All About Dinosaurs In The Classroom


If you want to have the happiest students ever, teach them all about dinosaurs! They absolutely love it.  When I first started teaching I was very much by the books and did exactly what the district told me to do.  As I became better at my craft I realized that I could teach the standards that the district wanted more thoroughly with engaged students if I used topics that the students wanted. The big bonus is that student behavior is much better when they love what they are learning.  Every year I give an interest survey and every year dinosaurs are on the top for students. In this post I will walk you through a week of learning about dinosaurs.




The very first part of every lesson for me is the engagement piece.  I want to hook the students in so that they are invested in what they learn.  For Dinosaur week I created a control panel and taped it outside of our classroom.  As students walk in I had them press their lunch number in, scan their finger and get their security badge.  They were so excited and this was very little effort for me.




The first lesson's objective was to learn how figure out unknown vocabulary that the students would encounter through independent reading.  We read a dinosaur passage together whole group and circled unknown words.  We walked through the word "fossil" together on a 4-square vocabulary organizer which you can see below.  Before we filled the organizer out, I gave the students salt dough and had them make a fossil.  This hands-on activity allowed them to see first hand what the vocabulary word was.  This helped the students to master the skill of learning unknown words.  Now they're ready to tackle those words on their own.  If you click on the photo above it will take you to another post where you'll learn how to make this salt dough.  As a side note, it takes at least a week to dry the fossils so starting on day one helps.


 On day two we moved into reading about dinosaurs with partners.  Each group was assigned a station with books.  The partner's had to find an unknown word and fill out a 4-square.  At the end of the lesson the partners shared their 4-squares with the class.


Days 3-5 were spent studying different dinosaurs independently.  Each person received a leveled passage about a specific dinosaur, a 4-square and dinosaur writing paper.  The first day they figured out any unknown words and shared them with the class.  Then they moved on to finding important details and writing about their dinosaur in an informational piece.  At the end of the week they shared their writing with the class.  Through this week's lessons they were able to learn a variety of informational standards which included:  main topic, vocabulary, key details and informational writing.  It was a fabulous week.



If you are too busy to create all of the materials including differentiated reading passages that your students need, click below to find my Dinosaur Unit.  Included are 6 different passages on:  dinosaurs, paleontologists, T-Rex, Stegosaurus, Velociraptor, Triceratops and a ton of other resources!!


You may also like partner pairing cards.  These cards get your students up, moving and thinking about the days lessons before they start!



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