Empowering Writers

November 2017 K-1 Lesson of the Month

November K-1 Lesson of the Month:

This month, the K-1 November lesson encompasses a dinosaur theme along with making messes. The idea for this lesson came from the authors of the book, What the Dinosaurs Did Last Night, a Very Messy Adventure by Refe and Susan Tuma. They shared in a brief note “About the Book”, that the inspiration from the book came from an activity they enjoyed with their own children called Dinovember. Read on to find out how you might enjoy this same adventure in the classroom and initiate some fabulous writing samples at the same time.



After a discussion about dinosaurs and students sharing about their love of these chilling creatures, read one of the following books with the students. What the Dinosaurs Did Last Night, a Very Messy Adventure by Refe and Susan Tuma, What the Dinosaurs Did At School by Refe and Susan Tuma. Each night or once a week, when students arrive, they will notice a mess in the classroom created by toy dinosaurs. They can draw and/or write about the mess.


Here’s what you’ll do:

  1. First, gather a collection of toy dinosaurs to share with students. Let students tell about their love of the creatures. Encourage them to bring in their own dinosaur figurines and books their own collection.
  2. Next, read one of the dinosaur books by Refe and Susan Tuma. After reading the book, have a discussion about the trouble the dinosaurs created in the home or school.
  3. Choose one of the “messy” situations and MODEL a sample sentence/paragraph about the mess they encountered.
  4. Next, let the students draw a replica of a messy setting from the book. Afterwards, give the students an opportunity to write their own sentence/sentences. Encourage them to use sentence starters to create sentence variety and enhance their vocabulary.


MODELED SAMPLES: (based on the dinosaur mess in the laundry room)

I couldn’t help but notice the clothes strewn around the room.

The silly creatures turned the laundry soap over and the liquid poured out.

The smiling beast wore an athletic sock on his head.

I was surprised to see soap bubbles floating in the air.


Sentence Starters:

I was surprised to see ________________.

I couldn’t believe that ________________.

The out-of-control creatures ___________.

Can you imagine _______________.

My eyes widened when I noticed ____________.

I peered at the ____________.

I covered my eyes to hide the sight of ________.

5. Each night, or every Monday morning, when the students arrive at school, let them discover a mess in the classroom made by the toy dinosaurs. With each mess, have the students draw and/or write about the mess.


Have a different chosen group of students draw and write about the mess each day/week. Display their work on a bulletin board entitled Dinovember, showcasing the classroom messes made by the dinosaurs.


Connections: For more Dinovember ideas check out Dinovember on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest for easily adaptable lessons in grades K and 1. Of course, after completing some of these, you can model writing about them with your students!