Thursday, October 10, 2013

Owl Lessons

This week we continued our theme of nocturnal animals. The boys have loved every minute of the lessons and I find myself constantly surprised by the amount of academic vocabulary they are using during our conversations! I love hearing the kids talk about how owls are predators and the prey of the snowy owls are lemmings in the arctic.

When we were writing a graphic organizer I was happily surprised by one of the kids who was ignoring my modeling of answers and creating his own ideas. They were exactly correct and he was on a mission to do the assignment on his own. Normally a teacher would be mad at a kid not following directions. Instead I was proud of how hard this struggling reader was working to generate ideas and then spell the words on his own!

We finished watching The Magic of the Snowy Owl on Monday. My kids really loved the movie and even asked me to send the link home to their parents. It's a PBS documentary, but it's not targeted for kids. You may want to watch the video to determine if it's appropriate for the type of kids in your class.

More specifically, this documentary shows what can happen to the runt of the litter. I explained this to my students by telling them that most sets of animals born in groups have a "runt" who is not as big or strong as the others. Sadly, in this movie the runt dies when there is not enough food for the whole family to survive. I skipped over this part because I didn't want the kids to be any more upset than necessary. They know the bird died, but I skipped over minutes 28-30 and started it at minute 31:03. I'm all for science, but not scarring kids for life!

Then we made paper owls using this template. I made an enlarged copy of it, then cut it and traced it onto old file folders as tracing templates for the kids. They all got to pick their colors to decide if they wanted snowy male (all white), female (white and brown), or another combination of realistic owl colors. They turned out pretty cute! Take a peek! Yes, I'm well aware that a few seem to have turned into Angry Birds! Haha!

I've also created some owl clip art for my lessons to make some of PowerPoint and worksheet activities a little more detailed. You can pick it up here in my TPT store.

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