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Grade: 3-5
Subject: 4 Blocks

#1267. dinosaur themed guided reading, ssr, focus writing

4 Blocks, level: Elementary
Posted Sun Aug 22 19:24:28 PDT 1999 by deb ().
Concepts Taught: reading, guided reading in 4 blocks

Day 1 and 2 Guided Reading using Dinosaur Poems

Depending on the level of the kids, these might be the easier reading days or the harder reading days. I divided my class into three groups and had them practice the poems. Then they read them to the other 2/3s of the class. They loved it. Each group had a chart tablet size of the poem which they could decorate. Some kids memorized the poem, some read it. Both ways worked great.

Miles of Smiles written by Bruce Lansky
ISBN 0-439-08211-0
"Dinosaur Names"
If the dinosaurs had such peanut-sized brains,
why were they given such difficult names?
Why not Beak Mouth or Bonehead or Horny or Chops,
instead of a mouthful like Triceratops?
And as sure as the winged Archaeopteryx flew,
a much simpler name like Fly Guy would do.
If dinosaurs knew that their names were so tough,
they'd turn in their graves and cause earthquakes and stuff!
Why not Spiny or Spike for our friend Stegosaurus?
And Stretch seems to work for the long Brontosaurus.
Their names should be simple and bold and distinct ---
I wish that long dinosaur names were extinct!
By Holly Davis (page 84)


Miles of Smiles written by Bruce Lansky
"My Family of Dinosaurs"
My sister, finkasaurus,
is a tattletaling shrew.
My brother, slobasaurus,
doesn't quite know how to chew.
My mother, rushasaurus,
finds it hard to be on time.
My father, cheapasaurus,
never spends an extra dime.
Our doggy, barkasaurus,
keeps the neighbors up at night.
Our kitty, scratchasaurus,
gouges everything in sight.
And then there's angelasaurus---
who, you might have guessed, is me ---
the only one who's perfect in this crazy family.
By Helen Ksypka (page 85)

Favorite Poems by Dennis Lee Dinosaur Dinner with a Slice of Alligator Pie
selected by Jack Prelutsky
ISBN: 0-439-07718-4

"The Dinosaur Dinner"
Allosaurus, Stegosaurus
Brontosaurus too,
All went off for dinner at the
Dinosaur zoo;

Along came the waiter, called
Tyrannosaurus Rex,
Gobbled up the table
"Cause they wouldn't pay their checks.


Day 1, 2 and 3 SSR: Read aloud a dinosaur alphabet book for a few different days.

Some suggestions for read alouds and books to use with the following guided reading lesson:
Dinosaur Alphabet Book
ISBN 0-81670-3647

The Dinosaur Alphabet Book
ISBN 0-88106-466-1
written by Jerry Pallotta

Dinosaurs, Dinosaurs
Byron Barton
ISBN 0-590-45360-2

Bones, Bones, Dinosaur Bones
Byron Barton
ISBN 0-440-84313-8

Guided Reading Day 3
Then for guided reading introduce the graphic organizer. Read through a book that you already read for ssr reading on a previous day. As you read "dinosaur" words have the children identify them and you add them to the graphic organizer. Do 8-10 words with the class then have them work in partners or small groups to read and find more dinosaur words. In the beginning I give each group 5-6 sticky notes to place by the words. They don't have to rewrite the words on the sticky note, just place it on the page where they found it. This is an activity that will work with any dinosaur book. After the kids have had 3-4 minutes to find some words, they share them. I have the kids share the word, read the sentence the word was in, and then I add the word to the class graphic organizer. Then I have the kids read for words for another 5-7 minutes. Then we share again. With some classes I stop and start often. With some classes I start them and let them find a lot of words. Another variation is to give each group their own graphic organizer. I caution against giving the kids their own individually. The focus moves away from reading to writing. Writing is a good thing but that's not the focus of guided reading.

How long I give the kids to work in between sharing words depends on many criteria:
how many times this activity has been done
how old the kids are
is the text difficult or easy
how are the kids handling the assignment


HOW TO MAKE THIS GRAPHIC ORGANIZER There should be 6 squares across and 5 squares down for a total of 30 squares. Then write one letter of the alphabet in each of the first 26 squares. Write the subject "dinosaurs" in one square; name in another square; date in one square; and teacher name in the last square. I make one on an overhead transparency. I use this technique often so I like having it on an overhead. A laminated poster is another way to go. I am really bad at getting things to line up, scanning in documents, etc. so I cannot send a picture of how this looks.

Day 4 ssr
SSR read aloud connected to math Since we are encouraged to read at least 4 different times throughout the day, I often find a book that can be tied to a math concept.

The Dinosaur Who Lived in My Backyard
written by BG Hennessy
ISBN 0-590-47694-7

This is a good book to read aloud. The story helps uses comparison to illustrate the size of dinosaurs. I take the time after this story to write a list of comparisons with the children. Little Ashleigh is bigger than a Labrador puppy. Ashleigh is littler than a horse. The brontosaurus is as long as three buses. To link this back to writing, when a child writes, "My dog is big." I say, "remember when we read, The Dinosaur Who Lived in My Backyard, my dog is bigger than a _______." They do start making comparisons as the year goes on. A homework assignment might be:

I am smaller then a stegosaurus but smaller then a ornitholestes.
I am bigger then a _____________ but smaller then a ____________
I am bigger then a _____________ but smaller then a ____________
I am bigger then a _____________ but smaller then a ____________
I am bigger then a _____________ but smaller then a ____________


Three days of on grade level Guided Reading using the book Dinosaurs by Gail Gibbons ISBN 0-590-47882-6

Set purpose find the names of dinosaurs and a fact about each dinosaur.

Read the first nine pages. I have the kids read (ERT... to page 9). Then we talk about the facts about dinosaurs in general, but none of the facts are specific. I read page 9 and 10 to them. I say, "Triceratops ate _______ what?" (plants) Then I say, "Who else ate plants? (Protoceratops) often a kid will tell me the name of a plant eating dinosaur that isn't protoceratops. I respond, "you are probably right that ________ (dinosaur name) eats plants, but let's read what the author is telling us in this book. Oh Triceratops and Protoceratops eat plants. I start a list on the overhead, or chart paper or black board with the following two captions:

Name of dinosaur Information about the dinosaur
Triceratops Ate plants, head with a shield, 20 feet long
Protoceratops Ate plants, head with a shield, 20 feet long

Then I send the kids off to read the until the Brachiosaurus page. I remind them to read for information about specific dinosaurs. After 20 minutes the kids join me and we fill in the chart with more dinosaurs.

+++++++++++++++++

The next day ---- I would set the purpose again. I read with the kids chorally what we read yesterday. Then have the partner or small groups continue reading the book looking for facts about specific dinosaurs.

+++++++++++++++++

On day three ---- Today when we read Dinosaurs look for information about most dinosaurs. Look at the first nine pages. Start a list with the kids:

Facts about Dinosaurs
Paleontologists study dinosaur bones.

Set the purpose of day three: As you read today, find some facts you want to share with your partner (small group) about dinosaurs in general. The kids could have a journal, a piece of paper, sticky notes. I personally prefer sticky notes because then reading the facts is the focus not writing the facts.

++++++++++++++++
Focus Writing after several dinosaur theme guided reading days I Use the writing workshop mini lesson Safe Topic Sentences to have the children writing paragraphs about dinosaurs.

In grades 2-3, provide the students with a list of safe topic sentences. Have students choose a topic. Then choose one of the following topic sentences. Then have student write three sentences providing the details. I have found that my 2nd graders are very good at writing the "middles" of stories. However they were not good at writing a topic sentence or a concluding sentence. In a grad class on reading strategies a fellow classmate had a poster that she used to guide the students in picking out a "safe topic" sentence. She had the poster up in the room and kids picked one whenever they were beginning to write a story. I modeled how to pick a safe topic sentence MANY many many times before assuming the kids could/would on their own. After reading a science unit on dinosaurs I guide the kids to realize that these "safe" topic sentences would work for their paragraphs:

Let me tell you about dinosaurs.
Have you ever wondered about dinosaurs?
Have you ever wondered why people study dinosaurs?
I like dinosaurs for many reasons.

Then they wrote three or four sentences about dinosaurs after the safe topic sentence. I repeated this activity using different subjects many times throughout the year of 2nd grade. In third grade the teachers use these sentence frames heavily for the first marking period and then the kids seem to internalize them and really know what a topic sentence is for. The list below are the sentence "frames" then the kids fill in the missing parts of the sentence with their subject.


Let me tell you about...
Have you ever wondered about...
Have you ever wondered why...
I like to _______ for many reasons.
I know how to_______. First ...
I think _______ was ______ for many reasons.
I just learned facts about...
Let me tell you how ______ and ________ are alike.
Let me tell you how ______ and ______ are different.
It's fun to ________. First you...
Many changes happen to ________ as they grow.
People used to think ________, but now we know...
_______ was a ________ person.