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“Best Week Ever!”
15 Feb, 2014. 12 Comments. A Day In First Grade, First Grade, First Grade Science, Kindergarten Science, Science, Uncategorized. Posted By: Kristen Smith
I have a student who has been asking me since August, “Miss Smith, WHEN are we going to study about the DINOSAURS?!” Well, this little man was BESIDES HIMSELF EXCITED when he walked into the classroom Monday morning. Over the weekend, the classroom miraculously 😉 was transformed into dino-land. My students have been ON FIRE about reading, learning, and writing this week thanks to the help of these gigantic creatures. 
This week we studied all about fossils. Our “concept” included many fun activities. 
After learning about dinosaurs on Monday, my students wrote one fact that they learned on a dinosaur. We then added them to our bulletin board. 
In the writing center, my students have become paleontologists. There are multiple writing prompts for them to choose. 
There are also “specimens” for them to examine! 
In one container there is the fossil of a stegosaurus. 
And in the other container, there is a stegosaurus! 
My students have LOVED comparing and contrasting them and using the magnifying glass to come up with some super stories and articles about this dinosaur. (I found these at Walmart.) 
Also in the writing center I have a container of dinosaur words. The dinosaurs on the table are not for playing (and yes, my students do obey that rule) but rather for examining and as inspiration for stories. 
 The favorite activity this week was writing comic strips about the dinosaurs. Some of them came out so good!! 
  They also have been writing me letters asking me questions about the dinosaurs, each day we end the day researching one of their questions. They love it! 
During small groups and centers, my students have learned how to research independently. They are SO excited to do this. One of their favorite centers this week was researching just how big the dinosaurs were. They used this book to help them. 
At the center my students would take out very long (obscure) dinosaur names from the cup and use the index of the book to look them up. 
They truly LOVED this! (They kept saying “this is so much fun!) After they looked up the dinosaur, they sorted them by size. 
They got a kick out of sounding out the dinosaur names, too! 
Our phonics theme this week was reading and writing compound words. To make this super fun I printed out all of our new words and cut them in half. I then hid them in dino rocks. 😉
My students took turns excavating the cards out of the “ground” to put the compound words together. 
This then became a favorite word work activity.
In guided reading, my students were working on finding the main idea and details about fossils. They read articles that I had written and then recorded the main idea and details on their recording sheets.  
Another group of my students is still working on their sight words. This group used my friend Maria’s  sight word book to help them with the word “what.” 
 These books are really great for my students who still need additional support. The best thing about this book was that it fit perfectly with our theme. 
 My students loved reading them and are now on to their next sight word. 
(Maria’s blog is Kinder-craze and it is fabulous! You should check it out!!) 
During our writing workshop time on Wednesday we used dinosaurs to help us with our current topic: poetry! This week we were writing -ing poems. To do this, students need to list verbs that end in -ing about a specific noun. For example the poem looks like this:
NOUN
verb+ing 
verb +ing 
verb +ing 
verb +ing 
verb +ing 
We decided that our noun would be ‘dinosaurs’ and then we brainstormed what verbs we could use. My students then got to work creating their own -ing poems. 
They enjoyed coming up with verbs that dinosaurs could do. 
{Next week I will be working with some students to teach them the rule about what to do when you add -ing to a word that ends in e. I love how lessons can lead to new lessons and topics! }
Finally, on Thursday (this normally would have been a Friday activity but since Valentine’s Day was Friday we did this on Thursday), we put everything we had learned this week to the test. On Wednesday night, I made dirt cups for all of my students. I used chocolate pudding, crushed up Nilla Waffers and crushed up Oreos to create the different layers of the Earth. 
I then hid plastic dinosaur fossil toys in each cup of dirt. 
My students were given their tools and had to excavate their fossils out of the dirt. 
 They were beyond excited throughout this whole process! 
 They loved eating their way to their dinosaurs!
 After they washed off their fossils in the bathroom, they used our dinosaur books to discover what kind of dinosaur they had discovered!
 They could not have been happier and it was such a great way to end our fossil week! 
These were the dinosaurs I hid! (If you click on the picture, it will take you to Amazon.com)
Stay tuned for how we used dinosaurs in Math! 
These activities and MORE can be found in my Dinosaur pack! To see more of what is in it, simply click on the cover below! 

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12 Comments
  1. Just when I think you have done it all…so flippin’ cute and how much fun did your kids have?? Wow! I bet they learned so much!! I am going to have to add this to my TPT cart now!! Thanks so much for always sharing!! Have a great weekend!!

    Christa
    sweetlifeofsecondgrade

  2. Looks like so much fun!

  3. Thank you for the reminder to make sure to include that unit this year! It’s such a fun one for the kiddos and they learned a lot as well! :)

    NotJustChild’sPlay

  4. Wow! Another winner! I am just buying this year because I don’t have time to implement all your wonderul ideas. I really want to though! So hopefully next year will be just a little bit easier than this year (just maybe less meetings, less evaluations, less testing, less new stuff we’re expected to put into practice immediately and I’m in a grade I haven’t taught in 2 years). So, I’m adding this to my Tpt cart too! Thanks for your great pics and blog comments. They really help it come alive. Thanks!

  5. Your ideas/activities are some of the best I have ever read about! Smiles and stop by anytime!

  6. Priceless faces on those kids because of your love and creativity for making learning fun! So awesome!

  7. awww….I LOVE dinosaur units! I haven’t gotten to do mine this year yet :-/ but I WILL get to it before the end of the year! and then I’m comin’ for your pack! :)

  8. How fun are your bulletin boards!! I might have to doa 3-D board like that when I do dinosaurs for my little ones! I love it!!!

  9. Kristin -

    Hey I just purchased your packet and LOVE it! I did not come across the dinosaur picture (writing template) that your kids used for the “What do we know about dinosaurs?” Could I get a copy of that,please? Thank you

  10. I have purchased your Dinosaur Unit “All About the Dinosaurs.” I would love a copy of the dinosaur crafts and writing for the bulletin board, I did not see it in the packet.

    Thank you so much!!

    Adina Brooks

    • Thanks for your inspiring ideas! I too have purchased the unit and would love a copy of the dinosaur shaped writing frames you used for the bulletin board. I also loved the look of the sheet the students write their dinosaur verb poems on and would love to use them. Is this in the packet at all either? Thanks!

  11. Natalie -

    Hi,
    I have purchased the pack and absolutely love it. I specifically downloaded hoping there would be a copy of the dinosaur template that the children wrote what they know about dinosaurs on – is there any chance of getting this please?
    Great pack and love everything in it!
    xx

12 Comments

  • Just when I think you have done it all…so flippin’ cute and how much fun did your kids have?? Wow! I bet they learned so much!! I am going to have to add this to my TPT cart now!! Thanks so much for always sharing!! Have a great weekend!!

    Christa
    sweetlifeofsecondgrade

  • Looks like so much fun!

  • Thank you for the reminder to make sure to include that unit this year! It’s such a fun one for the kiddos and they learned a lot as well! :)

    NotJustChild’sPlay

  • Wow! Another winner! I am just buying this year because I don’t have time to implement all your wonderul ideas. I really want to though! So hopefully next year will be just a little bit easier than this year (just maybe less meetings, less evaluations, less testing, less new stuff we’re expected to put into practice immediately and I’m in a grade I haven’t taught in 2 years). So, I’m adding this to my Tpt cart too! Thanks for your great pics and blog comments. They really help it come alive. Thanks!

  • Your ideas/activities are some of the best I have ever read about! Smiles and stop by anytime!

  • Priceless faces on those kids because of your love and creativity for making learning fun! So awesome!

  • awww….I LOVE dinosaur units! I haven’t gotten to do mine this year yet :-/ but I WILL get to it before the end of the year! and then I’m comin’ for your pack! :)

  • How fun are your bulletin boards!! I might have to doa 3-D board like that when I do dinosaurs for my little ones! I love it!!!

  • Kristin -

    Hey I just purchased your packet and LOVE it! I did not come across the dinosaur picture (writing template) that your kids used for the “What do we know about dinosaurs?” Could I get a copy of that,please? Thank you

  • I have purchased your Dinosaur Unit “All About the Dinosaurs.” I would love a copy of the dinosaur crafts and writing for the bulletin board, I did not see it in the packet.

    Thank you so much!!

    Adina Brooks

    • Thanks for your inspiring ideas! I too have purchased the unit and would love a copy of the dinosaur shaped writing frames you used for the bulletin board. I also loved the look of the sheet the students write their dinosaur verb poems on and would love to use them. Is this in the packet at all either? Thanks!

  • Natalie -

    Hi,
    I have purchased the pack and absolutely love it. I specifically downloaded hoping there would be a copy of the dinosaur template that the children wrote what they know about dinosaurs on – is there any chance of getting this please?
    Great pack and love everything in it!
    xx

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