What role do dinosaurs have in teaching, learning and assessment?
Not that long ago I stumbled across strategies for improving the learning attributes and lifelong learning skills of students in a Key Stage 1 setting where they used dinosaur toys and characters called the Achievosaurs.
These are Responsidocus, Relationosaur, Reasonosaurs Rex, Resilitops and Reflectoraptor.
This is a neat idea and got me thinking what clever teacher started this.
I’ve searched around and a retired Bristol school teacher seems to be the source namely Lori Mitchell.
I’m referring here to the website Everything Dinosaur which quotes Ms Mitchell as saying she attended an Early Years course “Providing Challenge, Improving Outcomes” just over ten years ago. She said,
During the day, we were asked to consider how we encourage our children to reflect on their learning, rather than just talk about their activities, and how we can help them develop the skills needed to become life-long learners. We discussed the learning-focused qualities we wanted to encourage in our children and a colleague shared the “Curious Cat” she used with her class. One of the Early Years advisors then said something like “you know, dinosaurs would be another idea..you could have a Thinkasaurus”…and that was it…I went home after the course and devised the Achievosaurs!
Inspired, Lori then devised a series of dinosaurs which she could use as props to help reinforce desired behaviours and came up with the following:
- Explorosaurs are excellent at exploring and finding out about things and about the world around them.
- Askaraptors are very talkative learners. They love to ask lots of questions which develop and deepen their knowledge and understanding.
- Tryatops are known for their ability to always try their best in whatever they do. They have a real ‘can do’ attitude.
- Stickasaurus have bags of perseverance and never give up, even when the going gets tough. They are known for sticking at things.
- Solveosaurus Rex work really hard to solve problems and find new ways of doing things.
- Thinkadocus are deep thinkers. They think carefully about what they learn and are able to talk about their thinking and learning. Also known as Thinkadons.
- Shareadactyls are known for their kindness and ability to share. Whether it is sharing ideas or resources, they always consider others in their learning. They are great team players.
This simple and effective idea has since been taken up across the UK in a number of settings and adapted accordingly. With so many dinosaurs to choose from, you could have a field day playing around with words and ideas.
The next step is to buy the cuddly soft versions of dinosaurs to introduce to your class.
On the subject of dinosaurs, if you want to bring some wonder and awe to your school then Joe and Sam of TeachRex are the teachers to do it with their very life-like dinosaurs. These guys are amazing and hats off to them for engaging and inspiring children in a totally creative way.