Throughout the year, I watch the monthly book order catalogs and use bonus points to purchase materials that fit into the themes I teach. Over the past decade or so, I have accumulated over 100 “animal” titles. The list of books below mainly includes broad topic books that I use in the beginning of the project as students search for the animal they want to learn more about.
Animal Atlas by Claire Llewellyn
An information-packed atlas that provides an exciting introduction to all kinds of animals. Colorful maps, stunning photographs, and informative illustrations show natural habitats around the world, and the wild animals that live in them.
Classroom Tip: The beautiful photographs in this book along with the informative text often sway students towards one particular animal they want to research for their project.
Awesome Animals: Ripley's Believe It or Not by Mary Packard; illustrated by Leanne Franson
Have you ever heard of a rat who can lay cable wire? How about a seeing-eye pony? A dog that can do math?!! These are just a few of the crazy cool creatures you will encounter in this latest Ripley's chapter book. This collection of amazing animal abilities is sure to astound!
Classroom Tip: This book is very good for students to find interesting facts they can share with the class.
Biggest, Strongest, Fastest by Steve Jenkins
What is the biggest animal in the world? The smallest? The strongest? Some of the answers are surprising! Learn about 14 amazing animals in this colorful collection of world records from the animal kingdom!
Classroom Tip: A good resource to help students see the similarities and differences between animals.
Easy Steps to Writing Fantastic Research Reports: Mini-lessons, Graphic Organizers, Student Checklists, and Rubrics To Help All Children Succeed At Every Step Of the Research Process by Jean Dreher, Kathryn Davis, Priscilla Waynant, Suzanne Clewell
Motivate students to research effectively with this helpful learning kit. Includes unique graphic organizers to help students formulate the right questions, reflection sheets that keep kids on schedule, mini-lessons that highlight key skills, management tips, reproducible rubrics, and more.
Classroom Tip: Appropriate for all levels of readers and writers. I use this as a resource to help students manage a long term project from start to finish.
How Animals Live: The Amazing World of Animals in the Wild by Esther Bertram, Bernard Stonehouse; illustrated by John Francis
Discover the extraordinary ways animals live in the wild! Rain forest, deserts, jungles, and oceans all spring to life in hundreds of vibrant color illustrations, and many types of creatures are covered, from birds to mammals to amphibians and insects. Through accessible explanations, budding zoologists will find out how animals care for their young, how they battle for life, and how they spend their lives: in groups, in partnerships, or alone.
Classroom Tip: Students always use this resource to help them take notes on animal homes.
Oh Baby!: Amazing Baby Animals by Kris Hirschmann
Inspired by a photo campaign for the Bronx Zoo, this baby animal picture book is full of facts and playful activities
Classroom Tip: Everyone loves baby animals and this resource will have them coming back for more family information.
Scholastic Atlas of Oceans
Get into the swim with this resource packed with facts. Learn the difference between an estuary and a fjord. See what's preserved on the ocean's floor and explore -- through beautiful illustrations and lots of maps and charts -- the unique and powerful science of the sea.
Classroom Tip: Sparks scientific curiosity and an interest in the world. Many students decide to go with an ocean animal after thumbing through this book.
Scholastic Encyclopedia of Animals by Laurence Pringle; illustrated by Norbert Wu
With beautiful full-color photographs and detailed text on 140 animals from alligators to zebras, this book provides a wealth of information children will need for school assignments. Pringle discusses physical characteristics of the animals, as well as their behaviors and habitats.
Classroom Tip: Challenging terms are defined in a glossary and pronunciations are given for every animal name. Students use this one to find out animal class, phylum, order, etc.
Speedy Facts: Penguins Swim But Don't Get Wet by Melvin Berger; Gilda Berger
Who knew that whales could be as tall as two-story buildings? Or that bears can swim sixty-two miles without stopping? This book is like living at the North Pole all year long.
Classroom Tip: All students love interesting if not odd facts about animals. This is a favorite for independent reading long after the project is complete.
35 Ready-to-Go Ways to Publish Students' Research & Writing by Michael Gravois
Motivate reluctant report writers with these creative, ready-to-go alternatives to traditional reports. Ideas include data disks, lock books, interactive notebooks, story wheels, circle books, and 30 more classroom-tested ideas.
Classroom Tip: This resource includes reproducible templates and easy-to-follow directions to help you come up with a creative way to publish research reports and projects all through the year.