We delivered a Night Zookeeper day at the amazing Elm Park Primary school last week. However, this day was not just about magical animals and and self expression. The teachers leading this project have decided to bring in digital experts from classrooms across the school to mentor Year 1 children.
The digital leaders have all been assigned two young students to coach throughout the 10 week period. They will take on different tasks each week from uploading information to websites and blogs to creating stop motion animations. It was great to see the children’s communication skills being tested from the very start of the day. The animal aerobics session certainly helped to break the ice and gave the students a relaxed situation to get to know one another. They then moved into the classroom to help the younger children construct basic sentences and stretched their level of vocabulary. We also found time to work our way through some of the creative missions on the Drawing Torch iPad App. The digital leaders took the lead during this session and were able to answer every question their younger counterparts posed.
We rounded off the day with a creative painting session, which enabled the children to produce artistic representations of their magical animals. The digital leaders then learnt how to use www.nightzookeeper.com to create their own digital zoo. They will take this learning into the session next week and teach the Year 1 children how to upload their creations.
I will be involved in the project along the way through the use of video chat software as well as coveritlive, which I’ll be using to lead a live writing session from within the Night Zoo. I am excited to see how the children progress throughout the next 10 weeks. It will be particularly interesting to assess the witness the impact the project has on their social and communication skills.
We will be working with a variety of software throughout the day. I have listed these below along with some helpful links to suggested projects and tutorials.
iPad apps to try:
It is going to be a very exciting day filled with creativity. I will be sure to post completed creations throughout the day.
Good luck to all attending!
Reading Torch Competition
We have launched a Reading Competition in partnership with the National Literacy trust. The competition will challenge your students to read for a total of 9 hours to acquire power for their magical Reading Torch. This will be recorded in a Night Zookeeper Training Manual, which you’ll be able to download from the competition page on the National Literacy Trust website. You can register here and receive the above poster plus resources to support your students throughout the summer term.
I discovered Coveritlive through connecting with educators on Twitter. I observed a session lead by Cherise Duxbury, during which she had invited an expert to work with her class on compound sentences.
I immediately saw the potential for this tool to be used with the Night Zookeeper project. I have since been working with students to take them in to the Night Zoo, via coveritlive. I am able to set them challenges (or missions as the animals like to call them) throughout the session based on the age and ability level of the students.
However, the most interesting aspect of using this software is that students begin to peer assess one another live. They are able to suggest improvements to pieces of writing and gain instant feedback from their friends as they write.
Getting started with Coveritlive
1. Visit Coveritlive.com and register
2. Add a new event in the left hand menu
3. Choose settings for your session including your title
4. Add publishers in the next menu to help moderate content
5. Copy the embed code for the consol which you can then embed in your school blog
6. Launch your event (or wait for the scheduled date and time)
7. You will be presented with a publishers consol. You can control the session from here and publish the content that your students submit
8. You are now ready to start writing and publishing content
Additional features include:
- uploading media such as video and photos
- running quick polls and multiple choice trivia questions
- newsflash headlines
- send direct messages to a particular student
I have captured this screen recording, which should walk you through the above and should help you get started. You can also have a browse through a previous Night Zookeeper Coveritlive session here. Please message @nightzookeeper if you would like any help of would like to run a session with your students.
NIGHT ZOOKEEPER PROJECT REFLECTION
The following guest post has been written by Catherine Monaghan from Middleham Primary School. She talks in depth about her student’s experience with the Night Zookeeper project. There are some amazing ideas within the reflection. You can see the project taking shape on their class blog: A Room with a View
Catherine begins: The Night Zoo was recommended to me by a ten year-old – possibly the best recommendation that you can have. “You’ve GOT to do this with your class, because they will LOVE it!” So I investigated its possibilities.
It seemed to me to be an easily adaptable, concise and well considered literacy-based topic which could stand alone or link to other areas. Our French topic for the half term was ‘Les animaux de la jungle’ so I decided to link the two, with a bit of art thrown in!
From the outset, the children were gripped. They loved the idea of the zoo, and the idea that their creations could enter this zoo… if they came up to scratch! As a blogging, skyping, ICT-loving class, the idea of working on i-Pads and computers as part of the project was taken in their stride, and they were soon using their log-ins at home to share their work so far with siblings and parents.
There were many opportunities for talk for writing, and the children enjoyed discussing the animals’ characteristics and powers as they drew, painted, and created their creatures on paper. We used Eric Carle’s illustrations as inspiration for our own art work, and had a lovely afternoon reading swap with the infant class where we took our favourite Eric Carle stories and shared them with our buddies in the class below. We analysed his use of colour and techniques for creating animals and backgrounds from patterned and textured paper, and went about creating our own, bringing in and foraging round the school for interesting items to use – forks, corks, combs, sponges, coins, string, clay tools and different textures and types of paper.
The scheme allowed us to extend our work on familiarisation with grammatical terminology in preparation for the new SPA G tests higher up the school, and we were soon talking nouns and adjectives, alliteration, simile and metaphor with ease. We used ‘Pass the Bomb’ and word games (some from Pie Corbett’s Jumpstart Literacy) to consolidate our learning in this area. We progressed through the discussion phases to planning and writing our stories, and had a formal Big Writing session of 40 minutes to write our stories, at the end of which the children begged for more time. Most wrote for an hour with short breaks to share their ‘best bits’ , in order to complete their work.
We then took our artwork and used it again in various ways. We shared it in celebration assembly and through our blog. We reduced the scanned images to a smaller format and created a plan of our zoo on A1 squared paper in our maths groups. Each enclosure was a different shape, and images of the different animals were placed in each. Additional features were added (gift shop, café, toilets!) as well as paths between the enclosures. We then used our plans for:
- Revision of basic shapes
- Properties of shapes
- Symmetry of regular shapes
- Careful measuring with a ruler (to the nearest cm, ½ cm & mm)
- Introduction of the word ‘perimeter’ for Y3 and measurement of perimeter for Y4.
- Co-ordinates, position and direction (including giant games of zoo battleships!)
In French, we considered how to name our animals using the vocabulary we had learned: le zébre-éléphant, le singe-hibou etc. It provided us with an opportunity to revise how we use dictionaries in French (French in the front!) and to enjoy wordplay in another language. We extended it to phrases using key vocabulary – j’aime, j’adore, je n’aime pas, je déteste – and through using this daily at registration time, we have progressed to sentences with constructions such as:
Moi, j’adore les zébre-éléphants, et j’aime les hamsters aussi. (Y4)
We had a go at using the language we know in Puppet Pals by creating puppets from the scanned images and choosing suitable backgrounds for our creations. You can see what the children created here.
The scanned and reduced artwork images had their final outing in Science. The focus this term has been electricity, and to end the topic we created electricity quiz games using a buzzer or light and simple circuit to test our answers. The zoo animals and their names in French had to be matched to make the buzzer light up. We used phrases ‘C’est bon!’ and ‘ça ne marche pas!’ when we played our games with each other.
So, our Night Zookeeper project has encompassed:
Literacy: reading, writing and speaking & listening/ Maths/ Science/ ICT/ MFL/Art
It has encouraged creativity, imagination, sharing and discussion.
The highlight of the project for the children was a Skype with the Night Zookeeper, where the questions flowed and curiosity grew… it was followed by an in depth discussion amongst the children as to how they could visit the night zoo. Speculation on its location was intense, and they went through many different possibilities before generally agreeing that the most likely place for it to be was London. The class will be visiting London in March for a trip to the British Museum, and will also be taking an open-top bus tour of the city, as only one child in the class has ever visited the capital. They agreed that they would spend the time on the bus looking for clues for the Night Zoo – they agreed that it wouldn’t be obvious, they wouldn’t be able to actually see it but from their vantage point on the top deck, they would spot possibly a flamingo flying over the roof tops, or a Night Zookeeper in the crowd… it was a beautiful discussion to witness, and possibly the highlight of the project for their teacher!
IMPACT ON WRITING
As a teacher, I particularly liked the following:
- Plentiful opportunities for talk for writing
- Smaller writing opportunities throughout
- Writing for a purpose
- Relevant grammatical content
- Opportunities to extend
- Easily differentiated
At Y3/4, most children find writing stories easier than writing non-fiction texts, but assessment of the written work showed that all children had achieved well and written extensively.
- The children consolidated their understanding of story structure.
- They used alliteration and plentiful adventurous adjectives in their work.
- They wrote for an extended period of time.
- Work had a clear structure.
- They wanted to share their stories with others (peers, teachers, other children in the school, families).
After the writing session, there was a ‘buzz’ in the classroom of positivity: they felt good about their work – all the children enjoyed their writing, and before the work was marked, knew that they had performed well and looked forward to receiving feedback.
The project appealed equally to girls and boys, there was no distinction between which gender group performed better. (It is a small cohort and this is not unusual).
One child took her unfinished story home and wrote extensively with the help of a brother and a parent to continue, and is still working on her ending.
‘That is the first time I have not wanted to stop writing. My hand hurts and it feels good!’ Y4 boy.
The Night Zookeeper project has given children a sense of achievement and concrete evidence that they can write well. It has boosted confidence and allowed all children to be included in a celebration of good writing. As a teacher, it has been satisfying to engage with the Night Zookeeper project because it allows for extension and creativity in cross-curricular lesson planning as well. My 10 year old adviser was right, we really did LOVE it!
Catherine Monaghan, Year 3/4 teacher.
The Lonely Spying Giraffe
I’m to tell you a tale about a giraffe they call him the spying giraffe, they call him the spying giraffe because he spy’s on people evernight or nearly everyday. Nobody likes him but he has got to imaginary friends and a monkey friend. His two imaginary friends names are Frank and Frankie and his other friends name is Albert everybody might laugh at there names but they have to cope with it.
Let me tell you a little secret that nobody knows the spying giraffe goes out through the day well everbody is asleep he sneaks out of the zoo and smashes people’s windows and nobody knows it’s him. on that paticular night the spying giraffe shouted his three friends ,but for a second he thought something had happend because they normally shout i’m coming but there was no reply. He got up and ran to there little cave ,” OW NO THEY’VE GONE”.
Everybody woke up because they normally wake up at 7 anyway and they all shouted ”what’s the problem”? He started to cry because he likes his friends and now they have gone i miss them already and were could they have gone. He walked of crying his eyes out. The next he got up really early and went out searching for his friends. Half an hour later he was back at the zoo because he could not find his three friends 5 hours later he was even more upset because like i said he could still not find his friends.
Six months later his friends was still not found he was still thinking were his friends could be. 4 more hours until it gets darkand i still need to find my ” Please god let me find my friends!” on that last street was the animal kennel, he ran to the kennel looking all excited…
The Talking Tarantula
“What are Spying Giraffes” You ask well i maybe the only zookeeper who can tell you. Spying Giraffes are almost invisable, they hide around the zoo taking pictures with their incredebly cool camera eyes and if they see anybody feeding or stealing or even anything they should’t be they take pictures of them for proof to report them to the zoo animal jail.
Next on my rounds is a really special animal that can talk it is called a Talking Tarantula. The talking trantula lives in a very small underground habbitat and do you want know the secret of why he is special. Ok because you are desperate i will tell you the talking trantula is special because he can talk but not like me and you he writes with his web but special codes that only other special animals can read.
Next on my rounds is a animal that lives in the coner of the zoo, it is a stable themed room. It is called the happy hopping horse. “What is the happy hopping horse?” you ask well i maybe the only zookeeper in the world who can tell you. The happy hopping horse is the animal that hops around the zoo, making sure that every animal is having a good time. Everybody thinks they know what he looks like but he doesnt just look like an oirdinary horse he only has two legs which he hops around on.
The Mysterious Monkey
Hello there, my name is olivia, i am the night zookeeper at my zoo, well, its not exactly my zoo but at night i like to pretend it is mine, just think a full zoo filled with animals just for you! Wow, now that would be amazing wouldnt it? Well anyway, back to the story.
The first animal on my rounds, is the most mysterious animal you will ever, ever see in your whole entire life, ever! That’s when we go to zone 1, the mysterious monkey enclosures. What are mysterious monkey you ask? Well, i may be the only zoo keeper in the world who can tell you, well, where do i begin, the mysterious monkeys talk, fly, sing, you name it they do it!
Now let me begin to tell you all the weird and wonderfull things that you just need to know about this magical creature, but first, i will let you into a little secret first, i am the only person in the world, who has ever seen one of these creatures before so you must keep it a secret! I managed to get a very faint photo of this creature, when it shot through the trees. It was just amazing, but it was worth it.
The mysterious monkey came from the south of Australia in a small town right next to the sea called Google, but Google is no ordinary town i tell you, it is a very strange town i tell you, it has candy cane trees with sticky strawberries and goey apples, you think of it, they have it. They have everything you could ever want there, and it is also home to the biggest chocolate and sweet factory ever! That is where the mysterious monkeys work, they are secret you see, and that is how nobody has ever heard of them, and no one ever will, apart from me.
Now let me tell you more about the mysterious monkeys. Mysterious monkeys like to drink strawberry milkshake and sticky strawberries, they also love to eat fly soup, yuck! mysterious monkeys build their houses out of pink bamboo sticks and blueberry glue, and they decorate them with bon bon flowers and coconut shells painted purple! I have never visited the village of Google before, but i have heard alot about it as the mysterious monkeys have told me, and that is because they can talk! and that is mainly all they do, talk, talk, talk all day.They can also sing, they hold private concerts, but the only thing is the mysterious monkey doesnt really have any friends, but he does have some very nice and very friendly imaginary friends, their names are bob, bobby and bobble.
As we now speak i am walking round to zone 1 to see the mysterious monkey, he is very pleased to see me. Where has he gone? Oh no if he has got out again i am going to be in soooo much trouble! You just don’t understand do you? My boss Mr Boogie is extremly obnoxious and if he finds out he will fire me and i will never be allowed to work in a zoo ever, ever, ever again!
Right, I need to think of places mysterious monkey could of gone to. Aha! He has gone to bobbles house and he has took my extremely expensive car. What! He has took my extremeley expensive car!!! Right the only thing i can take is the zoo keepers golf cart, its not mine but i need to get there as soon as possible!! Ok it’s over there, halehluyah! She has left the keys in there! Vroom! And off i go! Weeeeeeeee! And I’m here. Ahhhhhh!! They’re having a party in bobbles house, must be a special occasion or something, oh yes i remember now, it is bobbles birthday today.
Ok, back to the search, oh there he is. What is he doing to my car! Him and 10 dancing dogs are spray painting it black and gold!!! GET OFF NOWWW!!! Mysterious monkey you are coming home with me young man! Ok but i am not getting a punishment of cleaning the donkey enclosure again! Oh yes you are, and reader i am so sorry but i have to go now, Bye!
Tommy the Tortoise
It was a dark and gloomy night and Tommy the tortoise was in his house writing notes about what had happened in the zoo. Some animals had been taken from their enclosures: one monkey, two zebras, three lions and four rhinos.
Tommy stopped writing and thought for a minute. He thought that if there were animals out there that were in danger why isn’t he going in to that jungle and saving them poor creatures? Well because it was pitch black and mid night but he needed to save them. So he called up some animal friends that worked in A & E. Because he definitely couldn’t do it by his self.
So Tommy set off through the frightening forest with his three friends Kyle the cockerel, Sam the sloth and pip the panda. Kyle accidentally kicked a stone onto the bridge of bravery the stone landed on one of the planks the plank plunged into the lava and was soon gone they risked it and tip toed one by one over it they finally made it to the crocodiles cave. No one was there the crocodile must have gone out.