Dinosaur Dig Day!

We are finishing up our dinosaur unit this week, and what better way to celebrate than with a Dinosaur Dig Day?! I planned six activities for the students to enjoy, and I set up a special station in the library to showcase our dinosaur research presentations. Back in January when we first began our dinosaur unit, students chose a dinosaur the was unfamiliar to them. They researched their dinosaur’s habitat, body, food choice, and some interesting facts. Students recorded their information on paper and then using the app Shadow Puppet, put it all together in a fun multimedia presentation! I love how these came out!

 

Here’s a quick tour of the classroom and the stations before the dig officially began!

The dino dig stations included:

chocolate chip cookie fossil excavating

 

digging a dinosaur out of an egg

and then giving the dinosaur a bath 🙂

Sand art

and measuring dinosaur footprints. Additionally, there was a dinosaur pattern block activity.

Students also had the chance to show off their work from the past two months. I compiled it all into these folders and glued their adorable hatching eggs to the front cover!

What a fun morning! Next, we will dive deep into the ocean!

Dinosaur Mania!

The kindergarten class is fully immersed in the land of dinosaurs. Last week, students browsed an online database called Pebble Go! They selected a dinosaur of which they had never heard. This week, students have been researching their dinosaur, discovering its habitat, body type, food choices, natural defenses, and more. Students are recording this information into their Dinosaur Report booklets that I created.

They sketched their dinosaur.

 

Students painted Dinosaur Pop Art. The colors the students used really brighten up the classroom.

Next, students will begin sculpting their dinosaur from clay and painting a habitat. All of this will be put together into a presentation using the app Shadow Puppet that we will showcase to our parents at the end of the dinosaur unit.

Dinosaur Sensory Table

I rolled out the sensory table today. Thank you, Mr. Surber, for loading it on the U-haul truck and bringing it to our temporary classroom! I filled the table with a new item and thought it would be fun to have the students guess what that item was….

Beans! 50 pounds of beans! What better to dig in for our dinosaur unit, then beans! Today, the students dug in the beans to uncover double tens frames.

They counted the number of squares that were colored in and found the corresponding number on the worksheet.

The Amazing Tomatillo….

Did you know that scientists discovered fossils of tomatillos that date back to the end of the Cretaceous Period when the last dinosaurs were roaming the earth?! I sure didn’t! A parent sent me this recipe as an idea for Friday Fun. And the students ate it up!! They loved chopping the ingredients and making their own batch of salsa.

Students had to wait until after PE to enjoy their hard work! But it was worth it!

The craft activity this week was a two-step process. Today, students chose a cardboard cutout of a dinosaur and used colored glue to add details and patterns. Once the glue dries, students will paint over the entire surface with tempera, creating a resist effect. I am excited to see how these turn out!

This was a great activity for building fine motor strength.

Dinosaur Creative Writing

Students wrote these creative writing stories a few weeks ago, but they are so fun, I just have to share! The writing prompt was, “Imagine you wake up, and there is a dinosaur in your backyard. What would you do? How might you spend the day?” In addition to focusing on leaving spaces between words and ending punctuation, students were encouraged to write using only lowercase letters, except when a capital letter was necessary. That’s a lot to think about!! Here are some responses:

It is exciting to see how the students’ writing is transitioning from best guess to more conventional spelling.

Dinosaur Plant

The last two days we have been discussing the differences between dinosaurs that were herbivores and dinosaurs that were carnivores. Each had body characteristics that helps in identifying what type of food the dinosaur ate. Students have categorized their dino as either a herbivore or carnivore using these specific body features, like sharp teeth for carnivores or flat teeth for herbivores. To help students organize this information, we completed a Venn diagram.

As a bonus activity, students began growing a Dinosaur Plant. The Amazing Dinosaur Plant has existed since the time of the dinosaurs.  That’s more than 290 million years!

The Dinosaur Plants came in a kit with specific growing instructions. First, student were to unwrap the seemingly-dead ball of foliage and place it into a growing cup. Next they added water to the cup.

Then we sat back and let the dino plant grow…..

and grow…

Watch as the students first check in on their Dinosaur Plants:

According to the care instructions, the dinosaur plant prefers to dry out several times a year and can survive in a dry state for up to 50 years! We will continue to watch the plants grow here in the classroom for a bit, but soon they will come home for you to enjoy!

Dinosaur Research

The dinosaur research project has begun! Last year,  I found a terrific website called PebbleGo that provides emergent researchers with databases filled with information.

“Each database features expertly-leveled and navigation specifically designed for your beginning researchers. Enriched with spoken-word audio, text highlighting, and audio-visual media, PebbleGo builds a foundation of research skills for every learner.”

I have been excitedly awaiting the dinosaur unit so that the students can take full advantage of PebbleGo. The first step was to have students carefully chose a dinosaur with which they were not familiar. PebbleGo has definitely opened all of our eyes in regards to the many, many types of dinosaurs. Students spent two reading group rotations exploring the database before narrowing down their interests to one dinosaur. That was a challenge! Each time a student read about a different dinosaur, that became the dino they wished to research. At last, the final selections were made.

In preparation for today, I created a template for the students to use for this second step of recording their research. The topics of research include body, habitat, diet, natural defenses, a comparison to an animal today, and an interesting fact. I also wrote each dinosaurs name on a sentence strip.

During the research process, students will read or listen to the information presented on PebbleGo. Using that information, they will write down facts that pertain to each of the categories I listed above using their best guess spelling. We will be focusing on writing mechanics, including using a capital letter at the beginning of the sentence and with proper nouns, and lower case letters wherever else. Students are encouraged to fit the letters between the lines and leave finger spaces between words, and, finally, end each sentence with punctuation.  Whew!! That’s a lot of skills!

Here are two examples of some of the work completed today.

All the information researched will become part of a presentation the students will create and present at the end of the dinosaur unit. More to come soon!

Friday Fun with Dinosaurs!

The next six weeks, Friday Fun will be all about dinosaurs! These are some of my favorite activities to plan. Today, students made sparkly dinosaur necklaces….glitter makes EVERYTHING look better, right?! The students loved painting on the modge podge and sprinkling (or really dumping) the glitter over their terrible lizards!

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Paying attention to detail!

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In the kitchen, students made a healthy snack.

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How cute are these dinosaurs?

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But here’s my favorite….

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We couldn’t convince everyone to follow the recipe 🙂

Special Delivery!

And I thought Christmas was over!!  This afternoon while we were brainstorming ideas for how to improve Choice Time, a package arrived in the classroom. Students noticed that the package:

1.  was from Amazon

2. said “Add H2O” on the side.

I carefully opened the box and here is what was inside:

An egg!! What kind of egg is it? We started by describing what we saw….the egg is a light purple and speckled. I asked students what they thought might be inside. Their ideas ranged from an ostrich to a snake…maybe even a class pet!

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Next I offered the students three clues about what is inside. With each clue, students had the chance to change their idea.

The clues for what is inside the egg include:

1. long tail

2. sharp teeth

3. sharp claws

Here is how students recorded the information:

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We are not exactly sure when the egg with hatch, but my hunch is that it will be sometime tomorrow. Stay tuned to see what it is!

(And not to worry, we continued the Choice Time discussion right after this activity!)