Let’s face it. Teachers are BUSY! And while you may be busy stocking up on the BEST read alouds for your classroom, sometimes you are just too tired to come up with the engaging lessons to accompany those read alouds. Let us take that planning off your plate for you. These Giraffes Can’t Dance activities are sure to WOW any kindergarten to third grade students.
Giraffes Can’t Dance is a heartwarming story about Gerald, a giraffe who faces self-doubt because of his awkward dancing. Gerald discovers that everyone has their unique rhythm, teaching readers a beautiful lesson about self-acceptance and the importance of embracing individuality.
Grab your copy of Giraffes Can’t Dance and then let’s get planning!
Pre-Reading Ideas for Giraffes Can’t Dance
Before you even start reading the story, let’s talk about solid pre-reading.
I like to show students the cover of the book and discuss the illustrations we can see.
Then, I give students time to make predictions about what they are going to be reading about.
This can be done orally or can be written down.
Once we are done with that, I go over important words from the book that students might need to know in order to best understand the text. These types of words are going to vary based on the age and demographics of students that you are working with, so it is important that you pre-read the text and select these words based on your class.
Close Reading Giraffes Can’t Dance Activities
Close reading is helping students analyze a book in order to practice different skills.
I always tell students that we read books multiple times for multiple different purposes.
The first time we read a book is always to just enjoy the topic and to learn.
Any subsequent time, we are practicing not only so we become more fluent readers, but also we are typically looking to practice a specific comprehension skill.
When we read a text multiple times, we pick up different parts of the text that we might have missed the first few times. We do not have to read the entire text every single time, but it is important that we learn to go back and look through the details in order to better understand the topic.
Some important comprehension skills that you can hone in on when reading Giraffes Can’t Dance are:
- Asking & Answering Questions – can students answer specific questions from the text? Have them practice going back through the story to be sure their answers are correct.
- Making Connections – Can students make text to text, text to self and text to world connections to Giraffes Can’t Dance?
- Story Elements – Are students able to tell you about the characters, setting, problem and solution in this text? Or can they lay out a story sequence including the MOST IMPORTANT events from the beginning, middle and end of the book?
- Character Changes – Can students tell you how Gerald changed over the course of the story? How did he grow and develop? Why does this matter?
- Compare and Contrast – Help students compare and contrast this story to one of your other favorite zoo animal books!
- My Favorite Part – Let students express themselves by telling you what they liked most about Giraffes Can’t Dance. Their favorite parts will vary and will totally surprise you! This is a great way to learn more about your students.
Reading Crafts To Pair with The Text
Do you want to add an element of fun to your Giraffes Can’t Dance activities?
Students LOVE making crafts. Take reading comprehension and turn it into a FUN way for students to retell the story while also creating their own Gerald the giraffe craft!
Have students practice retelling the story Giraffes Can’t Dance with two different craft options (or use both!)
- Giraffes Can’t Dance Retell and Giraffe Craft – Have students practice writing first, then, next and last with this fun retell flip book. Students will practice either beginning, middle and end or story sequencing by writing out the most important events and then making a fun giraffe craft to go with it.
- Giraffes Can’t Dance Story Elements Flip Book – Let students write about the various story elements they read about in Giraffes Can’t Dance. This will include writing about the most important characters, setting, problem and solution. This skill is so important, especially for younger learners to be able to talk about what they read. When they are done, they can turn this into a fun flip book that they can share with their parents or that you can hang in the hallway for a fun bulletin board.
Word Work Extensions for Giraffes Can’t Dance
Make your close reading of Giraffes Can’t Dance even more fun by having some exciting word work activities for your students to work on.
Kids love working with words in new and different ways.
Pick from your favorite activities below to help students build their vocabulary, practice spelling and dig deeper into the text without even realizing that they are learning:
- Making Words – Students will take letters from a big challenge word and use them to make as many smaller words as they can. The entire time, they are also thinking critically about what the big challenge word might be. This is a great way to practice phonics and spelling by looking for important patterns and using different letters to make different words.
- Cracking Secret Codes – Students can practice important words from Giraffes Can’t Dance by using a secret code to crack a code and spell words.
- Unscrambling Important Words – Students will look at words that are scrambled up and try to unscramble the words to make a smaller word. This is a great intro to the making words activity without having any smaller pieces floating around.
- Word Search – Strictly for fun! While the academic benefit of word searches is not as great as the activities above, they sure are fun! Have students practice finding and using important words from the text in a word search.
- Directed Draw & Write (About Giraffes) – Students will LOVE learning how to draw a giraffe! When they are done, have them draw a unique story or background to go with the giraffe they drew, and then have them write all about it.
Giraffes Can’t Dance Writing Prompts
Throughout the week, I like to tie my writing centers to our anchor text. Each day, I have students do a fun quick write practicing a different genre but all on the same topic.
I tell students to spend about 2-3 minutes pre-writing their ideas, and then have them aim to write 5 really good sentences about the topic. This is appropriate for 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade students.
For kindergarten students, have them practice tracing a sentence and filling in one word at the beginning of the year. Then, let them work toward copying or writing a whole sentence on their own with finger spaces, good spelling and punctuation.
My favorite quick writing prompts for my Giraffes Can’t Dance activities are:
- Giraffes Can’t Dance Review – give students time to review their opinion of the story. Did they like it? Did they dislike it? Why? Let them come up with a good topic, 3 reasons and a closing for this opinion writing activity.
- I Showed Courage When… – practice narrative writing by having students relate to Giraffes Can’t Dance and write about a time that they showed courage in their life. I always have students follow the same format, but vary it by genre. Students need to write an engaging topic sentence, three event sentences and a good closing. It is also important that they read back their writing to make sure it makes sense.
- How to Dance – have students practice procedural writing by giving them the challenge of writing down steps to dancing. These answers will be hysterical and so fun! Let them practice writing down their steps and acting them out with a partner. This procedural writing activity is sure to be a hoot!
- All About Courage – students can practice informative writing by describing what courage means and how people can show courage in every day life. Typically, informative writing is the most difficult for students, so they may need some guidance in coming up with ideas. You could also let them work in groups to gather ideas for this activity.
My favorite part about these writing prompts is that they come with adorable toppers that make a perfect, easy Giraffes Can’t Dance bulletin board! They also make great topics for parents to talk about with their kids at home.