Get your first and second grade students excited about researching and writing when the activities focus on dinosaurs. Kids love them! So use their enthusiasm to build report writing skills.
Dinosaur Writing Activity Begins with Research
Prior to your students working on any writing activities, they need to learn how to gather information. Start with a whole group activity. This will allow you to MODEL the process for your students. Select one dinosaur and do some research together. Use websites and books as references to gather information. Then record the details learned about that dinosaur.
Now that the entire class has collected specifics about one dinosaur together, assign another dinosaur for a group of students to complete with you in small group. By doing this, you can observe if they use the process which you modeled during the whole group activity. Be a “wallflower” watching them yet step in when they need help.
Whole group modeling is complete. A small group task is done. Now give them another dinosaur to research independently. This sets up a gradual release of responsibility. Just think: I do it, we do it, you do it. If they aren’t quite ready for the independent “you do it” part, pair students up so they can work together to build their skills a bit more.
Dinosaur Details and Writing Activity
After the repeated practice with researching, students will be able to expand their writing into a list or even a paragraph using the additional information they have collected.
Add a Craft Activity to the Dinosaur Writing
If you build it, he will come.Ray Kinsella, portrayed by Kevin Costner, in the 1989 movie “Field of Dreams”
Teachers will admit that tweaking the quote above usually increases student engagement in the classroom,
“If you say “craft”, they will come.”
Sometimes, teachers only have to say, “Get out your crayons.” to see a dramatic change in the level of engagement. Coloring can be a great brain break activity too. When it’s all put together, students have completed a bulletin board worthy creation.
Add More Activities
Incorporate the dinosaur idea into other areas of the curriculum.
- Talk about the size of dinosaurs and use greater than and less than to compare the length of various dinosaurs for math.
- Build science vocabulary as students learn if their dinosaur was a carnivore, herbivore, or omnivore.
- Practice using capital letters in greetings and closings as they write a letter during an ELA lesson. They can write to a friend to share info about their dinosaur.
If you don’t have dinosaur writing activities in your curriculum, now is the time to add them. Most kids are interested in animals and dinosaurs might top the list as the favorite. Build upon their interest (or obsession) and use it to teach students how to research animals, collect details, and write reports.
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