What a Zoo!

Hats off to teachers…it’s time for Mid-Week Focus to feature another kid-pleaser…the zoo!

Don’t have a zoo nearby? No worries. Jump online and you can visit world-famous zoos from Argentina to Zambia.

Families that enjoy sports as well as special animals are already turning their attention to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, host-to-be of the 2016 Olympic Summer Games. I’ve not yet traveled to Rio de Janeiro, but I can imagine myself in Rio’s conservation-minded zoo.

Elephants are popular at zoos around the world. Look closely at the pic here. Okay, it’s only a small garden of ground cover near the entrance to a school where I recently taught, and yes, the elephant is (only) a stone sculpture but…I’m traveling through my imagination! Virtual travel via computer…

…is a great rainy-day activity when school is in session or out. Zoo animals are proven attention-getters with kids. Accessing zoo sites in different countries is a great way to help children learn about the world. 

Introduce each country by offering children (naturally animal-loving)  a ticket to (virtual) travel to zoos in countries that carry special meaning (don’t they all!).  For example, a city or nation may be important to you and your class because it will be in the world spotlight, like Rio will be in 2016, or because it’s featured in your curriculum.

Use online resources that allow your class to zoom in LIVE on zoo zones worldwide! See what Barak, the platypus, is up to at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane, Australia. Zoo Cam can take your group to fascinating places!

Back to Rio…all aboard for the zoo – yes, you can take the subway train to Saint Kitts Station and arrive at a huge park and gardens named Quinta da Boa Vista (Portuguese meaning in English: Farm with a good view). Zoo animals, including the popular giraffe,

“It has to be a sculpture; I’m as tall as the giraffe!”

amble near alleys of palm trees and other native plants. Brazilian birds take flight in a special wing (no pun intended) of the Rio zoo.

Kids love trains! Take them from South America to Europe via (imaginary) air to Berlin, Germany. Board a virtual German train to the Berlin Zoologischer Garten, said to be the most visited zoo in Europe.

Every continent that is represented in all five of the Olympic rings has a world-famous zoo. In Africa, you’ll find the Giza Zoo in Cairo, Egypt. Asia is home to the Beijing, China Zoo. Delhi, India houses the National Zoological Park that houses nearly 130 animal and bird species including the famous Bengal tiger.

Catch kids’ attention at the (US) National Zoo in Washington, DC with an invitation to Boo at the Zoo. At Halloween time each year, the (US) National Zoo invites children to go trick or treating throughout the zoo. They learn about the zoo’s creepiest creatures and watch heavy-footed animals do a pumpkin smash.

Bring a version of this special event to your classroom or school next October. Make your own bulletin board with the heading, Class Boo at the Zoo. Explain that the board connects with a virtual trip your class will take to Rock Creek National Park, home of the National Zoo in America’s capital.

Steps to Follow after the virtual zoo visit online:

  1. Read aloud, then post a printed copy of my poem (See below) on an orange paper-covered bulletin board.
  2. Tack up a black letter heading on your bulletin board: OUR CLASS BOO AT THE ZOO.
  3. Tell your class that you need them to add zoo animal drawings to illustrate my poem. Cut out the animal drawings and post them to make a frame for the poem. Optional: Also post Halloween-themed cut-outs.
  4. Challenge students to write and illustrate their own zoo animal poems to add to the bulletin board.
  5. Invite students to present their poems aloud to the class or an audience that includes parents and/or other guests.
  6. Encourage kids to bring animal masks to wear for an “animal parade” around your classroom. You might have your masked children walk to a recording of Carnival of the Animals by French composer, Camille Saint-Saëns.
  7. Conclude your Class Boo at the Zoo celebration by serving animal-shaped cookies that you buy or bake.

At the Zoo

Where else but the zoo can a party of two

mean a lion with a cub, a joey and kangaroo?

As I walk with the animals large and small,

I study their faces; I love them all.

I see steel-eyed wolves, a soft panda bear,

spotted giraffes, noses high in the air.

The zoo fills me with wonder at nature’s way;

if animals could speak, what would they say?

Simply by being they ask us to care,

to preserve nature’s bounty everywhere!

Help children gain appreciation for our international community by offering the opportunity to zoom in on zoo zones worldwide.

Stop back by on Monday for Attentionology for K – 5 Teachers.

All the best,

Barbara ♥ The Lovable Poet

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Barbara Cleary has been serving as a resource to hundreds of educators for more than 25 years. An award-winning writer, producer, teacher, and trainer, Barbara’s focus is on offering easy, fun tools and tricks that support K-5 curricula and assist teachers with classroom management.
Quick tips for common classroom conundrums: K-5
Situation: Students continue to use lackluster verbs in their writing.

Solution: Show toy cars and pretend to make them zip across a page, telling the class that good writing includes action words (verbs) that have "zip." Ask the class for examples of "zippy" verbs like zoom, race, flash, rush, etc.

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