Sunday, February 12, 2017

7 Ways To Teach Animal Adaptations With Books, Research, Songs, Art and Technology!

Children love animals and all of the things that make them different.  

We, as librarians and teachers, need to help them expand their knowledge of animal features and behaviors that help them survive in their natural habitats.  By introducing new books and songs, developing rich lessons and having our students participate in creative, engaging projects we will do just that....and more!  

Animal adaptations are one of the best science topics to teach and here are 8 new books, songs and projects to bring to your library and classroom too!  
1. Teaching Animal Adaptations With Songs 

How about teaching your students about animal adaptations with songs?  

Well, with this new series from Cantata Learning you can do just that! 

One of my favorite new spring 2017 series from Cantata Learning is Animal Songs: Songs About Animal Adaptations Set
This fun series of four books was written by Vita Jimemez, illustrated by Katy Hudson and the music is by Drew Temperante.  

I love how each book invites young readers to explore the beautiful world of animals and their unique characteristics through a sing-along song and detailed, colorful illustrations.  
You will find the music for each book on the Cantata Learning website.  It can be streamed or downloaded.  There is also the instrumental versions too if they want to use when creating original lyrics.  
You can take a peak inside and sing along here!  This one and all Cantata Learning stories and songs can be found in the Cantata Learning YouTube Channel. 
You can also find a terrific lesson on the site that teachers students about different animal adaptations using the four new songs and stories in the Animal World series.  It can be downloaded from the Cantata Learning site here.  
The Art, Technology and PE Extensions included at the end of the lesson are meaningful, creative ways to extend the information and learning from the series.   

2. Teaching Animal Adaptations With Where The Wild Things Are, A Classic Picture Book 
I always love finding picture books to tie together with nonfiction.  Today I came across the perfect tie in for the Animal Songs series.  

It is using my all-time favorite picture book by writer and illustrator Maurice Sendak Where The Wild Things Are, which won the Caldecott Medal in 1964. 
You can find it here.
I love this project for using one of my favorite books Where The Wild Things Are to teach children about animal adaptations.  How fun would they think this is!  

You can get the Wild Thing Adaptations Project here on Teachers Pay Teachers too!

3. Teaching Animal Adaptations Through Research 
As students learn more about animal adaptations, PebbleGo Animals from Capstone is the perfect place to go for researching all of these things. 
Capstone also created PebbleGo Animales which is the Spanish version of PebbleGo Animals.  

4. Teaching Animal Adaptations With Digital Tools 
My students loved this next one... Build Your Wild Self which allows them to create their very own mixed up animal self.

They can choose different characteristics such as Ears, Face, Arms, Bottoms, Tails and little details to make it look like them too such as Eyes Colors, Glasses, Braces and Clothes.
Once their wild self is ready it will also tell them What's Wild About You too, which explains the different parts of each.  
Another digital tool that my students love (and we love it at home too) is Switch Zoo Animal Games, especially...
 Switch Zoo!
 With Switch Zoo, they can make new animals online by choosing different tails, legs and heads,
 while creating their very own story in the...
Switch Zoo Creative Writing Field Trip too.
The Switch Zoo App is another place to go, just like the online version.  

All three of these digital tools are free!  

5. Teaching Animal Adaptations Through Art and Making 
Once they have learned about animal adaptations and created their very own mixed up animals using technology, how about having them show what they know by making through different art projects too.  

One tool my students loved using in our Makerspace to create their own, unique animals was the 3Doodler.   They can create their own from scratch and...
look at the different Projects on the 3Doodler site for lots of ideas.  
 Here is one for creating a Gorilla.  
It is important to show them how to create a pattern when using the 3Doodler.  

So if they are going to make their own and need a little help, have them make a pattern for their crazy, mixed up animal too.  

They could even use the new creature they made in Build Your Wild Self or Switch Zoo. 
If you are looking for even more ideas, check out this awesome Pinterest Board...Mixed Up Animals which is full of more books, art activities, projects and digital tools.

6. Teaching Animal Adaptations By Creating and Publishing Their Own Digital Story Using Buncee
My favorite digital storytelling and presentation tool is Buncee.  

This incredible web-based tool gives students and educators the space they need to create, learn and publish online, sharing their Buncee's with their community and the world.

Buncee can be used in teaching animal adaptations by creating and publishing their own digital story.
 In our digital story Our Mixed Up Class From Iowa Visits The Jungle, Hagan and I smashed Build Your Wild Self, the songs and stories from Cantata Learning's Animal Songs: Songs About Animal Adaptations Set...
...and research from PebbleGo Animals with Buncee to create a very creative, interactive and personalized story showing our animal adaption knowledge.
Then just take a screen shot of what is created in Build Your Wild Self and...
add stickers, animation and any other kind of media that tells the story of their unique animal with all new adaptations.
You can even have them add a Video from Pick Media Type .
It is easy for them to click on this and record right within their Buncee.

Check out Hagan's on our Buncee.

7. Teaching Animal Adaptations By Asking Questions Within Buncee

Within Buncee, you can also add Multiple Choice Questions and Free Response Questions by clicking on the two purple buttons at the bottom of Pick Media Type.  
 I added a Free Response Question to the slide about PebbleGo to ask them...
this question.  They will read it and type their response into the box.

You can now view the entire Buncee we created here or by clicking on the embedded box above.  

And you can even use this too in creating your own for your students by clipping the pages you want to use in your Buncee too.  

As you can see there are so many fun, creative ways to teach, learn and show animal adaptations.  I can't wait to hear how you and your students do this too!  

Please share your ideas.  

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