Monday Motivation: It’s a Zoo In Here!

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This week it’s literally a zoo in our classroom – in more ways than one!
First off, today through Wednesday is STAAR testing (our state accountability exam).  During this lovely period of time K-2 gets to pretend that we don’t exist – I kid, I kid.  Well, sort of.  We really do have to nix the outdoor recess, stay super quiet in the halls, have grouped specials… the list goes on.  Needless to say the kiddos start to get a bit antsy after being cooped up so long.  (Hence the zoo reference part 1)
Luckily we will be visiting the Dallas Zoo for our Spring field trip next week so we are learning all things zoo animals leading up to it!  This is helping to keep us a little more motivated to learn.  (Hence the zoo reference part 2 – see, I kept my word!)
For today’s Monday Motivation post I want to share a new resource that I created to accompany our zoo unit.  I love this pack for the ease of bridging literacy, science, and social studies!
The plan is to focus on one animal per day during the literacy block and then again during the science block (double whammy!).  As we complete each page of our journal I am collecting them so that we can compile them later on.  I chose to print the writing page and labeling (science) page for each animal front and back to keep it simple.
Today we started off learning about elephants with a fantastic story called “Elephant’s Story” by Harriet Blackford.  Can I just say that the kiddos were enthralled listening as the elephant grew up.  This is such a great book for introducing just enough factual information, while following an engaging story line.

After we finished “Elephant’s Story” we created a class Can/Have/Are chart.  I love how much the kiddos had already picked up on from just our first exposure to elephants.

I think Can/Have/Are charts are so awesome for getting a ton of information into one space AND are super helpful for struggling writers because they can easily pull pieces from them to write sentences if needed.

You can also see two of the other books we used throughout today (one for a quick Read Aloud filler, the other for our non-fiction science lesson).

After verbalizing our knowledge about elephants, it was time to write!  I am just so proud of how far my little writers have come this year.

I love how matter-of-factly this friend let’s her reader know that elephants do not eat peanuts, LOL!

Here’s a look at a friend hard at work labeling the parts of an elephant.

If your class is visiting the zoo this Spring, I hope this will inspire you to get your kiddos brains soaking up knowledge about the animals that they will be seeing at the zoo!  Click the picture below to snag your freebie by downloading the product preview!


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