5 Super Tips for Teaching a Nocturnal Animals Unit

Whether you already teach about Nocturnal Animals or you’re just thinking about covering it this year, I’m here to save you some planning & prep time on a unit your kids will love!! In this one post, you’ll find tons of creative ideas and resources for an awesome & engaging unit!



Whether
you already teach about Nocturnal Animals or you’re just thinking about covering
it this year, I’m here to save you some planning & prep time on a unit your
kids will love!! In this one post, you’ll find tons of creative ideas and
resources for an awesome & engaging unit! (PS. Be sure to pin it so you can
find it later & share with your teacher-friends!)

Whether you already teach about Nocturnal Animals or you’re just thinking about covering it this year, I’m here to save you some planning & prep time on a unit your kids will love!! In this one post, you’ll find tons of creative ideas and resources for an awesome & engaging unit!

Let’s
face it…kids love learning about animals! It’s something they are naturally
curious about…so, any time we can take their excitement for animals and use it
to incorporate learning about science, geography, (and improve their reading
skills!), it’s a big win-win! Another benefit to our students when it comes to
learning about animals is that they will further develop a deeper sense of
empathy and compassion, which of course, has infinite benefits, both for the
classroom and for life itself.

 Reading stories aloud to our students provides so many benefits
that they need to improve their own reading skills:

•  
models
fluency

•  
encourages
high levels of understanding

•  
develops
an understanding of story structures

•  
builds
vocabulary

•  
develops
connections between print elements and genres

Here
are a few read-aloud stories that fit just perfectly for
this topic…

Great as an
introductory book for this unit! This beautifully illustrated book will capture
your students’ interest right from page one! It contains many gorgeous pictures
and lots of intriguing facts about nocturnal animals—many of which you may not
have realized were ‘night animals’!

Breath-taking photographs bring the story of the South-American
tree frog’s nighttime activities to life! Your students will be enthralled as
they follow the ‘adorable’ tree frog through the night–as he searches for
dinner and tries his best to avoid the dangers that lurk nearby!

A
classic story from children’s perennial favorite Roald Dahl!  (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and
the Giant Peach) Follow Mr. Fox on his nighttime adventures and learn what he
(and other foxes) do what they do best—sneak around at night! A fun narrative
that will capture your students’ attention as they learn about Mr. Fox’s
nocturnal escapades!

    Beautiful
illustrations bring the story of bat and her baby to life. Follow her through
the night as she looks for food—all the while the author delicately weaves in
lots of scientific facts. It’s an endearing narrative about a nocturnal
creature that your students will find appealing and interesting.

A
sweet tale about Stellaluna (a baby bat) and what happens when she becomes
separated from her mother. With beautiful illustrations, this is an incredibly
touching story that teaches children about the importance of differences and
similarities!

Want
to improve the effectiveness of your read aloud time? Interactive read-alouds
increase student engagement, increase students’ understanding of the text, and provide
the opportunity to model comprehension strategies, teach literacy concepts, &
build vocabulary. 

This fabulous Stellaluna
companion resource
includes a complete, easy-to-follow interactive read aloud
lesson for the book. For a Balanced Literacy approach, a graphic organizer and
writing prompt are also included in the

download
to allow students the opportunity to respond to the text.

Text-based Evidence: Asking
our students to locate text-based evidence helps a great deal with their comprehension
too. Here’s a helpful non-fiction resource on those
nighttime loving owls!

These Nocturnal Animals Fluency Strips are the perfect addition for literacy centers.  

Well,
if you can’t see yourself taking on the commitment of a permanent class pet,
get a temporary one! Borrow a student-friendly nocturnal animal for the time
period (days/weeks?) that you’re teaching the unit on nocturnal animals!  (Perhaps you can borrow one from a student,
another teacher, a pet store?) Consider having your reluctant readers practice
reading to the pet! Here are some ideas for classroom-friendly nocturnal pets:

A sugar glider

A hamster

A guinea pig

A leopard gecko

A rat

Or…Eek! A mouse!

Not quite ready for a class pet?  You can have your students research a nocturnal pet they would most like to have.  Then, the students can write a persuasive letter to their parents trying to convince them to get one.  

Who doesn’t LOVE
hands-on learning?!  
Here are a few of my favorite Pinterest finds to add an element of fun to our study of Nocturnal Animals. 

Make
Bats with Pasta!

Click on Image to View Original Pin

Raccoons! I love this hand print raccoon.  It makes a cute addition to a bulletin board displaying the students’ learning from the unit.  

Click on Image to View Original Pin

This owl was originally made with felt, but my students were able to make it with construction paper.  

Click on Image to View Original Pin

Sing
along to ‘The Owl Song’

 

Owl Babies Animated Picture Book

Nighttime Animals Part 1

Nighttime Animals Part 2

Stellaluna
is read aloud…modeling fluency & expression

Looking for ideas for an end of the unit celebration?  Plan for a day of fun with a “night-time camping” theme.  Have a ‘Reading-Reward Tent’ set up for the duration of the unit. Those who exhibit the expectations that you set in advance are allowed to read in the tent! 

Make some Trail Mix (nut-free of course!), the kids can snack on it as they read about adventures in the woods! 

Bring a few flashlights to your classroom to double the fun!  My kids loved mini brain-breaks to make shadow puppets.

Have
some classroom video stars (hams!)? Make videos of students explaining about
nocturnal animals to display on Parent-Teacher and/or Student-led conference
days!

Free Nocturnal Animal Graphic Organizer!  The perfect addition to any study of nocturnal animals.

Use this FREE Graphic Organizer to help student plan their research on one of the nocturnal animals studied.  

Whether you already teach about Nocturnal Animals or you’re just thinking about covering it this year, I’m here to save you some planning & prep time on a unit your kids will love!! In this one post, you’ll find tons of creative ideas and resources for an awesome & engaging unit!

I
hope you’ve found this information useful in planning your upcoming unit on
Nocturnal Animals! Feel free to comment below with any other ideas you have to
share! 

Also, so you’ll always have access to this info, please pin this post to
save and share! 

Whether you already teach about Nocturnal Animals or you’re just thinking about covering it this year, I’m here to save you some planning & prep time on a unit your kids will love!! In this one post, you’ll find tons of creative ideas and resources for an awesome & engaging unit!

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