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Dinosaur Topic Ideas

Lots of the schools where I’m working at the moment are thoroughly enjoying doing Dinosaur based topic, so I thought that I would share some of the texts and resources that we have been using.

Initially, the Year 1 pupils followed some footprints and found a very large egg (papier-mâché) on the school’s playing field and discussed where it might have come from, how to look after it and what might come out of it.

egg

To inspire their ideas, I used an image from a lovely book about a hen that collects lots of abandoned eggs, sits on them and then has a very interesting brood:

hattiehattie 1hattie 2

 

We then watched Ice Age 3 to find out about how not to look after an egg! Some pupils wanted to write instructions about how to keep the egg safe. The pupils spent time looking after the egg, until eventually it hatched and a very cute baby dinosaur appeared!

dino in egg

Now the children were worried about how to look after this tiny baby, so we discussed how we looked after our own pets by giving them somewhere warm to sleep, tasty food to eat and time to play with them. Then we gathered everything that we might need to take care of our new dinosaur, we even made him a special cosy den after quite a serious chat about comfort versus camouflage!

tent

We decided we better write down how to look after the dinosaur because at the weekend the care-taker would have to look after him. I modelled how to write it, with their ideas and then the pupils used the props to follow the instructions to make sure that they were clear and they were just right for our dinosaur:

how to letter

what to do

 

I gave them a word mat to support their learning:

Some of them just drew the different steps, whilst others wrote them either on a scaffold or directly in their books:

graphic 2

 graphic 3LETTER

We then learnt a story called the Little Green Dinosaur, a simple lost and found story, supported by a story map.

The Little Green Dinosaur:

 

Long, long ago the Little Green Dinosaur hatched out of his egg and found him-self alone in the forest.

‘Where is my mummy?’ squeaked the Little Green Dinosaur. ‘I need to find her.’

So he set off through the forest. First he met a fierce T Rex. ‘Are you my mummy?’ squeaked the Little Green Dinosaur.

‘Not I,’ said the fierce T Rex. ‘I am a fierce T Rex.’ So he carried on over the hill.

Then he met a slow brontosaurus ‘Are you my mummy?’ squeaked the Little Green Dinosaur. ‘

‘Not I,’ said the slow brontosaurus. ‘I am a slow brontosaurus.’

So he carried on around the rocks. Then he met a spiky stegosaurus.

‘Are you my mummy?’ squeaked the Little Green Dinosaur.

‘Not I,’ said the spiky stegosaurus. ‘I am a spiky stegosaurus.’

So he carried on across the river. Suddenly he saw a big green dinosaur. ‘Are you my mummy?’ squeaked the Little Green Dinosaur.

‘Yes I am. I’ve been looking for you.’ And she gave him a great big hug.

 

We also used puppets to retell the story and really bring it to life before the children innovated their own versions:

dino bag

Whilst we were learning our story we also read a wonderfully lyrical story all about a poor little dinosaur who is alone and searches high and low for his own mummy. This fed them some amazing language and description ideas:

somethingosaursometingasuar inside

This wonderful text was used to re-inforce story telling skills
Display – different dinosaur characters
Adjectives to describe the dinosaurs
Verbs – how the dinosaur move (word bank) (different colour)
Modelling – show how to change a sentence

Eg.  Next the little somethingosaur walked through the forest
Next the little somethingosaur crept through the gloomy forest.
Next the little somethingosaur tip-toed through the frightening forest

We also produced lost and wanted posters to help the dinosaur find his Mummy.

At this point I would use some technological wizardry, after I was really inspired by the way Higher Openshaw Primary School in Manchester brought their dinosaur life.  They used a really effective APP called FxGuruApp to bring a dinosaur directly to their school playground.

tv

tv2

If you go to their twitter page @HOC_EYFS you will see the fruits of their labour. They actually went one step further and then arranged for a walking, growling creature that the children adored!

playground

Over the years I have used lots of different picture books to give the children a breadth of story structures and characterisation when doing this topic. Here are just a few:

tyrannosuarus drip

This text tells the story of a gentle little duckbill dinosaur egg that ends up in the wrong nest and when he hatches his grisly big sisters call him Tyrannosaurus Drip. We follow him to find his rightful place in the world.

 

 

 

 

tyrannosuarus drip inside

Eventually he finds his family and there is a happy ending!

tyrannosuarus drip inside2

 

dinsoaurs 2These are quite a new series of books with a simple structure and a 3d dinosaur at the back of each book. Children will like the fact that they are familiar and enjoy seeing Dylan’s adventures.

 

 

 

diplodocThis is one from a series of books that children will enjoy as they compare their lives with those of a dinosaur in a fun and interesting way.

 

 

 

 

dinosaur roar

 

This is an old favourite as it isn’t really a story but it’s packed with great descriptive language to build up their noun phrasing confidence.

 

 

 

 

dinosaurs 3Michael Foreman twists the idea with this one by putting dinosaurs into the present day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

ten little dinosaursThis has some lovely illustrations and would be great for characterisation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have also used chapter books to help extend ideas about dinosaurs and story -telling:

dinosaur trouble

There are also a number of really engaging non-fiction texts that can be used to support this topic. I’ve just starting using this one as the language is quite basic but it has questions and interesting comparisons to today, so it is great for exploration and discussion:

lets talk about dinosaursbig and little

 

read it yourselfA very simple text that is great for building up pupil’s independent reading skills.

Anything published by Dorling Kindersley will have really wonderful visuals as they pride themselves in that:

first facts

 

For more able pupils this is an excellent resource and is particularly good for guided reading tasks because the layouts are so carefully constructed:

encyclopedia  ency inside

 

worlds weidestI also like these series of books as each page has the same format and is therefore great for focused reading activities. I have used it to inspire the pupil’s own writing as they create their own page for the book after creating a brand new dinosaur.

 

 

 

3 books

These texts also go down really well as they are readable with great illustrations!

 

 

 

 

 

image table

All these information texts can then be used to create a simple non-chronological page using this to help them gather their information:

how to grow a dinosaurMore quirky texts will give the children the opportunity to use their literacy skills to write fun instructions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

book4 Picture1

An action rhyme poetry book that is ideal for foundation and Year 1.
The children read the poems and become the different sorts of dinosaur, collecting the language. They then make their own dinosaurs and create their own poems using a similar structure:

dino plastercine

Munchy, munchy, munchy

I’m feeling really munchy.

I’ll lick my lips and crunch a lot,

To show you all I’m munchy.

 

dino poemsFor more variety of poetry you could use John Foster’s anthology, imaginatively illustrated by Korky Paul.

I’ve also used some of these poems for performance:

 

 

 

 

Mr M@athole also told me about a great song that could be used, it’s a catchy one about being a palaeontologist:
They might be Giants – I am a Paleontologist with Danny Weinkauf

 

arts and craftsThis text will also give you lots of ideas about how to use art and D.T. to help develop cross curricular literacy skills.

 

 

 

 

 

dino face@LesOfMoore

Just get them looking art drawings/paintings for a bit of inspiration!

Finally, share everything that they produce!

display

You can purchase all of the books used in the blog from the Book Centre or on our website. 

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