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As a result, classes could view a few short excerpts from the film to help stimulate a discussion: How are animals portrayed in the film?
They will likely have strong feelings about each (It has been my experience that students either love or hate poetry, but usually become very excited to learn about nature.), but probably have not considered how the two may work together.
Try creating a Venn diagram on the board or on chart paper with the word “poetry” in one circle and the word “zoo” in the other.
The following list contains suggested questions, but I’m always amazed by what students can generate on their own: Back in class After searching for poetry at the zoo, students will hopefully be hungry to write their own poems.
For some students, the fun of this activity will be in having a chance to write something their way.
Teachers can offer criteria to include, such as describing the animal’s habitat, ecological niche, and conservation threats, but some students may need more structure.
The following two examples provide formats for poems that are both easy to follow and easy to adapt based on particular learning criteria, such as descriptions of the animal, their diet, habitat, or threats to their population.
Zoos are ripe for this sort of interdisciplinary learning; many zoos already have poetry installations throughout their exhibits.
In fact, five zoos across the United States have partnered with various organizations and poets-in-residence to create intentional poetry installations: New Orleans, Louisiana; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Little Rock, Arkansas; Jacksonville, Florida; and Brookfield, Illinois.
While these lessons were designed with high school students in mind, I think they could easily be adapted for middle and upper elementary grades.
Lesson 1: A visit to the zoo A visit to the local zoo is always exciting for students.