OK, so this is where I get to brag a bit! I have been so lucky to have the most amazing student teachers over the last years. One of them received a job teaching second grade on my team this year and one of the others was hired to cover my maternity leave. While I have been taking care of a cute little baby during my maternity leave, it looks like they have been busy playing with some cute little chickens and keeping the students engaged.
Cameron and Joel began their project by brainstorming with the kids about what they already knew about chickens. Because we have chickens at our school (yes, real, grown, egg-laying chickens) the students had a great deal of knowledge about chickens. As a result, they decided to expand their project to include other birds. They felt that this would be a way to give students practice with comparing and contrasting. As a part of this project, each classroom had chicken eggs that they would watch over in the incubator until hatching and then would care for until being released in the school courtyard.
Throughout the project, students recorded their observations in their bird journal. I LOVE that the guys named it a Bournal. Too cute! You can download your own bird journal here: Bournal. (Just in case you aren’t as excited about the name bournal as I am, we have added a second title page with the boring name of bird journal.) If you need to make some changes, here is the word document: Bournal Word File.
Some of the activities included in this project were bird watching, observing the Eagle Cam and Falcon Cam, and reading books. Students also made clay models of different birds. This is a great hands-on way for students to share their knowledge. If you use clay, make sure to do a quick check where students are asked to identify different parts of the birds they construct. Also, one class researched owls while the other researched woodpeckers. At the end of the study, the classes created ways to share what they had learned with the other class. They integrated more art by making mosaics of the bird their class was researching.