A Walk in the Dessert and Owl Activities

HERE at Teacherspayteachers Brian Sweeney made up a FREE POWERPOINT to use as an introduction to wildlife of the desert. I LOVED it and so did the kids. Thanks Brian!

We learned about the animals of the desert and we all wrote OWL reports. Did you know small owls live in Saguaro Cactus of the desert?

An Owl Crossword Puzzle we found on the back of the Scholastic News!

Scholastic News about Owls I’d saved over the years. It fit perfectly in with what we were learning!

I had about  6 books to read to the kids for the week. I usually do it after recess because that is right at our science and social studies time so it works well.  Here are the text sets that I have purchased.

A Walk in the Desert

Desert Giant: The World of the Saguaro Cactus by Barbara Bash

Owl Babies by Martin Waddell
Owls by Gail Gibbons
White Owl, Barn Owl by Michael Foreman
Owl Moon by Cynthia Rylant
Cactus Hotel by Brenda Z. Guiberson  

HERE at Homeschoolshare  I found a DARLING OWL CARD SET  that you could do some OWL Themed math games with. We chose to do a OWLS MAKE A DOUBLE. Kids would ask for numbers from each other like OLD MAID but they then had to add the total out loud and the other 3 players check their doubles adding.

Card games are always a fun way to practice math facts.

Owl math card game

I added some triple digit subtraction to this owl worksheet for a math activity.

Cutting out our math games. Each table had a different color of cards so it would be easy to organize. Everybody put their initials on the backs of their own cards for easy cleanup.  It is now a fast finisher math game.

 If you give each child a sheet of owls on cardstock and they cut them out, you should have 36 in each group of 4 kids and that is enough to play the game. We also played MAKE A 12 or more. Cards are layed down with owl numbers showing. When it is your turn you call out a number above 12 and then use 2 to 3 cards to collect that sum.

We had fun playing addition math games with our OWL MATH CARDS

Here at 2nd Grade Rocks were some fun activities to do with vocabulary with our Reading Streets Story A WALK IN THE DESSERT. I remember at first I just loved this story, because it teaches kids all about the Sugauro Cactus, which is a giant cactus that grows in the dessert. It also mentions nocturnal animals in the story, and OWLS. I focused on the owls and we did some simple reports.

Bulletin Board for our OWL REPORTS and OWL ART
Owl Reports turned out really great!

Owl reports. Many kids got owl books from the library to get a few research facts from. We read lots of weekly readers too and wrote facts on a giant owl paper.


Here are our finished OWL REPORTS and OWL ART PROJECTS! We used scrapbook paper and construction paper, wiggly eyes too.

2nd grade links .

Compound words class activity that I found at Jan Brett’s website can be found HERE at Jan Brett.com

We found these bird houses at our cabin at Bear Lake a few weeks ago. The hubs took the power washer to them after we were sure the birds were all gone. It looked like a little bird condo! I wonder if they would have kept building on?
Bear Lake Bird Condos for sale….going cheap!

Great Powerpoints can be found here to introduce amazing words vocabulary. We use these words for our weekly vocabulary test.

Amazing Words we used for our Vocabulary Test for A WALK IN THE DESERT.

This video shows how Owls can hear their prey underneath the ground in small burrows. Amazing!

Owl Coloring Page 5
http://www.colormegood.com/colormegoodPDFthumbnails/animals/owl-coloring-pages/owl-coloring-page-05.pdf We used this for our writing paper. I just added dotted lines to it.

Words to songs in the Reading Streets Songbook can be found HERE. We sang songs about the dessert too. It is one of my favorite weeks to study animals of the desert. And all the kids did such a great job on owl reports.

OWL Activities and Art

Who doesn’t love OWLS? We were reading about little desert owls that live inside of a giant Saguaro cactus in our Reading Streets literature story A Walk in the Desert. I thought we could do some little owl reports as our first study in our animal matrix; birds, mammals, reptiles, ocean animals, insects, and amphibians. We will cover all of these by year’s end.

First we did a KWL CHART about the things we already KNOW about owls, the things we WANT TO KNOW about owls. And we are adding things we LEARN little by little. This is a great strategy to develop background knowledge.

I think the important part is the THINGS WE LEARNED section. So I usually put that down in a separate place on a poster shaped like the topic and add to it all unit long. The kids help me!
Here are some of the books and resources I used for this owl unit of study. The kids loved hearing about Owlbert, and Gayle Gibbons book about Owls.
Owls by Gail Gibbons is a great book to start your unit with. It’s only $3.99 at Amazon. 

Owlbert by Nicholas Harris
Owls by Gayle Gibbons
Desert Giant (Saguaro Cactus) by Barbara Bash (This is a good Reading Rainbow video now too)
Owl Moon by Jane Yolen

Little Owl Lost by Chris Haughton

The Barn Owl (Animal Lives) by Sally Tagholm and Bert Kitchen

The Barn Owls
The Barn Owlis only $3.95 at Amazon. It is a totally cute book. 

ARKive – Little owl video – Athene noctua – 00 Really cute Video and some still pictures
 of owls in their habitat. And we read a Weekly Reader on Owls.

I also checked 2 desert animals and owl books out of our school library. After I read the books I put them all at a center with pictures from calendars of birds, stuffed and plastic bird models and anything I pick up that kids would be interested in and put it at the science center.
Owl Reports and Owl Art from Scrapbook papers. 
After reading all about owls during  read aloud, the kids helped me make a giant owl poster with all of the facts they thought were interesting. Then they decorated the cover of their owl research reports (informational text) which is what we will call them. The kids call them Owl Facts, but I had them each give their work a title. We are talking about MAIN IDEA and I find that if I make them think up a title to their work, they start to understand what a main idea is (what the main thing you are writing about, NOT the details).
Cute Quotation from THE BARN OWLS book. 
Here is the Owl Printable that we used for our book cover with the title. Then we READ a shared reading of a Scholastic News I have about OWLS. After that, and the books, and a poster I made, and the Scholastic News reading, we started writing our “SLOPPY COPIES”. I told them to try and use 3 resources to put their non-fiction facts report together. More fun downloadables can be found at Wise Owl Factory.


Fun Owl cookies from graham crackers, marshmallows, chocolate chips, candy corn and vanilla wafers! OWL S’MORES! So cute! 
Then I edited them one by one while they were doing their art and writing. It does get a little crazy if I have more than 3 in a line, so I usually tell the 4th and 5th kids to go finish their art and then bring me their writing. So there isn’t a waste of time.
 I used the owl printable below as a cover for our Owl Fact books. Each child colored theirs and we typed out their titles and we added them to the covers.

Owl Coloring Page 5
Color Me Good  has this great downloadable coloring page.

This was another cute one from Pinterest 

 Then we rewrite the reports after I red-pen edit them. This is very important. I found 6 kids using “there” instead of “their” and so I have my next mini lesson. I also saw very little capitalization at sentence beginning.

Owl Puppet Printable Free Here. I like to glue a poem on the back of all of our puppets we make…. Here is a cute one.
A wise old owl lived in an oak
The more he saw the less he spoke
The less he spoke the more he heard.
Why can’t we all be like that wise old bird?

So you know it helps me give kids one on one spelling and grammar help too. (Remember friend is fri like Friday and then end like the end of the story). Nothing I do as a teacher is more important than my individual conferences with kids.

Lovely Owl Goes Viral (VIDEO)  This is a great video to show the kids too. It is only 2 minutes.
Then after the 2nd writing is done on pretty stationery (an important motivational step) I usually hook final draft writing to a fun art or craft project. These students are gifted so they are motivated toward task completion. And I can compact my curriculum to include more art because of it. So we do 3 completed writing projects a week and several arts or an art and a craft.
Lucy Learns has this cute wordsearch to download.

Owl Art project using scrapbook and construction paper. 
Here is our Owl art. I used cut out “feathers” from scrapbook paper, fabric, peel and stick corderoy, construction paper etc. The kids dotted some of the white and gray feathers with black markers. We used white round stickers for eyes and colored them with yellow markers and added wiggly eyes and a twig for their talons to sit on. The kids designed their own talons and beaks. It was fun to do and pretty easy. They glued finished owls onto blue paper.
Owl Art Project and Writing 
Owl Brainstorm Graphic Organizer. I do this a lot for whole class writing; make the shape of the thing you are writing about and write the facts kids come up with on it in different colors. 
My inspiration was from That Artist Woman where I get a lot of my art inspiration. She has a great tutorial that I used a portion of.  My kids just taped on the twigs. And we used “masks” (banana shapes) for eyes instead of the 3D egg cartons.  I used cardstock for the owl body so the paper feathers could be attached and not wrinkle up with glue. A few other worksheets on owls are here at Boggles World.
The owls turned out cool looking, didn’t they?

Whooooo is in our Classroom?

We just finished our 2nd week of school and we also finished a very cool bulletin board and writing and art project on OWLS! 

I gave the students lots of materials and gave them a “feather” shape to trace…and  several “masks” for owl faces to choose from (Barn owls have heart shaped faces, burrowing owls look more like a mask….

Here is a great introductory video on owls. I like that it has text for the kids to read, great music, and shows the owl in a natural habitat, eating, and flying around. It is a little more than a minute.

Then they added feathers and wiggly eyes…..

This is one of my favorite authors for Science. Gail Gibbons’ books are great for kids…..

This video talks about the great snowy owl who can reside in the Artic cold. It has some great footage and only about 3 minutes. There is great narration that kids will enjoy too.

I got the idea from a cool website called THAT ARTIST WOMAN
She had done a similar owl that we looked at online before starting. Her website is HERE.
She is an art teacher for elementary kids. She is a master….
I collected a bunch of twigs from my front lawn during the last windstorm…
I had some scrapbook papers in plaid, some tan material and we added dots to some of the papers….
Owl Babies video link. This video shows burrowing owls in a tree with 3 babies and a mother. It has no narration, just sounds of nature. It shows the mother hunting at night and eating worms and insects. It is about 3 minutes. 
Ours turned out pretty good too! 

I freehanded an owl on newsprint for a basic pattern for each student. They did all the rest. Some added “talons” for feet. Others drew them with markers. Most added the twigs and a beak.

My kids were creative with their reports on Owls too….

I loved reading them…..

Don’t you love their captions?

This owl was very fuzzy! 

All of them looked so different! 

Some added moons……

Very colorful Owls…..

After reading several books and a weekly reader we wrote facts on a giant owl….

And then students wrote their own 2 page reports on owls.  Did you know there are more than 200 varieties? How about that some live inside cactus? (yeah….I didn’t either!) But I DO think our owls were a HOOT!