Teachable Moments at the Zoo: Book of the Week GIVEAWAY

November 26, 2012

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Book of the Week GIVEAWAY: Elephants by Steve Bloom

Why we love this book:

Have you considered giving your children an elephant for Christmas this year? Yes, a real elephant! Last year, our family adopted a baby elephant. Yes, a real elephant. Since then books about elephants catch my eye. This elephant book by Steve Bloom is an especially good nonfiction book. The fabulous photos and facts are divided into five sections teaching everything from each elephant body part to how elephants interact with other animals. The kiddos have soaked up all of the elephant information. After all if you’re going to adopt an elephant you need to know all about it!

elephants: Book of the Week GIVEAWAY

Later this week, I’ll share a bit more about our elephant adoption and an art drawing and water color lesson based on our GIVEAWAY book Elephants. This week it’s all about an unexpected teachable moment that took us to the zoo and on a safari! Please join us . . .

Safari Zoo Theme book

Zoo Construction and Signs, Miss Enigma, kindergarten

Day 1: Let’s Build a Zoo

One morning as we began homeschool Miss Enigma announced, “Mommy I have an idea! I’m want to build a zoo and then write a book that goes like, ‘I went to the zoo. What did you see? I saw an elephant looking at me.’ I’ll do it for all of the animals in the zoo!”

We had been reading books like Brown Bear by Bill Martin Jr. and I Went Walking by Sue Williams. I was intrigued to hear her spin on these pattern books. She went off to her room to build a zoo!

When Miss Enigma completed her zoo, she invited me to take a tour. Yes, Polly Pocket and friends were already at the zoo taking a tour. I decided to make the most of this teachable moment,

  • “How would you like signs for your zoo? You can tell me the animals and I’ll write the signs for you.”
  • As I made the signs, we listened to the beginning letter sounds.
  • That was it for Day 1. What a fun day of planning, construction, letter sounds and writing!

Safari Zoo Theme book

I Went On a Safari Book, Miss Enigma, kindergarten

Day 2: I Went On a Safari Book

  • First, we established the pattern for the book: On safari I saw a __________.
  • Next, Miss Enigma selected an animal, including the name card, from her zoo.
  • She used the name cards to independently write the animal names.
  • She studied each animal carefully and used a black sharpie marker to draw an outline.
  • We only did one or two pages a day.

Safari Zoo Theme book

I Went on Safari book, Miss Enigma, kindergarten

Page 1: On safari I saw a lion sleeping.

  • We used interactive writing to write the book together.
  • I used a black marker for writing and Miss Enigma selected a color marker for her writing.
  • On page one, she copied the word lion from her animal card and wrote the letter s at he beginning of sleeping.

Safari Zoo Theme book

I Went on Safari book, Miss Enigma, kindergarten

Page 2: On safari I saw a tiger fighting.

  • You can see that on page 2, Miss Enigma took on a little bit more of the writing.

Safari Zoo Theme book

 I Went on Safari book, Miss Enigma, kindergarten

 Page 4: On safari I saw a hippopotamus.

  • By the fourth page, Miss Enigma wanted to do the writing all by herself!
  • We can see the progress from interactive writing to independent writing.
  • Yes, there are mistakes. Children need the freedom to independently have-a-go at writing.

At the other end of the table the teachable moment continues. . .

Safari Zoo Theme book

While Miss Enigma was busy building her zoo, MacGyver came up with his own zoo book idea,

  • “Mommy, during journal time can I make a book for Miss Enigma? I want to make a pattern book about her zoo that she can read.”
  • Since we had been busy, busy, busy learning about the American Revolution and the presidential election, I thought it was time for a fun writing activity!
  • MacGyver headed to our home library to collect books about zoo animals.

Safari Zoo Theme book

I Went to the Zoo book, MacGyver, age 9

  • Each page of MacGyver’s book includes a picture clue . . .

Safari Zoo Theme book

  • When you turn the page the animal is revealed.
  • Can you guess what you’ll find on the next page?
  • Did you guess a butterfly?

Safari Zoo Theme book

What began as a whim by a kindergartner turned into a week of engaged learning. One thing I’ve learned about Mommies and teachers is we like to plan and most of us like to be in control! While it’s good to be organized, it’s also good to follow our children. Their natural curiosity and creativity offer us endless teachable moments!

Life with Jeannine

elephants: Book of the Week GIVEAWAY

We’re GIVING AWAY Elephants by Steve Bloom

To enter this contest, use the Rafflecopter to answer the following question. After you leave a comment, you can move ahead with more entries. Please leave a comment letting us know that you pinned.

What unique gift do you have on your Christmas list this year? A baby elephant?  (Or just say “Hey.” We’re flexible around here.)

The Rules:

The winner must be a resident of The United States.

The winner will be selected at random and announced Friday, November 29, 2012. Check back to claim your prize. It might be you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Zoomorphs Christmas Toy GIVEAWAY

We also have a Zoomorphs Christmas Toy Review and GIVEAWAY Your children will love these interchangeable animal pieces. Come take a peek and enter the GIVEAWAY!

Sharing this week at:

ABC and 123 Learning

Hey Mommy, Chocolate Milk

Hip Homeschool Moms

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Lorie November 26, 2012 at 11:09 pm

I would like to sleep in! :)

Tara H November 27, 2012 at 9:21 am

It’s not really unique but we’re getting our oldest son some tools to get him starting whittling.

Kristina November 27, 2012 at 11:25 am

Lol! I don’t really have anything unique on my list this year– just stuff for our new house!

Brandy November 27, 2012 at 11:35 am

It is not the least bit unique, but I just want a warm pair of slippers with a hard bottom. I need them to be extra warm because my feet are NEVER warm in winter and my many pairs of slipper socks aren’t cutting it. I need them to have a hard bottom so that I can take the dog out without having to change into tennis shoes. Lazy, I know but my tennis shoes are all the way in the garage and the door we use to take the dog out is like a whole fifteen feet away from there! Surely everyone can sympathize. Ha!

Stephanie November 27, 2012 at 5:51 pm

I don’t think I have anything real unusual for Christmas on my list.

Ellie November 27, 2012 at 5:58 pm

I wasn’t sure if your question was asking about what I’d like to receive for Christmas, or what I have on my list for others. For me, I’d like a gift certificate for a massage! For kids, books, of course, and handmade toys. For most adults, I just like to make a donation to a charity in their honor. But to tell the truth, I haven’t thought about Christmas gift shopping much yet. Better get to it! I guess none of these gifts is terribly creative, so maybe I should look into the whole baby elephant idea!

Julie November 28, 2012 at 10:21 am

Great activity and give-away! I would like to invite you to come over, and add this to my weekly Mom’s Library Link-Up.
Along with any other of your great posts.


Erin December 4, 2012 at 8:40 pm

I love the book you made together! Making books with my kids is one of my favorite things to do. I featured your ideas today on Mom’s Library. Thanks for linking up and hope to see you again!


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