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Watch the Birdie

Subject: Language Arts
Grade: K-2, 3-5, 6-8

Brief Description

In this unit, designed as a six-week program for fifth and sixth graders, students develop language arts skills while studying North American birds.


Students develop such skills as reading, writing, listening, and thinking while learning about birds of North America.


vocabulary, listening skills, memorization, charts, reading, researching, following directions, compare and contrast, birds, animals

Materials Needed

  • reference books about birds; some suggested titles:
    My Recipes Are for the Birds, by Irene Cosgrove; Birds, Birds, Birds (Ranger Rick's Nature Scope), by National Wildlife Federation; National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, by Jon L. Dunn; Peterson First Guides: Birds, by Roger Tory Peterson
  • Web sites about birds; some suggested sites:
    Ranger Rick's Kid Zone (search for "birds of North America"), ZOOM Birds, Yahooligans! Downloader, WatchList 4 Kids, Audubon Adventures Online Gallery
  • a live bird (optional) (Teacher's note: We use Tweety, a pet canary.)
  • see each activity in the Lesson Plan for other materials

Lesson Plan

  • Library: Place several books about birds on tables throughout the classroom. Ask students to skim/scan for interesting facts about birds. Write the facts on chart paper. Add facts as students find them. Have students read the fact sheet aloud and copy the facts into their student notebooks.
  • Speaker: Invite a speaker from a local nature center to visit the class to talk about characteristics and identification of birds.
  • Art: Provide students with an outline of a bird and ask them to label and color it. Have students create original bird drawings or make bird drawings from heart shapes.
  • Vocabulary: Create a dictionary of such terms as preen, habitat, nest, beak, habitat, niche, nest, and so on.
  • Reading: Have students study field guides for birds and create a chart identifying different habitats, foods, features, and so on.
  • Games: Create a Concentration game, and have students match birds with their habitats, birds of the same species, birds with similar features, and so on. Play Pin the Body Part on the Bird.
  • Writing: Have students write and illustrate reports about their favorite birds.
  • Math: Help students read and follow recipes to make bird food.
  • Observation: Hang containers of food outside and observe the birds that eat from them. Observe the live classroom bird.
  • Listening: Provide tapes of bird songs and sounds.
  • Memorization: Have students memorize poems about birds.
  • Reading: Read aloud or have students read Honkers, by Jane Yolen, a fictional story. Discuss the theme.


Teacher comments: I evaluated student learning using quizzes and daily and weekly assessment sheets. I also evaluated students on their attitude toward the assignment, as well as their ability to stay on task, participate in class discussions, answer questions correctly, listen well and follow directions, comprehend the material, and complete the assignments.

Lesson Plan Source

Submitted By

Mary Carter ([email protected]), East Middle School, Youngstown, Ohio

As our highlighted lesson, the submitter was awarded a $50 honorarium. See our guidelines to submit yours!

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