Letter “Z” is for Zoo Week

Letter Z week was Zoo-rific!  There was an abundance of zoo-related items in the share box each day.  Nearly every animal made it into the classroom this week.  It was fun to look at the pocket size rhinoceros and a larger than life meerkat next to each other.  Speaking of size of the animals, one student brought in the most incredible zoo book that the teachers had ever seen.  Life-Size Zoo by Toyofumi Fukuda is a tall book with pages that unfold to reveal animal photographs of their heads printed exactly to size.  The students could hardly believe how large some of the animals heads actually were – especially next to their own!

(f.y.i.  There are several books in the Life-Size series – including additional zoo animals and an aquarium book as well)
The students kicked off the week by completing their letter Z tracing/writing identification activity sheets.  They enjoyed discussing and drawing Letter Z pictures such as: zebra, zoo, zipper, zookeeper to name a few.  During the afternoon on Monday and Tuesday, the students included these words on their word lists and more!

When asked by the teachers if they could think of any countries that began with Z, the students truly impressed their teachers.  Miss Justine, thinking of Zimbabwe, hinted that the country she had in mind was in Africa.  Much to her surprise, the students said Zimbabwe and proceeded to add Zambia to the list!  Completely shocked, the teachers then suggested the addition of the last African Z country, Zaire as well. Another country was suggested for the list, this one didn’t necessarily begin with a Z but it was such a good thought, so New Zealand was added as well.
On Wednesday, the PPA teachers made school seem like a real-life zoo!  Using face paint, the students were transformed into their favorite zoo animal.  Lions and Zebras seemed to be the most popular choice at the start although there were some other animals that were mentioned including armadillos, snakes, parrots, and polar bears!  Can you tell which animals these kids were transformed into?

The excitement continued in the afternoon when PPA was paid a special visit by a student’s Mommy, Granny, and Auntie!  Although local now, the student’s Mommy, Brenda, was born and raised in New Zealand.  The student’s Granny and Auntie however still live in New Zealand but made a special trip to New Jersey to see their family and to visit PPA!  Brenda led an amazing educational presentation about the country where she grew up.  She even introduced the students to some of the country’s rare and unique wildlife including the Kiwi bird and the Tuatara.

The Kiwi bird was a big hit, mainly because of it’s name.  The students thought it was super silly to have a bird with the same name as a fruit!  The laughter continued when they were informed that Kiwis have little wings and big bodies and therefore do not fly but rather walk!  The students had an opportunity to squeeze the Kiwi Bird and hear the silly sound it makes too!  Listen to the video below to hear a real Kiwi Bird in the wild!

The other native creature that the students learned about is called the Tuatara!  The tuatara is a reptile that traces back all the way to when the dinosaurs roamed the earth!  Watch this old-time video clip to learn a bit more about the tuatara!

A special thanks to our favorite New Zealanders or should we say our favorite “Kiwis”?

Thursday morning was particularly Zany!  Seeing that zebras were obviously the zoo animal that would be featured as a craft this week, the teachers decided that the zanier the zebras were, the better!  Using different colored tissue paper, the students added their own colorful stripes to add some excitement to the usually black and white zebras!

During the afternoon, the students began the final unit of Spanish – El transportacion (transportation).  Naturally, the students could hardly contain their excitement when the new vocabulary words were introduced.  El tren (train), el avion (airplane), el carro (car), and el barco (boat).

After practicing a bit, the students learned their new song.
La Cancion de el Transportacion (to the tune of ‘The Itsy Bitsy Spider)
A carro is a car,and a barco is a boat.Avion is plane, and tren is train.Carro, barco, avion, and tren -these are the things we rideagain and again.
On Friday, the students listened to a read aloud of a classroom favorite, ABC by Dr. Suess.

The story ends at the Letter Z page with this strange creature called a Zizzer Zazzer-Zuzz!

After finishing the story, the teachers asked the students what they thought a Zizzer Zazzer-Zuzz looked like.   Here are some of the students’ interpretation of the Zizzer Zazzer-Zuzz!

In the afternoon, the students had Spanish class where they reviewed their new transportation vocabulary.  Afterwards, they observed Dr. Suess’s ABC book come to life!

Well, that is all for Letter Z week.  Oh no!  We are all out of letters!  What will we do next?  No worries, it is alphabet review week next where the students will be working to construct a very special week-long project!  Stay tuned!
As always, thanks for reading and have a wonderful weekend!
-PPA