- Study examples of raptors.
- Ask and answer questions.
- Identify attributes shared by raptors.
- Practice key vocabulary words.
- Teacher Selected List of Key Words
- Photos of owls and other raptors. See Booklist.
- Film clips of raptors
- Chart paper, sentence strips, and markers
- Butcher paper for Word Bank
Set Up and Prepare
- Set up an area in your room as a resource library about raptors.
- Bookmark Web sites you will use with students.
- Select words to teach. Be flexible and ready to include words the students generate.
- Write words on sentence strips and set aside.
- Set up butcher paper for word bank and chart paper for characteristics.
- Key Words for Teaching Owls and Raptors
(Think of this list as a reference and select the words that are appropriate for your class.)
binocular vision, carnivore, diurnal, eagle, species, facial disk, falcon, fledge, fledging, food chain, gizzard, habitat, incubate, kestrel, life cycle, migrate, nocturnal, osprey, owl, owlet, owl pellet, predator, prey, raptor, regurgitate, species, talons, territory, vulture
As I teach this lesson I’m prepared but open to the thoughts and questions of students, encouraging them to help structure the lesson. I follow their interests within the framework of the topic. Meanwhile I’m thinking about concepts, (structure and function, adaptations, habitat, life cycle, food chain, etc.) that I want students to understand. They will discover these big ideas through observing, thinking, talking, and writing.
Step 1: Show photos of raptors and ask students
- What do you notice?
- What do you wonder about these birds?
- What do the birds have in common?
- What words will help us as we think and write about birds?
- What would you like to find out?
Step 2: Have students come up and write vocabulary words on butcher paper.
Step 3: Make a list of characteristics on chart paper. Save and continue adding to the list over the next few weeks.
Day 2 (and throughout the unit)
Step 4: Review the words. Here are a few suggestions:
- Snap, clap, stomp – Students stand and snap fingers, clap, or stomp feet as they spell new words.
- Jumping Jacks – Students jump to the letters in the key words.
- Guessing Game – “I’m thinking of a word that starts with T and means claws. What’s my word?”
- Word Lotto – Improvised, teacher-made game that involves reading and identifying words.
- Crossword Puzzle
- Word Search
- Letter Scramble
- Cloze Activity
Supporting All Learners
Set aside a few minutes during reading groups to reinforce vocabulary. This is repetitive but some students need extra practice. Continue to refer to the word bank and encourage students to use new words in their writing.
Can you create a raptor?
Students use the raptor attributes to create an original raptor.
Can you add to our list of key words?
Students add to the word bank. Students generate lists of words from their reading about raptors and determine their meanings using context or dictionaries. Then they record these words on the class word bank.
Whether you live in a city, suburb, or rural area, there are birds in your area. Ask parents to help children learn about local birds. They can listen for calls and record them, draw pictures or take photos of birds, and bring their findings to school to share with classmates.
In thinking about your teaching ask yourself:
- practice vocabulary words for students who are visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners?
- elicit higher level thinking?
- allow enough time for practice?
- keep in mind concepts I want students to understand?
- assist students in finding answers to their questions?
- Help students sum up what they learned?
Here’s what I’m looking for:
- using key words orally and in writing?
- asking questions that show higher level thinking?
- drawing conclusions based on their new knowledge?
- engaging one another in conversation about raptors?
- researching the topic on their own?
Wait several weeks to formally assess students so they have opportunities to practice the words. Assess by giving a writing prompt in which you ask students to use several words from the word bank. Ask students to draw and label a raptor.