Monday, May 11, 2015


If you could be any wild animal, what would you be?  Kids can be motivated by animals any time of year, but in May there are at least four special days  that encourage a focus on animals: Endangered Species Day May 15, International Day for Biological Diversity May 22,  World Turtle Day (who knew?) May 23 and environmentalist Rachel Carsons birthday May 27.

Gather a collection of books about wild animals to help children choose a favorite. Fun titles to include are Susan Stockdale's new book Spectacular Spots as well as her earlier titles such as Fabulous Fishes, Bring on the Birds and Stripes of All Types (also available in Spanish).  Although written for very young children, these books provide excellent examples of verses students can write and the kind of information they can collect. 

An alphabet book by David McLiman's, Gone Wild (2007 Caldecott Honor Book) introduces students to endangered animals all over the world - each with a specially designed letter that will inspire the young artists in your midst.

Ask students to write down basic information about their chosen animals habitat and food as well as a few interesting facts, gathered from the books you have collected or the Internet, depending on the age of the class and the time available.

Ask them to think about the questions posed in this quiz from the National Wildlife Refuge System as it pertains to their animal - What is your animals idea of a great adventure?  What is your best quality?  How close are you to your family and friends? What is your favorite food? How do you escape predators? What super power do you have (or would you like to have)? Students can actually answer the quiz questions and see a sample profile. Then ask them to write their own paragraph or personality profile about their animal - ideally in the first person.

If there is time to expand the activity, provide a list of animals and the profiles written by students to another class to see if the new group can match each profile to the correct animal. 

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