One of the most intimidating things to do in kindergarten is writing and research. Research involves a great deal of reading, comprehension, and vocabulary. And then you have to be able to translate that into writing. People, that is a daunting task for kindergartners and all early childhood classrooms Daunting, but not impossible. (I mean we did it and I still have all of my hair…so it’s totally something we can do!) Our zoo animals research project makes our zoo theme fun and engaging! And it’s aligned to the science of reading!
We use read-alouds and videos for our research. We use graphic organizers to record our research and learning. And then we use the organizers to complete our research journal. And finally, we use all of those resources to write! Not only are we learning to research and write, but we’re also meeting science standards as we learn about animals, habitats, and adaptations!
Research and writing made easy!
Can I just tell you that my kids are so excited and engaged every single day of this zoo animals research project? We have a blast learning about the different animals! The kids are so excited every day when we announce the animal we would be researching that day! I’m all about anything that gets the kids excited (especially at the end of the school year!).
So, here’s what our zoo animal research looks like in action:
We use read-alouds and videos for our research. As we’re reading we fill in our graphic organizer with the information we learn. It’s important to do the graphic organizer DURING the read aloud or it becomes a form of assessment and we don’t want it. And yes, I use the same color marker that matches the animal. I’m that person. And it’s OK!
Next, the kids write in their research journals. We offer differentiated writing pages to support all students. Some writing pages use sentence frames and some just provide lines. We have provided a space for the students to draw the animals! Students can copy from the graphic organizer, and they can write on their own or a combination of both! Some students will only draw and will dictate to us and that is perfectly acceptable too!
Students are encouraged to write on their own about each animal but some are more comfortable copying from the graphic organizers. THAT IS OK! I want them writing and if they need to lean on those graphic organizers, go for it. However, some kids are doing much more writing. It’s about meeting them where they are!
We label the parts of the animal. Again with the colors! Labeling is about building vocabulary and discussing adaptions and habitats. As we label the animals, we define the part, explain how it’s used and how it’s adapted to help the animal service in their habitat.
Zoo Animals Culminating Task
At the end of this animal research project, the students complete a culminating task. The idea is that they take the information they have learned about an animal and apply that learning. They do this by creating a zoo exhibit and an informational sign for that exhibit.
We also use our green screen technology to take pictures of each child with their chosen animal!
Zoo Animals Art
We also do an art project for the animal. We need beautiful art to display along with all of our new learning! (These are not included in our research project but are an additional activity we do!)
This year we focused on directed drawings for our art projects. These directions are from Art Projects For Kids and Pinterest.
For more resources, check out these creations:
For more resources and ideas, check out these blog posts: