I used the same technique to teach Deer Facts that I used for Turkey Facts. My primary goals were to expose the children to informational material, encourage them to remember and retell information, and give them an opportunity to write in an expository format. Our curriculum did not include specific facts about animals, but I found that it was a good way to teach these skills and make connections to the holidays. Parents were always so impressed when their children came home talking about the facts we learned.
First Roxie Heart visited our classroom wearing a new deer dress.
She always told the children that her Mom had just made her a new dress, and asked them if they liked it. She talked with the class about the deer on her dress and told them that there are lots of kinds of deer – reindeer were only one of the kinds. Elk and Moose are other kinds of deer. She told them that another name for reindeer is Caribou.
She told them that she had deer food in her purse, and showed them the leavcs.
She talked about how deer only have teeth on the bottom in front – not the top. She also told them that deer have 4 stomachs!
She told them she had a secret about baby deer – and it was on her back. Then she turned around…
and showed them the white spots, then told them that baby deer are called fawns and they have white spots too!
Then she asked if they noticed her antlers.
Of course they were actually pipe cleaners twisted around her pigtails. She told them that she must be a deer because deer are the only animals that have antlers. Roxie also told them that only boy deer have antlers and they fall off every year, and then grow back again on the deer’s head.
The whole time Roxie was talking I was stroking her, she would look from the children to me. I would ask her questions to help her tell all the information to the kids. Then I asked her where she learned all these facts about deer and she showed me a ZooBook about deer. I could not find a good book for deer facts, and I had a large collection of ZooBooks. This would work just as well if you have a great informational book about deer – just pick facts from that book to highlight.
I had drawn or adapted clipart pictures to help the children remember the facts that Roxie talked about –
Baby deer are fawns and have spots
4 stomachs (I drew 4 circles inside a deer clipart and numbered them)
Only deer have antlers
Another name for reindeer is Caribou
Deer eat plants and leaves
Deer have no teeth on top
I wish I had kept these pictures to scan for you. I put these pictures in a pocket chart and asked the children if they remembered the facts Roxie told us. As they named each fact I turned the picture over. Then I asked if they still remembered them – and I turned them back over as they listed them.
Then I put Roxie back into my puppet castle and read the ZooBook. I didn’t read all of it because they have so much information, I highlighted some of the facts, and put sticky notes by some – to model this for the children. We also looked at the informational text features like bold print, captions, labels, etc. I asked the children to wave their hand quietly when I read one of the facts we had learned. When we came to one of the facts and they waved to me – I moved that fact to a different spot.
We reviewed all the facts one more time, then the children went to their tables and drew and wrote 3 of the facts we had learned.
Here is the writing paper. I ran the 2 pages back to back and folded them into a booklet.
When the children finished drawing and writing they always read their work to me, or a parent volunteer.