I absolutely LOVE this book!! “How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You?” is such a fun book unit for the week of Valentine’s Day! It’s great for starting discussions about how people show love to each other, and it’s a great companion to a kindness unit (which we are also doing this week). And, it’s actually a GOOD book, which a lot of the Valentine’s Day books out there simply are not. I’ve got a stack of them in my room, and I’m just not a huge fan of many of them. But, this book is one of my faves! (Click on the cover to get a copy!)
EVERYTHING in our classroom this week connects to this book! Here are a few of the things we are doing with it…
Sharing the Story
I read this book to my kiddos every day. (Yes, you read that right! We read it every day!) Each day we focus on a different comprehension skill, and each day we go a little deeper into the story. This accomplishes a couple of things. First, by the end of the week, my kiddos KNOW the story, and they can “read” the book independently. Second, the text becomes more and more familiar as we go through the week, so we can use it to work on skills that just can’t be accomplished after a single reading. And third, they learn the joy of reading a book more than once. They get to see how you notice things and learn things each time you read. And, the desire to read a text multiple times is really important as they get older! (I plant those seeds any way I can!) Here is what we do with the book throughout the week:
- Day 1: We make lots of predictions as we read. We notice the pattern of the story (two bad choices followed by one good choice). We notice the different ways the dinosaurs show their parents that they love them, and we predict how they might show love next.
- Day 2: We answer questions about the text. We notice details in the pictures. We talk about how the characters are feeling and why. We make connections to our own lives by talking about things in the book that we have also experienced.
- Day 3: We focus on vocabulary. By now, we’ve heard the story enough that it is familiar, and we can use the context of the story to help figure out what the words mean. I usually pick three vocabulary words to focus on, and for this story, we use suddenly, tight, and disaster.
- Day 4: We retell the story by creating a story map that includes the characters, setting, and main events in the story.
- Day 5: We describe the ways the dinosaurs in the story show their parents they love them and compare those to the ways we show our parents that we love them.
Circle Time Games
Our circle time games always focus on math and literacy skills, but they can also be played just for the fun of playing the game. Here are the games we do with this unit:
- Dinosaur, Dinosaur, On the Ground: We put cards out on the carpet that have the letters on them. We say our dinosaur chant and take turns picking up a card to say the sound of the letter.
- Hot Potato: We play music and pass a glittery heart around the circle. When the music stops, the kiddo holding it looks at one of the dinosaur rhyming cards and says another word that rhymes with the two pictures on the card.
- Snap!: We have a basket that has craft sticks in it. Each craft stick has either a heart or a dinosaur glued to the end of it. The hearts have letters on them and the dinosaurs say “Snap!” We take turns picking a stick out of the can (they are in the can with the hearts/dinosaurs down). If we get a heart, we name the letter and say its sound. If we get a dinosaur, everyone has to put their sticks back in the can.
- Dinosaur, Dinosaur, Where’s Your Heart?: This is a dino version of Doggie, Doggie, Where’s Your Bone? We use heart cards that have beginning sound pictures on them. Each time we use a different card. One kiddo is the dinosaur. She leaves the carpet and hides her eyes. Another kiddo gets one of the heart cards and hides it in his lap or behind his back. The “dinosaur” comes back, and we say the chant. The “dinosaur” gets three guesses to try to figure out who has the heart.
- Feed the Dinosaur: We have a box that is made to look like a dinosaur with his mouth open. We have cards that have hearts on them and different pictures. We take turns choosing a card that starts with the L sound (L for love) and feeding it to the dinosaur. He only wants to eat things that start with L!
For the full details and all the printables of the circle time activities, hop on over to my Teachers Pay Teachers Store to grab a copy!
Our writing activities all relate to the book too! We do a combination of shared writing, interactive writing, and independent writing. Here’s what our writing lessons look like:
- Things that are red: We do a shared writing activity where we make a bubble map of red things. The we do independent writing and make a list of things that are red.
- People I Love: We get to be authors and write books about people we love. You can get a FREE copy of the printable for this book by clicking HERE!
- I Show Love When I: We do an interactive writing activity where we each tell how we show our parents that we love them. I write the sentences on a large chart and we use those sentences for a craft we do later in the week. (We spread this out over two days. Sitting still long enough to do every kiddo in the class just isn’t realistic!)
- Dinosaur Story: We work together in a shared writing format to write a story about a dinosaur. Then we each write our own dinosaur stories.
- Valentine Messages: We write Valentine messages for people we love.
Don’t forget to go check out part 2 of this fun unit! How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You? Part 2 has math, poems, art, and more writing activities to go with this book! Enjoy!
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