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Bird nests

Kids love finding things in nature.  One of my students found a birds nest, that had fallen out of a tree, and brought it to share with the class.  I planned a lesson around her discovery.  Before the lesson, the kids and I went to the playground to gather natural materials, such as grass, leaves, twigs, as well as non-natural items like string, plastic, fabric. We read a non-fiction book, A Nest Full of Eggs, about birds and their nests.  Then we discussed what a bird uses to build it’s nest.  For the activity, The students used their found items to build a bird nest.  I encouraged them to only use their thumb and pointer finger to mimic the bird’s beak (also, this movement strengthens their fine motor muscles).  I would have loved to use natural eggshells but the kids seemed to enjoy the brightly colored plastic eggs.  Here are the finished products…ImageImage


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Ankylosaurus pillow…sorry for the out of order posts

During our dinosaur unit we made a ankylosaurus pillow.  I free hand drew, on an old sheet, the outline of the dinosaur.  Then I stitched it together. (Next time I will make this a multi-day activity and have the children help assemble the dinosaur, or make smaller versions so every child can have one).  We read the book Dazzle the Dinosaur, as a comparison to our nonfiction books about dinosaurs, and we discussed that this book was a fiction book because real dinosaurs do not have sparkly skin (as far as we know).   We stuffed it full of shredded paper, then the kids painted and bedazzled it with sequins and glitter.  Image

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Rocky Mountain Railroad

During our Rocky Mountain unit, I decided to have a lesson about the railroad.  It was an important element in Colorado history.

We began our lesson by reading The Rocky Mountain Railroad and the Runaway Caboose by Glenn Brooks.


After reading the book, students had 4 centers available to choose from:

1.  Board game I made based on the vocab in the book.


2. Train Building from recycles materials-100% student run.  I did not make any suggestions on what elements to include or how to create the pieces.

So sophisticated!!  by 1st grade boys


Engines with smoke stakes, whistles, and tender carts.  by 2nd grade girl (left) and 1st grade girl (right)


by 1st grade boyImage

Diner cars. by 1st grade girls

Equipped with tables, dinnerware, food and a rug.


Chair for her princess and a fancy cake.



The diagram, which came from the back pages of the book, was copied it onto 11×17 paper so the words were easily read.



I do not have pictures of the matching game but basically I took pictures from the text and had the children match them with the word and definition.  This proved to be pretty challenging, so in the future I would create a memory game of very simple pictures with the key words below.

This lesson was very fun and engaging.  It had many elements to cater to different learning styles and the student had a blast!

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