Teachers can offer criteria to include, such as describing the animal’s habitat, ecological niche, and conservation threats, but some students may need more structure.
The following two examples provide formats for poems that are both easy to follow and easy to adapt based on particular learning criteria, such as descriptions of the animal, their diet, habitat, or threats to their population.
They will likely have strong feelings about each (It has been my experience that students either love or hate poetry, but usually become very excited to learn about nature.), but probably have not considered how the two may work together.
Try creating a Venn diagram on the board or on chart paper with the word “poetry” in one circle and the word “zoo” in the other.
The following list contains suggested questions, but I’m always amazed by what students can generate on their own: Back in class After searching for poetry at the zoo, students will hopefully be hungry to write their own poems.
For some students, the fun of this activity will be in having a chance to write something their way.
Preparing for your visit One of the last things that your students will be expecting to find at the zoo is poetry, but if you are hoping to provide them with a rich, interdisciplinary experience, it may be a good idea to prepare them prior to coming.
One way that might be useful to help prepare students would be to find out how they feel about both zoos and about poetry.
Acrostic Poem: a poem in which the first letter of each line spells a word vertically down the page; usually the word is also the subject of the poem.
A diamante is a seven-line poem, shaped like a diamond.