That’s not my dinosaur – English for kids.

That’s not my dinosaur!

Usborne has published a series of books called That’s not my … My daughter won That’s not my dinosaur and I have used it for our one-to-one English classes time. There is a lot we can do with it as teachers of English or simply as parents exposing English to kids through reading. I came up with some of the ideas below and tested with my three-year-old girl. She loves it.

If you are in France, you can buy it here.

There they go, the ideas. I adapted my one-to-one moments to possible groups (which I don’t have now, but I followed my previous experiences with kids groups). Hope it works for you. Have fun!

Age : 3 to 6 (select according to your group’s age and pace)

Theme: dinosaurs

Book: That’s not my dinosaur, Usborne edition (or any other book of dinosaur which language you may explore and adapt to class. Just use my ideas as guide)

SWBEST: students will be exposed to new vocabulary (adjectives and nouns) to make description and stimulated to use them in speaking, colouring, sorting activities and in games.

Target vocabulary: dinosaurs’s names; parts of dino’s body – tail, head, teeth, flippers, horns, spines; description adjectives – big, small, soft, rough, slippery, bumpy, and fuzzy.

Recycled vocabulary: big , small, number 1 to 10 and colors.

Time: meetings of one hour.

The Plan

Material: book, colouring papers, crayons, glue, modelling clay, music, some dinosaurs (of any kind and different sizes and material), smart board and internet connection in case you chose the connected activities.

Meeting 1 – name the dinosaurs

I’ll post the others in the following days. They are 6 in total.

Pre-reading: Put the dinosaurs in a  soft bag before coming in. Organize kids in a circle sitting on the floor (if possible). Ask [them to touch your bag and say what you have there. They may not put their hands inside. Let them guess. React to their guesses! After that, you let them put their hands in the bag and guess again. While they touch (one kid after another) ask them if the thing they touch is nice to touch or not. Ask students to close their eyes. Take the Dino out of the bag and put in the middle of the circle. Learners open their eyes. What was in the bag? – you ask. Learners say: a dinosaur. Then you praise those who first guessed, if any. 

Reading: Get the book and bring learners close to you. Tell them they are going to read the book with you. Read the book. Let them follow your fingers while listening to you. Let them touch the book to feel it (it is a touchy-feely book). Then, when you finish it, open the pages and ask them to answer some question about the book.

Post-reading: these questions are supposed to be asked and answered by the teacher together with learners. It is just perfect if any learner is able to answer without any help. But they are being asked to recycle language they already know (like colors, big, small) and to be exposed to language they may not know yet (the target language). So, there is no big problem if they do not say much at this point. Learners answer by pointing or touching or speaking. It is time for teacher to call attention to all details concerning the target language. It’s input time.

We just have to keep in mind that kids do not keep long in the same activity. 5 minutes is already too much.

Example of questions:

  1. Wow. Look at this dinosaur. Is it big? This dinosaur is really big. What color is it? Where is the tail of the dinosaur? 
  2. What color Is this dinosaur? Where’s its mouth? Where are tits teeth?
  3. What color is this dinosaur? Does it have legs? How many?
  4. What color is this dinosaur? Where is its head? What is on its head? 
  5. Does it have horns? How many?
  6. What color is this dinosaur? Does it have spines? What color are the spines? 

Follow-up ( FU)

The follow up activities may vary according to groups pace and age. And it is not a good idea to choose more than one target language group per meeting.

FU 1 – name the dinosaur (names are big and difficult even to us but it is fun having kids trying to say them. I use the first part of their names only to begin. Brachio, Ptero, Stego…

  • PPT to be used/adapted in smartboard: dinosaurs (send me an email and you will get it)
  • Puzzle : dinosaur (get a dino printed image. Cut it and give to kids so they can make the puzzle)
  • Sorting: circle the T-rex dinosaurs only

FU 2

Dancing chairs 

  • 1 – Put the picture of a dinosaur under each chair. Play the song. Stop the song. Kids sit down. Kids get the dino under the desk. They have to say the name of the dino. If they do not know the dino’s name they ask for help and the others try to help. When they have all finally said it the dance continues. The challenge is not the chair, it is to say the names with no help.
  • 2 – Put the dinos under their desk. Play the song. They walk and dance around the chairs. Stop the song. Kids sit. You call a dinosaur. They get the dino under their desk. The one who got the dino you called gets a stick to show he is a dinosaur expert. 

Dancing corners

Put one item related to the target language that was previously taught in different places at your teaching space (classroom, garden, hall, playroom). Put a song. Kids dance. Stop the song. You say: I see a T-rex somewhere. Kids run to the corner where there is a T-rex and they say ‘T-rex’. You praise and play the song again. Stop the song and keep it going on and on and stop the game when you notice they are getting too much of it.


 *I don’ use SWBAT because my experience says that teachers expose learners to new items and give them opportunities to use them in different situations. Learners do not usually leave our time together being able to do what we expected them to (despite our efforts). However, having been exposed and given the practice opportunities will give them some input to the target language to the point when – maybe some days after exposure – they will be able to use them naturally.  This is why I prefer to say that they ‘will be exposed and stimulated’ instead of ‘will be able to’. 

 **Sometimes mixing L1 and L2 is not a big problem as long as you keep it mostly in L2 and if L1 is used to make things quickly clear when trouble is big. This helps learners build confidence with the new language.

PS. Found grammar mistakes or typos? Please let me know. Thank you11

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