sloth! Fifth and first graders alike were so happy with their sloths and a few of my fifth graders even took them out to lunch with them!!

Answering an Argumentative Prompt

Once the first graders left, I asked my students to revisit the question about whether or not they thought sloths lived good lives, if they’d want to be a sloth, etc. When I thought of this prompt the night before, I was certain most kids would be in favor of lots of sleeping, but boy was I wrong! Only two of my thirty one kids wanted to live the sloth life! This actually made me pretty happy based on the reasons they gave–like wanting to stay active and being able to explore! 

I’m always looking for ways to give my students opportunities to respond open-ended questions with supporting evidence, and I think this was on of our best yet! They actually supported all of their ideas with evidence from the text AND elaborated on it by making connections back to themselves! If you’re interested in this resource for your students, you can find it here, in my TPT store. I even added some other options  that may allow for a greater grade span or as differentiation for your students. I also found a few other articles so this can also be used for orangutans and poison dart frogs.

Lastly, my students loved this prompt so much they asked me if they could do it for the rainforest species they’re currently researching! Yes, yes, yes! So you can thank them for wanting more because I also left a fill-in-the-blank version so they can do this with any other animal!


I wonder if teachers have different opinions than students…would you want to be a sloth?

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