- variety of nonfiction books and magazines about different land and sea mammals, fish, birds, and insects
- large brown mural paper
- art materials, including drawing paper, colored construction paper, tempera paint, markers, pencils, crayons, feathers, felt, glue, and animal-pattern paper
- child safety scissors
- chart paper
Collect a variety of nonfiction books about animals, birds, fish, and insects to share with children over the course of a week or two. Invite children to share what they already know about the different animals. Encourage them to notice the different characteristics of the animals.
Create lists of different types of animals, birds, fish, or insects. Discuss the varieties of living things that children are used to seeing in their own environment. Invite them to look through nonfiction books for additional ideas. Place the books in the science and library areas.
Explain to children that they will have a chance to create a large mural about animals, birds, fish, and insects. Divide the mural paper into sections for water, land, and sky.
Invite small groups to paint each of the three sections to represent water, land, and sky. Give them paint and help them mix colors for the different areas. They can draw or cut out pictures of trees and plants and glue them onto the brown paper.
Provide children with the suggested art materials and invite them to create animals, birds, fish, and insects. They can create them from their imagination or refer to photographs from books or magazines. Then ask them to glue their artwork onto the appropriate area of the mural.
Remember: Some children may prefer to cut out pictures of animals, fish, insects, and birds from old nature magazines and glue them onto the mural.
Reading and Learning Together Send home a list of animal books-fiction and nonfiction-that can be found at the local library. Include a note detailing what children are learning in school about animals and listing ideas for ways they can support this learning at home.
Curriculum Connection: SCIENCE
Outdoor Photo Journal Take the class on a nature walk to photograph the different types of animals or insects that are found in their environment. Remind them to observe quietly so that they can photograph the different living things that they may find. Then work with children to make their own nonfiction classroom book using the photographs and their own writings or dictations.