Saturday, January 23, 2016

Bringing Calgary Zoo & Their Penguins To First Graders In Iowa Through Skype.....And Bringing Zoos To Children Around The World

When my friend Deb asked me for awesome penguin resources for the young learners working on a penguin PBL project, I went straight to Twitter to see what I could find through zoos, authors, publishers and others.

Someone told me to check out the Calgary Zoo and their penguin program.
I looked up @calgaryzoo and was excited to see their Penguins on Parade!  Penguins are a very special part of the Calgary Zoo and would be perfect for the first graders.

 When I visited their website, I found a special page
When I visited their website, I found a special page just for the penguins at the Calgary Zoo.....and a lot about the Penguins on Parade too.

Every day starting in January, when it is really cold, they zoo keepers take the penguins out for a walk and to parade around in front of the visitors. I would love to see that.
The site also contains information about the four different types of penguins they have, which would be very helpful as children are researching and learning more about the penguins they see at the zoo.
I learned they had School Programs at the zoo so I reached out to see if they did virtual visits too.  

They hadn't done any Skype's but were excited about the idea.  So we worked together over the next couple of weeks to bring the Calgary Zoo into Van Meter School in Iowa. 
Stephanie Southgate who is the School Program Interpreter at the Calgary Zoo is who we connected with today.

She was wonderful with the children and developed a nice program....
which incorporated a lot of the things they had learned about during their PBL and so much more.
 As she spoke to us, Stephanie also showed the penguins at the Calgary Zoo;
 skeletons and skins of different mammals and fish;
videos to explain things, such as how penguins have more than one eyelid; 
and even told fun stories about her penguin friends.  
One of our favorite parts is when she showed a group of King Penguins that live at the Calgary Zoo. We all agreed that Stephanie has a really cool job.
You can make connections like this with zoos around the world too.  One of the easiest ways is to search "Zoo" on Twitter and look under "Accounts".

Just look at all of the zoos that popped up on Twitter.  These zoos all have their very own Twitter account and they are waiting to connect with us here too.
Several of the zoos have included their website, which will lead you to lots of helpful information.

All of this leads teacher librarians, educators and students to zoos around the world who are waiting to share, teach and connect with us through social media, email and of person at their zoo.

And what better way to learn than with an expert with the things they are learning about.  This is just one example of how you can enrich and extend a project with many resources that engage and excite your students....just like the ones in Van Meter today.

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