Thursday, May 15, 2014

Week 31? Dinosaurs!!!

I'm quite a few weeks behind on posting, but now we're really getting to the end of the school year and the massive workload is thinning out, so I can try to play catch-up.

Sorry in advance for the lack of pictures over the next few weeks (including dino-week, sorry!), I feel like I've barely been in the classroom with all the end-of-year assessments, and when I am in the classroom the last thing I have time for is documenting!
Back at the beginning of April, we had Dinosaur week, a week that I had been looking forward to all year.  We also worked on the letter person Q that week.

On Monday, we focused on the letter Q so that we could have lots of dino-fun the rest of the week.  We met Mr. Q, and we read two books about quilts: "The Quilt" and "The Quilt Story".  We even made a class quilt!  I wasn't sure how I was going to do this (I was debating having them color on squares of fabric with fabric markers and sewing them all together, but ended up going with an easier option).  The kids all decorated a square of white paper however they wanted (we tried to get them to decorate them with things that started with Q), and then later I traced all the squares onto an old sheet to make a mini-quilt... the perfect size for Mr. Q to use! The best part was that is was the simplest option... no fussing with 3 year-olds with fabric markers, and no sewing!!

We also had the students try to ask QUESTIONS, which was actually a much harder thing than I had expected.  We played a guessing game, where I put something inside a tin and the kids played '20 questions' to try and guess what was in there.  Most of the responses I got were nowhere near a question or anything to do with the object, so we'll have to work on it some more.

On Tuesday, we did an introduction to dinosaurs. The learning goal was that the students would understand that dinosaurs lived long ago, not now.  I read the book, "My Dinosaur", and then we got started on our amazing dinosaur songs.  Now, these songs were passed down from my mom and her classroom (back when dinosaurs were in the curriculum), and they are on a cassette tape that I had to keep rewinding and playing just to get to the right song.  After much searching, I found that these songs are actually from 1978 (!) on the album 'Our Dinosaur Friends' by Pam Johnson, Wayne Parker, and Eric Miller.  I found the playlist of all our songs on youtube.

On Tuesday, we learned the Stegasaurus Song and the Pterodactyl Song, and danced along to them.  I played them through each three times (I really wanted them to learn them), the first just with them listening, the second with me showing them the dance moves, and the third with them singing and dancing along. 

For our craft, the kids painted a Dinosaur Scene by water-painting a background with different colored stripes, and adding die-cuts of different dinosaurs.

We also did a dinosaur egg sort, where I cut out lots of different eggs on cardstock, added different colored and numbered dots to one side, and added a shape to the other.  The kids could then sort them by color, number, or shape!

At the end of the day, we read "How Do Dinosaurs Play with their Friends?"

On Wednesday, we learned the Brontosaurus Song.  We also read "Can You See What I See? Dinosaurs" and "Dinorella" (which was a cute dinosaur version of Cinderella that was about a brontosaurus).  We watched the movie, 'We're Back!' (one of my favorites from childhood), and started preparing for Thursday's craft by painting snack boxes green.

At the end of the day, we read "How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?" and had the kids try to do Glue-Resistant Dinosaur Painting from ThatArtistWoman, but our versions didn't turn out quite as well as they did in her version!

On Thursday, we started off the day by reading "Mrs. Toggle and the Dinosaur", then we learned the Triceratops song and the Tyrannosaurus Rex Song. 

For our craft, we finished our Trex puppets from FamilyThemeDays! We made these by cutting three sides of a snack box down the middle and folding them to make a puppet.  Then we painted them green (during our dinosaur movie on Wednesday), and when they were dry we added a tongue on the inside, and construction paper eyes and teeth. Finally, the kids drew on nostrils for a nose, and gave their dinosaur a name.

I also did this Dinosaur-Themed Letter Assessment from MakingLearningFun, and let the kids paint-dot each letter that they knew.  This was a great way to take data at the mid-end of the year, and was wonderful to send home to the parents to keep them on track!

At the end of the day on Thursday, we read "How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food?", which was the last book I owned in this adorable series.

Finally, on Friday, we focused on bones, since it was important for the kids to understand that bones are the only thing we have left of dinosaurs since they lived a long long time ago. 

In the morning, we read "Dinosaur Garden" and "Skippyjon Jones and the Big Bones." The Skippyjon books might just be my favorite, besides Pete the Cat.  I have so much fun reading them, but it definitely takes some practice!

We did a dinosaur bone hunt, where the I hid a bunch of cardstock bones around the classroom and the kids had to find them, bring them to me, and tell me where they found them.  We learned about how looking for dinosaur bones is a real job, called an Archiologist.  Finally, we learned the very last dinosaur song, called 'Our Dinosaur Friends'.

For our art project, the kids made Dinosaur Skeletons from Q-tips from StuckOnGlue.  I pre-cut out dino-skulls from white construction paper, then I drew white lines in to make dinosaur skeletons on black construction paper for the kids to glue on top of and stick the q-tips.  The kids then had a choice to draw their very own dinosaur skeleton, or use the ones I had already drawn.  One parent of a non-talkative child told me later that the child brought home this 'q-tip' creation, and the parents didn't know what it was.  When the asked the child and he responded 'T-rex!', they were so proud they hung the 'creation' on the fridge.  Hearing this story made me proud, too!!  "It's the process, not the product". 

One other activity that the students did on Friday was make fossils with various objects and play-doh.  We used shells, mini plastic figurines, beads, and anything else with different textures, and showed the kids how to make 'fossils' by imprinting the objects in the dough. 

Dinosaur week was lots of fun, and just writing about it makes me want to play the songs for the kids again and see what they remember!

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