My son is fascinated with animals. It seems every time I turn around he is asking more questions about a new animal he is interested in. This time of year the questions always seem to revolve around nocturnal animals, which is perfect timing because we are joining the Second Grade Team as a way to showcase simple and easy learning ideas for children working at a second grade level. Today we are sharing learning ideas and activities about nocturnal animals.
As I mentioned we have been learning a lot about animals lately, from sea turtles to nocturnal animals. What better way to learn about nocturnal animals, than to use some of the words from the books and practice handwriting in a hands-on, tactile way?
Building Background Knowledge on Nocturnal Animals
One of the easiest ways to build background knowledge for children on a subject is to visit a local library and pick up some books on the current topic. This week, we grabbed three simple books on Nocturnal Animals. We looked for books that were both engaging and challenging for reading material. Here are our picks:
Scholastic Reader Level 2: Night Creatures | Easy to read text about several night creatures. Written in simple poems that kids will love to read and be engaged in.
Nocturnal Animals | Fantastic non-fiction text that has easy bold print, simple text, and bold vocabulary words. While this book could be a tad difficult for some second graders, it is a great book for building background knowledge and introducing new vocabulary.
100 Things You Should Know About Nocturnal Animals | In-depth look at nocturnal animals, their habits, and characteristics. Perfect for broadening understanding and for answering many of the “why” questions students might ask during research.
Nocturnal Animals Word List
In my years as a first grade teacher, I rarely used set spelling lists. Now that I homeschool, we tend to follow the same trend at home. Each week we work with a word sort from Words Their Way to help us identify and understand word patterns. However, when we are deep in a study, we also pull out words and play with them. We work on the meaning, we play with their phonemes, and we look for patterns that will help us understand more about the words we read in our books.
This list is a list of words we found. I truly believe in making your own list and having your child (or children) help you with the list. Each child in your class (0r in your homeschool) will have different needs and be on different learning levels. However, it is great to have a starting point. Here are the words we found that stood out to us:
Creating a Sand Tray for Writing Thematic Words
Setting up your sand tray is simple! All you need is some sand (we used blue because it reminded us of the sky), a shallow tray (we used a recycled Melissa & Doug tray) and a few night creatures (we had spiders on hand, but used bats when we didn’t have the camera handy).
Simply fill your tray with sand until the bottom of the tray is covered. Add a few decorative and festive creatures and place this on a table near your words. Children can use the whole page of words the way it is, or they can cut apart the words and use them that way. There are so many ways to use sand trays.
It is that simple! Write the words, shake the tray to erase and start over! My boys love working on their words in the word trays and they wouldn’t have it any other way!
Be sure to check out all of the great Nocturnal Animal Posts from the 2nd Grade Blogging Team!
Bat Science Experiments: Echolocation Activities from Preschool Powol Packets
Nocturnal and Diurnal Animals Sorting Activity from Look! We’re Learning!
Creating Growing Patterns with Nocturnal Animals from Life Over C’s
Nocturnal Animal Report: Hedgehogs from Crafty Kids at Home
Bats in a Cave Sight Word Game from Creative Family Fun