Sunday, October 6, 2013

Dinosaurs!

A (long) while back, I mentioned how excited I was to do a Dinosaur Themed unit over the summer since I never have time to do this unit during the regular school year! Unfortunately, I never did get around to blogging about it. Since yesterday was letter 'D' day in the 31 Days of ABC's, I figured now was as good a time as any to play catch up!

Books! I went a little crazy with the dinosaur books during preparations and ended up  having more than enough to choose from for our classroom activities. Here's 10 of my students' favorite books, which include a nice mixture of fiction and non-fiction options:


The #1 favorite, by a long run, was Dinosaur Dig by Penny Dale. Who doesn't love dinosaurs AND heavy machinery in one book? It's a great little rhyming and counting book about dinosaurs digging and building a swimming pool. Somehow, I figured out that I could sing it to the tune of "99 Bottles" - singing songs with books really mesmerizes my students and increases their attention for a story exponentially! My PreK students seemed never to tire of this story and requested it everyday, over and over again.

Here's the rest of our list:

Ten Terrible Dinosaurs by Ken Stickland. -- This book was great for counting, vocabulary enrichment, talking about being kind - we used little dinos and lined them up during the story telling and took one at a time away as we read. We did end up modifying this book greatly to meet the needs of the students as much of the vocabulary was much too hard for my students.

Dinosaur Roar by Ken Stickland  -- We had fun acting out parts of this book with toy dinosaurs, talking about opposites, comparing the dinosaurs on each page, using lots of new adjectives & prepositions and exploring new vocabulary words like meek & weak etc.

Saturday Night at the Dinosaur Stomp by Carol Diggory Shields -- This story had great pictures and fun rhyming text, BUT was very difficult for me to read! It includes the full scientific names of many dinosaurs in the rhyming text, so here's your fair warning to practice reading it before trying to read it to your students! We ended up modifying this book lots too in order to share it with the kids so that they could understand the storyline - it was a hit though! 

How do Dinosaurs Eat their Food?  by Jane Yolen & Mark Teague  -- This one was an easy to read with great pictures.

If the Dinosaurs Came Back by Bernard Most -- A fun classic that I remember reading when I was little. The kids seemed to enjoy reading this one and thinking of what it might be like if they had a dinosaur as a pet. We painted dinosaurs in single colors to resemble the dinos from the book and added a photograph of each child  'riding' their dinosaurs for a wall display.

Dinosaur Bones by Bob Barner -- Cute rhyming story about dinosaurs. My kids loved the dinosaur tracks at the end of the book and the page with dinosaurs next to each other to compare sizes. The long neck dinosaur was everyone's favorite by far!

Dinosaur A-Z by Roger Priddy -- Great very realistic looking pictures! We didn't read this one very much, but the kids loved looking at the pictures in this one indpendently.

My Big Dinosaur Book by Roger Priddy -- Another collection of great realistic looking dinosaur pictures.

Dinosaurs Touch & Feel by Jeffrey Burton -- This one was a fun addition to our collection because of the touch & feel aspect. Lots of great textures, colors and pop ups to keep even reluctant little readers engaged. Although it was probably the 'youngest' book in the collection, they still enjoyed it just the same!

It seemed that ALL of the books went well with plastic dinosaur figurines as props. The students loved choosing a dinosaur and then copying the dinosaur actions from the books.






Dinosaur play! I managed to round up a whole bushel basket full of dinosaur figurines from yard sales and the dollar store so there were never any fights about dinosaurs since there were so many. I also (again went a little crazy) and made this dinosaur suitcase playset that I saw a tutorial on over at So You Think You're Crafty. Mine came out pretty good and the kids loved playing with it!

Dinosaur Suitcase Playset
Songs! We sang a few different songs about dinosaurs this summer too! We changed up the words to "If You're Happy and You Know It" to "If You're a Dino and You Know" and it was a huge hit with the kids.  It goes something like this:
If you're a dino and you know it 
Roar real loud
If you're a dino and you know it 
Roar real loud
If you're a dino and you know 
and you really want to show it 
If you're a dino and you know it 
Roar real loud

Action Variations:
Jump real high, roar real soft, turn around, wiggle your tail, clap your claws, stomp your feet, show your teeth, go to sleep etc.

Another one of the favorites was Dinosaur Stomp by Dan & Dani - here's the YouTube Video:




Activities! Here are a few pictures of our Dinosaur-a-Summer pictures:
Dinosaur painting like the dinosaurs from Bernard Most's book!

Plastic Dinosaurs in Playdoh make fun footprints!



Printables! We also used some of the games and activity sheets from my Dinosaur Discover early literacy and math pack which can be found in my TpT Store.

Dinosaur Theme Early Learning Activities

FREEBIES! And here are some FREE cut & paste dino activities that I put in my student's communication books for this unit (for at home carryover and reinforcement).

 


 How 'bout you? What other great dinosaur activities have you done with your kids?

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