Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Dr. Seuss Created A Zoo & Circus....Your Students Can Research, Write & Create Their Own Animals Too!

Today my sister Heather, who is the teacher librarian at Amana Elementary in Iowa, sent me this Facebook message.  I always love it when she wants to brainstorm...It makes my day.
I started thinking right away and thought how fun it would be to use If I Ran The Circus by Dr. Seuss with her older ones....lots of ideas started going through my head.
By using this book and also....
If I Ran The Zoo, Heather could definitely get her students in the library excited about animals and creating their own for a circus or zoo.

To start, she can share the two Dr. Seuss books, videos that go along with each....
and even two apps from Oceanhouse Media....the If I Ran The Circus app and If I Ran The Zoo app
For a little research as they pick out their animals, there are so many resources they could use.  One of our favorites is the PebbleGO Animals database.  
For each animal, they will be able to research the Body, Habitat, Food, Life Cycle, Fun Facts and Related Articles

I have a few favorite series of books I love for animal research too....And these are ones that Heather's students have access to in the library and within their online library too.  
One is the Pebble Plus Big Dogs series from Capstone....You can find them here and so many more about any animal they can think of.  
Also, several of the books and songs from Cantata Learning have animal characters and themes that will be helpful and fun to use with these two Dr. Seuss books.  
For example, check out From Tadpole To Frog.  Every Cantata Learning book is a story set to a song which is included in the back of the book on a CD and sheet music. 
Also, it is online for any reader to download or play from the Cantata Learning website.  

Under the Life Sciences topic, you will find several and within the Products page. 

Heather's students can find the Cantata books in their library too....and online.  They will find these fun to use when researching and brainstorming their new animals being created for the zoo and circus. 

Once they have done some brainstorming, writing, sharing, and researching, they will be ready to get to work and create their new animals.  
Of course they could use traditional art materials and be as creative as they want in creating their new animals.  

There are lots of ideas on two Pinterest walls I found.....one for If I Ran The Zoo and...
one for If I Ran The Circus.  

If you want to use a digital tool, there is one that will be perfect!  It is called Switch Zoo!
When you go to the Switch Zoo website, you will find a dial that lets you start with any animal and habitat.....Or just start by clicking on the center red rino.  
This will take you to a list the Animal List of 142 species.  

I started Switch Zoo and had so much fun choosing different part for my new zoo animal. 
There are a couple ways to create your animal.  You can choose from the menu on the left hand side of the screen which gives you all of the different animals.

You can also choose from the three different part of the animals body including Tail, Legs and Head. This is where I went to create mine.

At the bottom of the work window, you will be able to read about each animal part in detail.  This is really interesting and a great place for animal research as projects are created.
Way to the left hand side at the bottom of the work window you will see three choices....Hide Facts, Add Title and Add Story.  I went ahead and hide the facts after I read them so I could add a title and story about my new animal. 
First, I have my animal a name....Figeetah, which is a combination of a Fish, Pig and Cheetah.  

Next, I added a story.  As you can read in my story, my Figeetah has very unique qualities and skills, along with amazing looks.  

This will definitely be a great new animal for a very crazy zoo....I am sure Dr. Seuss would think so too. 
Another thing I love about Switch Zoo is the ability to save or print the new animal.  This shows how nice it will look with the picture, title and story....
and this is what a photocopy would look like.  It can also be in color.  

These pictures could be used in a print or digital book to showcase the special new zoo or circus.  

If you take the images that you save, upload them into a digital tool such as FlipSnackEdu or eduBuncee to create your eBook.....You can even add the students voices over the top of their pages to make it even more interactive and fun.  
Two more things in Switch Zoo that will be helpful to your students is the Animal List and Profiles of each animal included on this website and....
the Guided Tour To Make New Animals that can be worked through on an individual basis.
A special name, special music, and even very special promotions can be created for the new zoo or circus book that will tie in so nicely to the Dr. Seuss books.

I can't wait to see what Heather and her students create in Amana....and what all of you create too.

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