Saturday, March 18, 2017

Dinosaur Days

This year I have some friends in my classroom that LOVE dinosaurs. I have never really had a group that loves something this much. Every squiggle, creative writing, and reading choice somehow turned into a dinosaur theme. I of course saw Hope and Wade King's Jurassic World, and my inspiration came from this unit they did at the Ron Clark Academy. That led me to create my Dinosaur Room Transformation!

Hope will tell you that her room transformations didn't start this grand, and that she started somewhere too. I wholeheartedly believe that even the smallest "room transformation" makes a huge difference. First, I used this planning page. You can find it for free here. I planned out what standards I wanted to review with my students, and what I would need to make it happen. I had two full days and one half day to plan activities for.

After planning, and making a donation list, and begging (borrowing, buying) everything that I could find, I went to work! I found SO many things on Oriental Trading website. They have a whole section for teachers! It really didn't take me long to set up my room. I made our door with this awesome dinosaur tape and a super easy sign that I printed. The leaves and tree trunk literally took fifteen minutes. I wasn't really particular about how it looked. The best part were the Dinosaur Foot prints! They were the students' favorite part! As a teacher, of course, I love these posters because they have so much information on them. The students kept going back to look at them each day! The table jeeps were made just like Hope and Wade's- black plastic tablecloths, pie pans, and aluminum foil.

When the students came in, they got one of these amazing bookmarks from Oriental Trading that told them which jeep to sit at. They got one of these dinosaur notepads to record their observations and inferences. Every morning, we do Picture of the Day by Jen Jones so this was their normal routine. They came up with some amazing inferences, because they were so excited. 

They observed that each table had a specific dinosaur and the color of the bookmark, matched the color of the dinosaur on the jeep. I made name tags to match as well. I keep the lanyards for all the projects that I do, so that was not an added expense. I brought around a stamp pad, and they got to stamp their cute little thumbs on the square.

We did this adorable writing on day one, using the book, What the Dinosaurs did Last Night. It is a good read, and the kids came up with hilarious situations about what would happen if the dinosaurs came to school! we also worked on past tense verbs, because the dinosaurs were in the past! (They loved that.)

We also created dinosaurs with tangrams and wrote facts about our newly discovered dinosaurs. The kids were SO creative with this one!

I also got these amazing dinosaur claw dig excavation kits for each student. They were worth EVERY penny. The kids were shrieking with joy! You could do this is pairs or groups to save money. Don't forget that Oriental Trading has a wishlist feature that parents choose from! Just to make sure we were officially learning something from our standards, they had to describe the experience using adjectives. :)

These books are also from Oriental Trading company. You can find some of the books on amazon too. They are awesome and had sons of examples of text features. The students worked in groups with sticky notes to identify the text features they found.

While the students were working throughout the week, I had them write the names of the dinosaurs and pin them in the bulletin board.

I've used these stamps before from Oriental Trading, and the kids love them. They drew 2-D shapes and stamped the corners of each one.

We also searched for the faces of 3-D shapes in dinosaur poop. What kid doesn't want to dig in dino poop?!?! This was my favorite idea from Hope and Wade King. This is what I used to make the dinosaur poop. I put it all in the pan and had it ready. I added the laminated shapes and then added the water before the kids came in that day.

 I used three shapes, so I copied the shapes onto three different colors of card stock.  I laminated them so that the poop wouldn't completely destroy them. They did hold up throughout the lesson, but I wouldn't use them again! They had to record the attributes of each shape and draw the faces of the shape. You can see they used their head lamps to see what they were finding! I got those from the Dollar Tree, and just bought head bands from the dollar tree and hot glued them together.

Lastly, I told them they were making a dinosaur cage for two plastic dinosaurs. They had 20 popsicle sticks, 10 pipe cleaners, and one can of play-dough to create a cage for the dinosaurs. This was an awesome way to wrap up our two days of dinosaur fun!

What kind of dinosaur activities do you do? If you want to check out some of the activities we completed, you can click here to check out more! Let me know in the comments if there is anything you would like to see added.  Don't forget to visit Oriental Trading for all the fun activities you do with your students!

(Note: I was given some of these items from Oriental Trading Company in exchange for a review, however the review is my own honest opinion.)

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Room Transformation Planning Page

Happy March! I am so excited that March is here. We are getting close to review time for #allthetests so it is the perfect time for a room transformation. Throughout the year, I plan small room transformations that we use for a lesson or two here and there. But each year, I also like to plan large room transformations!

We've had crime scenes, bakeries, hospitals, and pirate ships but this year I am trying something new. I love this post by Hope and Wade King, when they did their Jurassic World. I have some kiddos that are obsessed with dinosaurs this year so I knew it was going to be a great idea to incorporate this idea. But in true teacher confessions, it is HARD to be Hope King, y'all. She has been doing room transformations for a while, so she has it down pat! So to help me plan and wrap my mind around my day, I made these planning pages. It was so helpful to go over my standards, what I had, and what I needed to buy!

 I am so excited to sit and write down all of my thoughts on one page. This will help me get ready AND know what to ask parents to donate. If you want to use the page, you can download it here or click on the picture! 

Have you done any room transformations lately? What is your favorite theme? Share in the comments below. Happy Planning!