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.
Advanced Beginners in grades K-1and Beginning ESL students in grades 2-8.
Content Concepts & Skills
Animal vocabulary; the food chain
Names of the most comman zoo and farm animals;jungle; walk, run, swim, fly, crawl, hop, and climb
Materials or ResourcesPictures 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.
- Say the name of each animal as you point to a picture.
- You can also introduce animal names through Usborne's First Thousand Words. .
- Ask students to point to the correct pictures as you name the animals.
- For those students who seem ready, indicate an item and ask, "What is this?"
- Provide students with a second set of animal pictures or cards. Have them use the cards to make flash cards and play concentration games.
- Encourage students to color the pictures using a picture dictionary or encyclopedia to find realistic colors. You may wish to have students keep these pages in their folder so that they are readily available when they are completing the other animal activities in this unit.
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:
- according to how they move: fly, swim, hop/jump or run/walk/crawl (students can do this using pictures to sort animals in various categories).
- zoo or farm animals
- according to habitat
- according to their covering: fur/feathers/skin
- according to what they eat: plants, other animals, both
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
© 1998-2004 Judie Haynes, www.everythingESL.net