As we all know, Kindergarten has changed so much. In most states children attend 5 full days, and the emphasis is on Reader’s and Writer’s workshop rather than themed based activities. But we also know that children need to be actively engaged and that play and child directed learning is essential to helping every child achieve success. Luckily, with a full day I found time to include some thematic activities as a way to incorporate science and social studies with reading and writing. When my children created books – whatever the subject matter – it provided so many opportunities to teach about letters, sounds, punctuation, fluency, expression, rhyme, patterns, and so on. The children were all able to read these books because of the repeated practice, and these books became very instrumental in Reader’s Workshop as books they could read independently. I also loved sending these books home because children felt a sense of pride and ownership and were anxious to read them to their families, much more than xeroxed copies of texts or borrowed books – although of course those were part of the program also.
This Dinosaur book was always a favorite –
The technique I used for this stegosaurus was putting dots of paint from small bottles onto the paper, then scraping across with a plastic scraper.
Obviously this text is a copy change of Brown Bear, Brown Bear. I concentrated on 5 dinosaurs and each page gave me an opportunity to teach and discuss and read about dinosaurs. We learned about meat eaters and plant eaters, this Apatosaurus neck is on a fastener so he can reach grass or trees. We discussed the size of dinosaurs and the relative size of their brains!
We added toothpicks for horns. This dinosaur was taped on the page, underneath we taped an egg, and under that we stamped a baby Triceratops. We talked not only about how dinosaurs laid eggs – but also the fact that a triceratops could only be the parent of a baby triceratops.
On the stegosaurus page we created a pattern for this bony plates. The head folded in, the tail extended to the opposite page.
The flying Pterodactyl gave me a chance to teach the children how to fold “boingys” . We took 2 srtrips of paper and glued them L shaped, then folded one over the other. When we glued this boingy under the Pterodactyl it moved around a bit on the page. I soon found children including boingies in many free choice art projects.
This Tyrannosaurs was taped at the top. We traced around the outside to give an outline when we lifted it up.
I cut small bone shapes from foam and we stamped bones inside the outline. We talked about paleontologists and how they search for and reassemble bones to learn about dinosaurs. We also searched for bones in the sandbox, and used popsicle sticks to dig chocolate chips out of cookies – we predicted how many we would find and made a graph. We also created dinosaur “fossils” out of plaster of paris. The children loved these activities and along with the fun we read many stories, poems and informational texts. Good fun and lots of learning!