RSPB: My First Book of Garden Birds-Identifying and naming animals

My First Book of Garden Birds is a non-fiction text it can be enjoyed in a similar way to a story.  That is because each bird is presented with some descriptive clues, a picture which only shows part of the bird and an invitation to guess which bird is being described.  The page is then turned to reveal the bird's name, a full picture and a further description.  This book could certainly spark a life-long interest in bird watching.  It would also help to meet the objective to ​identify and name a variety of common  birds.  

Other non-fiction books which might support children to name and recognise fish, amphibians, birds, mammals (and invertebrates) include the Nature Detectives Series (published by Wayland) including British Mammals, British Birds and British insects.  These are clearly illustrated with photographs which makes identification of the animals relatively straightforward.

Another useful resource are the Usborne spotter’s cards ‘100 Things to spot in your garden’.  These are especially useful as the cards can rearraanged and used for sorting activities and to support children to work scientifically by 'grouping and classifying'.   

All Kinds of Nests by Eun-Gyu Choi is another book which children may enjoy. It looks at how birds make different kinds of nests depending on where and how they live, providing a lovely way to find out about different birds.

Links and Resources

Bamboo Stick Den

This simple den is made from 25 bamboo canes, 50 paper clips, some masking tape and some string.  Once made it could be covered with some suitable fabric and would make an excellent bird hide.  It would be large enough to fit a child sized table and some chairs inside so that children could sit at their table, look out with some binoculars and then draw and write about the birds that they see.

If it is placed near a bird feeder children may see a wide range of birds over the course of ten minutes.  If several children make a record of what is seen the results could be used as the basis of maths lessons.

Children could work scientifically by observing  a selection of bird feeders with different foods in them.  They could then be encouraged to compare the types and numbers of birds that visit different food sources.

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Big Schools' Birdwatch Survey

These sheets can be used to record what birds are seen while watching the birds on a bird feeder.  They are designed to be used for the Big School Bird Watch which is held each January  http://bit.ly/2hpIvaM  .  However, they could be used at any time of year.

publication year
2010 to date

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Bird Watching in Schools

This teachers TV clip shows KS1 children taking part in the Big Schools Birdwatch survey.  It gives lots of ideas about how this can be managed in school, even if they do not have access to a playing field.  It shows how children can be supported to learn the names of the birds which live in their locality.

It also suggests ways of linking this activity to other areas of the curriculum such as DT (making masks and bird cake) and English (poetry writing).

publication year
2000 - 2009

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Birds’ Nests

This book could be projected onto the Interactive White Board for shared reading with the children and would help to make links between English and a topic on birds.  It will help children to recognise and name some common birds.  Also to realise that different birds buid different types of next in different places.

publication year
1980 - 1989

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Education Pack: Minibeasts - Invertebrate Survey

Children need to be able to identify more than one type of animal in their local environment.  This resource gives support to teachers and children to find and identfy invertebrates.

Children could work together to make a book based upon the minibeasts that they find  which is written in the style of the RSPB bird book. It could be called 'My first book of Garden Mini-beasts' and have a page of identifying clues followed by the name, a more detailed illustration and more information about the creature.  It could be illustrated with a mixture of photographs taken by the children and their drawings.

publication year
2010 to date

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Specimen Record Sheet

Children are more likely to be motivated to record what they see if you give them interesting ways to do so.  There are some suggestions for ways of recording in the ideas to make an outside exploration pack (above).  However, you may also find these 'Specimen Record Cards' a useful way for children to make a record of what they see.  They could also be placed in the observation hide (described above), for children to write about the birds that they see.

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