Amazing Animals

Amazing Animals

by Judie Haynes

Animals are of great interest to all students. Try this fascinating topic with multi-level classes of varying English-language ability.

In many cultures animals are not studied in school until biology is introduced. Your English language learners will be engrossed by the material and will acquire information that is both new and compelling.

This lesson is for K-1 and all beginning ESL students. It follows the TESOL's ESL Standards for Pre-K-12 Students.

Lesson topic

Animals

Proficiency/Grade level

Advanced Beginners in grades K-1and Beginning ESL students in grades 2-8.

Content Concepts & Skills

Animal vocabulary; the food chain

Vocabulary needed

Names of the most comman zoo and farm animals;jungle; walk, run, swim, fly, crawl, hop, and climb

Materials or Resources

Pictures of a large number of animals from different classes; pictures of animal body parts and skin coverings; well illustrated books with pictures of animals in them

Instructional Sequence for K-1 students and beginners in all grades

1. Teach the vocabulary for animal names.

2. Teach students to sort and classify information. Review the words walk, run, swim, fly, crawl , hop, and climb. If students are ready, provide a model question/answer conversation starter. Begin with "Can a lion fly?" Beginning students may respond with "No." When they are ready, have newcomers respond to embedded questions such as "Does a lion run or fly."

3.Give students a variety of experiences with animals by reading books to them on different animals. JoAnne Nelson's Hatched From An Egg, Backyard Bugs and Home in a Tree are good starting books for grades K-2. As you read each book, discuss what different animals eat. Use the term meat-eater, plant-eater, omnivore, herbivore, carnivore appropriate to the age and language level of your students.

4. Once students have learned the names of various animals, have K-1 students categorize animals in the following ways:

5. For K-1 students, I like the Wright Group's Song Box materials. They are lots of fun and students really learn. Some of these titles are: Busy Bees, Frog on a Log, Munch. Munch. Munch, Bear Facts and The Predator (see Animal Resources at bottom of article) Each book has a wealth of ideas for lesson activities. Have students learn the life cycle of a frog with Frog on a Log. As a follow-up activity, help students to write an accordian book about the life cycle of a frog. Download the Frog accordian book (8K .PDF) Fold the book into five sections.

6. Teach the food chain by cutting out five strips of contruction paper for each student in your class. Have students illustrate and write four steps in the food chain: The sun makes plants grow; a rabbit eats the plant; a snakes eats the rabbit; a hawk eats the snake. Write a title on one of the strips. Put the strips together like a paper chain. Have students practice saying each step of the chain.

7. Use Venn diagrams or other types of charts to have students compare animals in different ways. Even beginning students can put a picture of a kangaroo under the word or picture "Hop" on a chart. (downloads: Whale or Shark? (13.4K .PDF), Spider or Insect? (26.4K .PDF)).

Books for K-1 students and beginners in all grades


Animals, Frank Schaffer Publications, Inc., Palos Verdes, CA.

Animal Habitats, Frank Schaffer Publications, Inc., Palos Verdes, CA

Berger, Melvin, Life in the Desert Newbridge Educational Publishing, New York: 1996


Berger, Melvin, Life in the Polar Regions Newbridge Educational Publishing, New York: 1994

Gentner, Norma, Bear Facts, The Song Box, The Wright Group, Bothell, Washington: 1993

Gentner, Norma, Baby Bumblebee, The Song Box, The Wright Group, Bothell, Washington:1995

Gentner, Norma, Busy Bees, The Song Box, The Wright Group, Bothell, Washington: 1995

Gentner, Norma, Frog on a Log, The Song Box, The Wright Group, Bothell, Washington: 1994

Gentner, Norma, Munch, Munch, Munch, The Song Box, The Wright Group, Bothell, Washington: 1993

Gentner, Norma, The Predator, The Song Box, The Wright Group, Bothell, Washington: 1995

James, Diane & Lynn, Sara, Animal Homes, Scholastic Inc., New York: 1994

Nelson, JoAnne, Backyard Bugs,Young Explorers, Modern Curriculum Press, Cleveland, Ohio: 1990

Nelson, JoAnne, Hatched from an Egg,Young Explorers, Modern Curriculum Press, Cleveland, Ohio: 1990

Nelson, JoAnne, A Home in a Tree,Young Explorers, Modern Curriculum Press, Cleveland, Ohio: 1990

Sheridan, John, Ants, Ants, Ants, The Sunshine Science Series, The Wright Group, Botheil, Wa: 1992

Sheridan, John, How Ants Live, The Sunshine Science Series, The Wright Group, Bothell, Wa: 1992

Computer Software For K-1 students and beginners in all grades

The San Diego Zoo Presents: The Animals;> The Software Toolworks, 1992

Dinosaur Adventure; Knowledge Adventure, La Crescenta, Ca.: 1993

Kid's Zoo;Knowledge Adventure, La Crescenta, Ca.: 1993


Activity Downloads

Note: To view the classroom activities, you must have Acrobat Reader intalled. Acrobat is a free application available from Adobe Systems.

PDF fileFrog accordian book (2k .PDF)

PDF fileWhale or Shark? (13k .PDF)

PDF fileSpider or insect? (26k .PDF)

Related Links

Categorizing & Classifying Animals
A companion piece to 'Amazing Animals,' this lesson is designed to teach English language learners in grades 2-8 about animal classification. It features more downloadable handouts and additional resources.

Resource Picks

Ranger Rick Science Spectacular
The Ranger Rick series of science books published by Newbridge are excellent for ELLs. The content is rich but the language is simplified. The pictures are appealing to students of all ages. Try any one of their titles, My students enjoyed: The World of Sound; Amazing Sharks; Animals in Danger or Bats!

Frog on a Log
A wonderful resource2 for teaching a kindergarten or 1st grade science unit on frogs. Complete with fun, engaging songs and terrific classroom activities. You will soon here your students sing to themselves, "I want to be an F-R-O-G frog and sit all day on an L-O-G spells log!" Includes cassette tape.

Living Things : Concept Science
This series of eleven books is an excellent introduction to basic concepts about animal classification. Using very simple language, each book clearly develops the basic attributes of nine classifications of animals. There is a quiz at the end of each book along with a few pages of activities.

Usborne's Animated First Thousand Words
With this CD-ROM from Scholastic, students can click on a picture, hear the words, and see how they are written in 35 scenes from everyday life. Originally designed to help young native speakers of English learn to read, this program is a great beginning vocabulary builder. You can buy it from Educational Resources, 1-800-624-2926 or you can find it online by going to Usborne Books At Home.

Life in the Polar Regions
Melvin Berger's Series on animal habitats for Newbridge Educational Publishing is an excellent resource2 for ELLs. Beautiful pictures with short text makes it a favorite.

Sounds of the world's animals
Enrich any lesson on animals with this Georgetown University site. Your students can hear the sounds of 36 animals in 34 different languages.