Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog!

Teaching Similarities and Differences: More than Two Animals—with FREE Download!

Posted by Susanna Westby on Feb 24, 2014 9:21:00 AM

This is a guest blog post from Susanna Westby of Whimsy Workshop, and it includes a FREE download with worksheets! See the bottom of the post for the link to download, and check back frequently for more great classroom-tested ideas! If you'd like to see her other contributions to this blog, click here!

Hello again! I’m Susanna from Whimsy Workshop Teaching, and today I’m sharing with you some examples of how I use books from the Zoozoo Animal World and Zoozoo Into the Wild series of informational texts in my classroom: Frog by Claire Vial and Graham Meadows and Sheep and Pig by Lee Waters.

              frog 200sheep 200pig 200

Our last lesson compared and contrasted two animals from different biomes. This time, we are using the books to compare more than two different animals and species to see what information we can find, and explore different ways of organizing that information. Our first task was to read through the books together. We projected the images so that we could read together and notice the details of each animal. Each page gave us information to add to our list.

pig spread

We identified relevant vocabulary words by circling or underlining. We made lists on the board as we went along to keep track of information, as you can see in the picture.

                sheep projection 185 pig projection 185

frog projection 185

Once we were done, students completed a task to compare all three animals. This was quite a challenge! They referred back to the lists we made on the board, and read through the books several more times to confirm information and find new ideas.

three animal comparison 

I have included our three-animal comparison sheet as a free download to try with your class! You can find it at the bottom of this page.

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I have been teaching primary grades for 20 years. My classroom is a place of hands-on, creative learning where students feel safe to make mistakes and learn from them! I live near Vancouver, BC Canada with my music-teacher husband and two teenage boys. More literacy ideas and graphics can be found on my blog, Whimsy Workshop Teaching.

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Download your free three-animal comparison sheet by clicking the worksheet image below! For more information on the Zoozoo series, click the images below to download a series information sheets with highlights and key features.

Three-Animal Comparison Sheet Download New Call-to-Action New Call-to-Action

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Topics: Informational Text, Zoozoo Animals, Susanna Westby, Zoozoo Animal World, Venn Diagrams

Teaching Similarities and Differences: Bats & Owls—with FREE Download

Posted by Susanna Westby on Feb 10, 2014 8:00:00 AM

This is a guest blog post from Susanna Westby of Whimsy Workshop, and it includes a FREE download with worksheets! See the bottom of the post for the link to download, and check back frequently for more great classroom-tested ideas! If you'd like to see her other contributions to this blog, click here!

Hello again! I’m Susanna from Whimsy Workshop Teaching, and today I’m sharing some examples of how I use books from the Zoozoo Animal World series to teach similarities and differences. The books we used were ”Bat” and “Owl” by Lee Waters.

Bat Cover.new Owl Cover.new

My key concepts for these lessons were difference and similarities of animals that live in different biomes. In this case, we compared a forest owl and a rainforest bat to see if we could find some similarities despite living in a different environment.

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As we read through each story as a whole group, we took note of different animal characteristics, similarities and differences. We projected the images so that we could read together and notice many of the detail in the wonderful photographs.

owl 1 bat 2
 

We identified relevant vocabulary words by circling or underlining on the board, as shown.

Students also love to trace the words that are projected to see if they can make them look “perfect”; everyone wants a turn at this, and they love to read it once we turn the projector off!

Our next task is to organize our findings. We make two lists: one for each animal containing the things we’ve noticed about each. During this time, we also make good use of the “Talking Points” section of both books, which has a lot of interesting information. Students noted information from both the text and the pictures. Here are a few examples:

  • Bat and owls both fly.
  • Owls are birds, but bats are mammals.
  • Bats and owls both live in the forest.
  • Bats and owls both have wings.
  • Bats and owls are both nocturnal.

Once we’re done, students go back to their desks to complete a Venn Diagram to compare/contrast the bat and owl (this is available for download at the bottom of the page). They are repeatedly reading and discussing the pictures from the book, and the information we’ve collected on the board as they decide which points to include in their own diagram.

Students love to share their work using a document camera so the whole class can see!

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I have been teaching primary grades for 20 years. My classroom is a place of hands-on, creative learning where students feel safe to make mistakes and learn from them! I live near Vancouver, BC Canada with my music-teacher husband and two teenage boys. More literacy ideas and graphics can be found on my blog, Whimsy Workshop Teaching.

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Download your free "Bat and Owl" comparison sheet by clicking the worksheet image below! For more information on the Zoozoo Animal World series, click here to visit our website, or click the image on the right to download a series information sheet with highlights and key features.

Bat and Owl Venn Diagram Download New Call-to-Action

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Topics: Zoozoo Animals, Susanna Westby, Animals, Zoozoo Animal World, Venn Diagrams

Critter Corner: It's Puffin Time!

Posted by Tara Rodriquez on Aug 22, 2013 8:00:00 AM


describe the image

describe the imageIt's the time of year when baby puffins start leaving the nest! Puffins living in Canada get a little help from the Puffin and Petrel Patrol.

"The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society’s Newfoundland and Labrador (CPAWS-NL) chapter launched the annual Puffin and Petrel Patrol Tuesday night," reports Andrew Robinson in the St. John's Telegram. St. John's is the capital and largest city in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, where the puffins live.

“One of the main reasons we’re finding young, juvenile puffins on our highways, roads, and yards is because they’re attracted to artificial light,” said Suzanne Dooley, co-executive director for CPAWS-NL.

“They use the moon for guidance, so on nights (where) the moon isn’t clear, when they leave their boroughs at night ... they end up coming towards street lights, business lights, (and) homeowner lights on the land.”

The Patrol searches for and rescues the baby puffins before they have a chance to come to harm on the road and releases them into a safe area of the wilderness.

Because Puffin Patrol season coincides with the beginning of the school year, it's a great chance to kick off the year by teaching children about volunteering, conservationism, and their favorite topic: animals!

You can introduce them to the puffin through our Zoozoo Animal World book Puffin, which is part of the Arctic Habitat Set. Click the image below to learn more about the book.

Arctic Puffin Cover

Photo credit of puffin (right): CPS Photos

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Topics: Making Learning Fun, K-2 Literacy, Zoozoo Animals, Critter Corner, World Knowledge, Animals, Zoozoo Animal World

Hameray's Critter Corner - Elephant Lesson Plan!

Posted by Sarah Levin on Apr 5, 2013 2:50:00 PM

Critter's Corner Logo

We love when teachers find creative extensions for their lessons plans, especially when they include making arts and crafts animals! Extending your shared or guided reading lesson with a fun post-reading activity is a great way to reinforce what each student has read while offering an opportunity for oral language interactions.  In the following example, we show a way to add some fun to an elephant lesson. 

The Lesson Plan:  A unit on elephants for small or whole group.  Reading level K-1.

Resource:  Elephant by Claire Vial & Graham Meadows, part of the Zoozoo Into the Wild nonfiction.

Post-Reading Activity:  Set up the activity below in your literacy center or do as a shared classroom activity.

 

elephants use their trunks and tusks

The above excerpt from the book, "Elephant," by Claire Vial & Graham Meadows, shows how elephants use their tusks and trunk in everyday life. As you read together, note the different ways that elephants interact with their world.

 

Extension Activity:

 

elephant arts and crafts

Materials:

  • 1 paper plate per student with a hole cut in the middle

  • construction paper (this can be pre-cut into shapes for younger children)

  • scissors (if the shapes are not pre-cut)

  • gray paint or pastels

  • glue

  • markers, pens, pastels, crayons, or colored pencils for decorating

  • have each student bring an old sock from home (optional)

Instructions:

Depending on how comfortable your kids are with scissors, you can either have them cut out the ears, tusks, and eyes themselves (safety scissors not pictured) or pre-cut them before class.  You can even substitute googly eyes or simply have them draw on the tusks and eyes if you want. Feel free to make this project your own!

elephant arts and crafts 2
Color in or paint the plate and the eyes.  In this example, I've used gray construction paper for the ears, so I don't have to color that in too.

 

elephant lesson plan plate

Glue the eyes, tusks, and ears onto the plate.

 

 

 

elephant lesson plan finished

Now, the really fun part!  I'm using an old sock in this picture for the trunk, but bare hands work just as well.  Voilà!   You have your elephant, complete with a trunk!

 

 

*Extra Credit*

Want to really tie-in the elephant with the reading?  Use some of your leftover art supplies to make active parts of the story.  In the picture below, I've made a tree and little pond so that the "elephant" can use its "big trunk to drink." 

elephant lesson plan extra

SEND US A PICTURE OF YOUR STUDENTS' ELEPHANT ART PROJECT AND WE'll POST THEM ON CRITTER'S CORNER AND SEND YOU A FREE COPY OF  ELEPHANT FOR YOUR CLASSROOM!!!  Just email a photo and your mailing address to [email protected].  

To read an entire book from the Zoozoo Into the Wild series, please click here:

Tiger Nonfiction Book Zoozoo Into The WIld
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Topics: Zoozoo Animals, Lesson Plan, Critter Corner

Hameray's Critter Corner - Meet The Crocodile!

Posted by Sarah Levin on Mar 22, 2013 8:24:00 AM

animals

Today we explore the world of the Crocodile!  These amazing creatures have mouths full of teeth and are closer in genetics to birds and dinosaurs (extinct, of course!) than any other animals on Earth! Crocodiles like to live in tropical climates where they can swim in fresh water.  Because of this,  crocodiles can be found in multiple parts of the world that meet these requirements, including Asia, Australia, Africa, and America.

crocodile predator

 

Crocodiles use the natural camouflage of their thick, muddy-colored skin to blend in with their surroundings, while their smooth underbelly, streamlined body, and webbed feet help them swim quickly.  A crocodile won't chase his meal too far.  They are "ambush predators," who prefer to wait, blending in with their surroundings, until their prey happens by.  Then they will burst forward with sudden speed to snatch it.  Although crocodiles eat mostly fish, birds, and other animals in their environment, they still remain a threat to humans, so if you see one: Stay away!  

Don't believe us?  Check out this huge animal, all the way from Green Island, Australia, who is one of the biggest crocodiles in captivity!  Notice that, despite his substantial size, he is quick when going after a big chunk of meat the zoo keepers are offering him and his powerful jaws snap shut with an audible "thud." You wouldn't want to meet him in the wild if he was hungry!

 

*Animal Poetry Bonus*

Has your classroom heard the wonderful poem from the book, Alice in Wonderland,  by Lewis Carroll? 

How Doth The Little Crocodile

How doth the little crocodile

Improve his shining tail,

And pour the waters of the Nile

On every golden scale!

How cheerfully he seems to grin,

How neatly spreads his claws,

And welcomes little fishes in

With gently smiling jaws!

 

What are your students' favorite animal poems?  Let us know in the comments section!

 

Do your students want to learn all about he crocodile? Check out the book, Crocodile, by Lee Waters:

 

cover big

See an entire book sample from the Zoozoo Animal (Killer Whale Book) by clicking here.

 

Sign up for our FREE Hameray newsletter here and keep up to date on all your favorite titles, giveaways, and more:

 

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Topics: Zoozoo Animals, Critter Corner, Animals

Hameray's Critter Corner - Meet The Arctic Fox!

Posted by Sarah Levin on Mar 7, 2013 12:52:00 PM

describe the image

 

If you're a teacher or parent, you already know that there's nothing kids love more than animals! At Hameray, we love animals too and feature them in our books as a method to not only teach children about how different species live and play, but also as a path to the exploration of the entire world.

In this spirit, we have created the "Critter Corner," where we will highlight animals and stories that feature animals. Which animals is your class studying? How do animals make learning fun at your school? Please feel free to tell us your classroom's favorite animals and we might just feature them at the "Critter Corner!"

Arctic Fox 1Today's animal is the Arctic Fox.  This amazing little creature sports a thick, pure-white or gray coat that not only keeps it warm, but also acts as camouflage in its snowy environment. The Arctic Fox's thick, bushy tail is not only used for balance, but also as a built-in blanket when the weather is especially chilly.  Primarily a carnivore (although they do enjoy vegetables from time to time), the Arctic Fox hunts rodents, fish, and will sometimes even follow around Polar Bears to snack on their leftovers!  

 

For more fun facts about the Arctic Fox, please check out "Arctic Fox," by Lee Waters, from the Zoo Zoo Animal World Collection here:  Arctic Fox

 

 

 

Here's a fun video from the BBC that shows how baby Arctic Foxes learn by playing!

 

 

For more great titles from Hameray, please check out our catalog by clicking here: 

 

Hameray 2016 Catalog Request
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Topics: Zoozoo Animals, Critter Corner, Animals

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