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A Teacher's Guide


Birds

Discussion

Begin your study of Birds by Nicola Davies with a discussion of what the children know about birds. Questions can include the following:
  • What birds do you see near the school?
  • What do baby birds hatch from?
  • Where do birds build their homes?
  • How are birds different from other animals?
As the children give their answers, start creating a KWL chart to keep track of the many things they know and would like to know about birds. As the class reads the book, refer back to the KWL chart and add new things they learn.

Sample KWL Chart:

Birds
What we know about animal homes
What we would like to learn about animal homes
What we learned about animal homes
Birds hatch from eggs.

How are birds different from other animals?

Birds have feathers and hollow bones.


    Standards:
    Language Arts:
    • Generates questions about topics of interest.
    • Uses a variety of sources to gather information.
    • Makes contributions in class and group discussions.
    • Relates new information to prior knowledge and experience.
Vocabulary

Highlighted vocabulary words can be found at the bottom of the pages in the book. Here are additional words from the text that you should focus on:

scaly (page 6)
talons (page 8)
mate (page 24)
bobbing (page 25)
yolk (page 28)
sac (page 28)
fluffy down (page 30)
owlet (page 30)
hatchlings (page 30)
signal (page 40)

These words are not mentioned in the text, but you might find them useful:
    ornithology
    ornithologist
    raptors
    species
Our suggestions on how to use these words effectively are found on page 2 of the guide.

    Standards:
    Language Arts/Reading:
    • Uses word reference materials to determine the meaning and pronunciation of unknown words.
    • Uses a variety of context clues to decode unknown words.

Science and Language Arts/Listening Skills

Birds communicate by making chirping sounds. These sounds are particular to their species. They make different sounds based on the situation they are in. For example, there is a sound to call another during the mating season, and there is a sound to warn others of danger. Have the children practice their listening skills and learn how birds can communicate with each other.

Materials:
  • 16 16-ounce plastic soda bottles (the bottles must be the same size)
  • Water
  • Construction paper
Procedure:
  • Separate the bottles into eight pairs.

  • Fill both bottles in the first pair with the same amount of water.

  • Do the same for the other pairs.

  • Make sure that the water level in each pair is different from that in the other pairs.

  • Show the children how to blow over the top of the bottles to make a sound.

  • Have them practice listening to the sounds made from each pair of bottles.

  • Cover the bottles with construction paper so that the levels of water are hidden.

  • Scramble the bottles.

Have the children blow over the bottles and try to match up the original pairs by listening to the sounds made.

    Standards:
    Science:
    • Understands the nature of scientific inquiry.
    • Knows that learning can come from careful observation and simple experiments.
    • Knows that sound is produced by vibrating objects.

    Language Arts/Listening:
    • Listens and responds to a variety of media.

Language Arts and Art

Have the students in your class become bird watchers. Assign each child a bird mentioned in the text. Have each child describe in detail his or her bird (color, size, beak shape, foot shape, etc.). Each child should decide which characteristic of his or her bird is most outstanding. For example, for the blue-footed booby, it could be its webbed blue feet, or for the toucan it could be its long bright bill. Visit the library or use the Internet to find out more about each bird (habitat, food, etc.).

Enter the information on the worksheet on the following page, along with a drawing of the bird. Draw an arrow to the most important characteristic. Gather the worksheets and bind them into a Class Bird Identification Book.

Birds in your town:
Encourage the children and their parents to make the bird feeders on pages 44 and 45. When a bird comes to the feeder, the child should quietly observe it and write down a description of it on a Bird Identification Sheet. Add the birds seen in your town to the class's Bird Identification Book.

    Standards:
    Visual Arts:
    • Uses visual structures and functions of art to communicate ideas.
    • Knows the different kinds of media, techniques, and processes that are used to create works of art.

    Language Arts/Writing:
    • Uses a variety of sources to gather information.
    • Summarizes information in the student's own words.
Activity Sheet

Bird Identifcation Worksheet

Draw a picture of your bird.

 
 
 
 




Name of Bird:

Characteristics:
    Size: ________________________________________

    Color:________________________________________

    Shape of beak:_________________________________

    Shape of foot:_________________________________

    Habitat:_______________________________________

    Food (diet):___________________________________

Bird observed by: _________________________________







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