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Sign me up Stay informed about special deals, the latest products, events, and more from Microsoft Store. Sign up. Thank you! Talk to an expert. Text chat. Call for Microsoft Store sale and customer support I want to be the dog now. Figure 1. Susie took Chris for a walk using the plastic chain links. The children asked no specific questions about animals or animal care during this visit. In spite of hearing the information about animals and animal care from the book and the guest speaker, the children still did not convert their interests and ideas into creating a dramatic play area focusing on animals.

This was apparent when Sue decided it was time to ask the children to generate a list of possible directions for the dramatic play area to take.


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Because it was not feasible to include all of these ideas, Sue suggested taking a vote. Rather than having strong convictions about what type of dramatic play center they wanted, it appeared that the children were interested in being part of the process of generating ideas and voting; I noted that many children did not vote for their own suggestions. The results of the voting are shown below initials indicate which child made the suggestion. The final decision, based on the votes, was to turn the dramatic play area into a zoo. This decision led to several other large group discussions.

Sue and I wondered what the zoo should include and how to guide the children toward taking ownership of the process. Below are two samples.

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The children began to bring stuffed animals from home. They brought toy giraffes, elephants, whales, snakes, cats, pigs, cows, polar bears, teddy bears, birds, dogs, penguins, rhinos, rabbits, water buffaloes, tigers, lions. The collection grew, but the zoo did not. The animals were stacked on shelves and brought out to play with during choice time.

We also wanted the children to develop greater understanding of what having a zoo might entail, as they moved toward creating one in support of their own dramatic play. Sue began a unit of study in science that was focused on animals.

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She read books to the class and introduced new vocabulary such as hibernate, nocturnal, oviparous , and habitats. Sue also utilized a few of the Harcourt Reading Series books related to animals during reading time. Other nonfiction and fiction books about animals were already present in the classroom see the book list at the end of the article.

New vocabulary related to animals and zoos emerged during group meetings and reading. A new word, such as omnivorous , would be said aloud to the class, reviewed again by revisiting the word or asking questions related to its definition, and then supported by reports the children prepared to present later in the month.

The reports were part of a homework assignment that Sue created in order to bring more family involvement into the investigation. She asked each child to find information on an animal of his or her choice and to share that information with the class. The questions on the report included the following:.

During center time, Sue also worked with small groups of children to help them fashion animals out of clay. Each group had 30 minutes with the teacher, but the children could continue to work on their animals over the next few days, if they chose. Most of the children took great care with their creations and appeared to pay more attention to the unique characteristics of their animal than they had prior to their study of animals.

For example, Molly, in the picture below, reviewed a nonfiction book of wild animals while creating her cheetah out of clay. She also created a giraffe picture, indicating the presence of giraffes after reviewing the same wild animal book.

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Brandon attempted to create an elephant. His creation had several weak spots, but he was determined to have a trunk and ears on his clay animal and worked until his elephant stood independently. Chris, on the other hand, was content to shape his clay in just a few minutes. He said he was making a dog, but he decided it looked like a fish, so a fish it remained. Figure 2. Figure 3.

Children made sketches for signs indicating the presence of the giraffes after looking at a book about wild animals. The children were especially excited to hear sounds of animals and view the pictures and brief descriptive summaries of each animal on the Web site. Sue and I both noted that children were discussing their prior experiences of being at a zoo and pinpointing similarities and differences among animals on the Web site during choice time.

In these conversations, children utilized terms such as rain forest and jungle which they used interchangeably , habitats, and environments.

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They began to be able to label the stuffed animals within the classroom to some extent. For example, a few of the boys labeled the snakes as cobras or pythons, indicating that these were types of snakes that needed trees to climb and water for swimming and drinking. What did the animals look like?