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 šŸ™‚

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!

Ocean Animal Presentations

What a great way to start the day! Parents joined students for their BrainPop movie presentations.We have been working on this project for three weeks! It all started with research. Students learned about their ocean animals habitat, life cycle, body, and diet. They were encouraged to add a fun fact as well.

Once they wrote down their research, students began the process of making a BrainPop movie. You might remember that BrainPop is a teaching tool I use frequently in the classroom. They offer a large variety of short animated movies on a broad range of topics. With a recent overhaul of their website came the addition of Make-a-Movie. To help students prepare to make a movie, I created a template that outlined the steps needed for each slide, such as choosing a background color and deciding what text or images were necessary. Here is what that looked like:

The makers of BrainPop are still working out the bugs, so sometimes the iPAD was the best option for students…

and other times the desktop was necessary. I was very appreciative with the students’ flexibility with this project, as several times as they were working on a slide, the slide was unable to be saved and their creations were lost. The students definitely demonstrated resilience!

After the slides were created, each student narrated their facts. I loved the enthusiasm and sense of humor they infused into their presentations. Enjoy! (There is currently no way to share the movies from the Brainpop site, so I have recorded the movies…I apologize in advance for the shakiness!)

Humpback Whale


Gray Whale


Sea Lion


Sperm Whale

Blue Whale

Sea Horse

Tiger Shark

Dinosaur Research

The dinosaur research project has begun! Last year,Ā Ā 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 haveĀ 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.Ā  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!