Dinosaur Extinction Explained using Schematic Story Maps

When it comes to helping Year 1 recount what they have learned during their term topic on dinosaurs, the class teaching team at Wroxton Primary School utilise a simple technique that helps “map out” facts into a straight forward story for the children.

Being able to demonstrate evidence of learning at the end of a term topic is extremely important.  It is essential that the teaching team with the support of their learning support providers and teaching assistants can monitor the progress made by pupils.  At Everything Dinosaur, we recommend using the KWL technique to help plan and record the achievement of various learning objectives, however, there are a number of different techniques and methodologies available to teachers.

The KWL technique involves working with the class at the start of the topic to establish what the children know, what they would like to learn and this provides the foundation for the scheme of work and permits that all important recall and checking of learning once the topic has been concluded.

A Typical KWL Chart Prepared for a Dinosaur Teaching Topic

A chart to help kick-start a teaching topic about dinosaurs.

A chart to help kick-start a teaching topic about dinosaurs.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Essentially, KWL permits the following:

K= Know (test what the children known, brainstorming/discussion activities) log results

W = What (during the first stage questions will be raised, ideas to be tested proposed, these can form the basis of the teaching work)

L = Learn (the recounting stage or the recall stage, review at the end of the term topic what the children have learned (check learning, summarise learning)

During a school visit to a primary school in Oxfordshire, one of Everything Dinosaur’s dinosaur experts came across some excellent examples of story maps being used to help create visual cues to stimulate learning and recall for use in creative writing activities.  Our expert saw several examples of such “story boarding” maps, one covering the extinction of the dinosaurs, another telling the story of Mary Anning (1799-1847).

Visual Story Map for use in Year 1

Visual cues to help young children recall facts about dinosaurs.

Visual cues to help young children recall facts about dinosaurs.

Picture Credit: Wroxton Primary School

A level of knowledge regarding possible causes of the extinction of the dinosaurs was clearly demonstrated by the Year 1 pupils who were eager to explain all about an object from outer space crashing into the Earth and what happened to the dinosaurs as a result.  This was a most impressive demonstration of learning using a technique which would appeal to those children who prefer a visual learning style.

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