Sunday, July 12, 2020

Curious Creatures, Wild Minds part five, ABC

Curious Creatures, Wild Minds

As a teacher-librarian my brain naturally classifies things - yes just like the Dewey Decimal System. When we think about animals, the alphabet is one possible way to organise the myriad of curious creatures especially for young children.

1. Pick a favourite letter or the letter at the start of your name
2. List some animals that start with that letter - this could be done in pairs
3. Put your class ideas together to display
4. Look at these lists
  • Are there some animals which are repeated? 
  • Are all animal groups represented (birds, fish, reptiles, mammals, amphibians, insects)? 
  • Did anyone list a less well known creature? 
  • Which letters are missing?
5. Grab as many non fiction books about animals as you can find in your library and go back to step one and see if you can add more animals to your letter and to the class display
6. The teacher shows the class some animal alphabet books - use the covers to guess what you might find inside. Perhaps the book focuses on one region eg Australia or one animal group?
7. If you have found more curious creatures you can add these to your class display
8. Now it is time for you 'wild mind' to fly. 
  • Pick an animal you have never heard of and set yourself some questions:
  • What does the animal look like? Paint a word picture  
  • Where does it live? Habitat and country
  • What does it eat? 
  • Is this animal in danger? Why?

Now you can make a page for your new animal alphabet book. How will you include some of the facts you have discovered?

Extension activity.  Try to find some animals with double names such as aye-aye and add them to your alphabet book. The science name for this is tautonym. This book is sadly out of print but you might be lucky and find it in a library:

Here is a Wonga Wonga:

Image source Birdlife Australia

 Here are a few from the many thousands of animal alphabet books available in shops and libraries.  This first one by Jennifer Cossins will be published in late October, 2020.

Let's explore a few of the more obscure letters.

I is for Ibex; Ibis; Impala; Indri
O is for Okapi; Olm; Ocelot
P is for Pangolin; Pademelon; Pika
Q is for Quail; Quoll; Quetzal
T is for Tenrec;Tarsier; Tuatara; Tapir
U is for Uakari;Umbrella Bird; Urail
V is for Vampire Bat; Vole; Vicuna; Vaquita
X  is for X-RayTetra; Xerus
Y is for Yak; Yabby; Yuma myotis
Z is for Zebu; Zebra Shark; Zebrafish

Try to find this book about a very curious animal - the Tenrec:

Further reading:

Animals A to Z
Animal Corner
Animal Fun facts
National Geographic Kids
World Wildlife Fund Endangered Animals
Switch Zoo animal list

Pinterest Kinderbookboard - Curious Creatures

I do enjoy reading alphabet books. I think this goes back to a black and white alphabet book (1961) I was given as a very young child. In this book X is for oX - which might be something your class could discuss.

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