Susan M. Glines-Thompson
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Topic: Animal Homes
Subject: Integrated Language Arts/Science/Social Studies
Grade Level: First Grade
Student Lesson name and URL:
This lesson will guide students through an exploration of several different animal habitats to help students understand that animal homes are suited to meet the special needs of the animal that lives in it.  Students will be encouraged to identity and discuss how animals need homes for some of the same reasons that people need homes and to speculate how each home suits the special needs of the animal that lives in it.  Students will view a Power Point presentation on 5 different animal habitats, read several stories about animal homes, identify whether the homes were on, above or beneath the ground or in water. Students will then be guided to compare and contrast one animal's home with human homes, discussing how the homes suit the inhabitants in the area and climate in which they live.  As a culminating activity students will write a  friendly letter to the animal of their choice, either inviting their animal to  "sleep over" or declining an invitation to "sleep over" stating what modifications will be needed or why it would be impossible.  tandards Addressed
 * California State Standards this lesson addresses. 
Language Arts Content Strand: Writing
1.0 Writing Strategies
Organization and Focus 
    1.1 Select a focus when writing. 
    1.2 Use descriptive words when writing. 
    1.3 Print legibly and space letters, words, and sentences appropriately. Science: Focus on Earth Science
2 Plants and animals meet their needs in different ways
  2c Students know animals eat plants or other animals for food and 
       may use plants or even other animals for shelter and nesting. 
4 Investigation and Experimentation 
  4a Draw pictures that portray some features of the thing being 
  4b Record observations and data with pictures, numbers, or
        written statements. 
  4d Describe the relative position of objects by using two 
       references (e.g., above and next to, below and left of). 

Social Studies: A Child's Place In Time and Space
1.2 Students compare and contrast the absolute and relative locations 
      of places and people and describe the physical and/or human 
      characteristics of places.
4.0 Describe how location, weather and physical environment 
      affect the way people live, including the effects on their 
      food, clothing, shelter, transportation and recreation.

nstructional Objectives
 1. Students will identify the location and type of home of several
     ground different animals  for example, a koala bear lives above 
     the in Eucalyptus trees on the continent of Australia. 
 2. Students will identify and discuss how animals need homes for 
     shelter, protection, and for some a place to store or get their food.
 3. Students will identify several different climates animals live in and
     tell how the climate affects the animals' special needs and type 
     of home it lives in.
 4 Students will identify several different climates animals live in and
     tell how the climate affects the animals' special needs and type 
     of home it lives in. 
 5. Students will name several different types of animal homes e.g., 
     burrow, den, etc.
 6. Students will use a Venn diagram to compare and contrast one 
     animal home with their home.
 7. Students will write a friendly letter using describing words and 
     pictures demonstrating their understanding of the similarities and 
     differences of one animal's needs with their needs. 
  tudent Activities
The introductory activity   Student Homeroom is designed to assess  and activate the students' background knowledge using a well known graphic organizer called the KWHL. Teaching of vocabulary words is also done to scaffold student's prior knowledge with the content to be studied and should be continued throughout the unit.  The enabling activities - Student Activities  &  Reading Corner consists of a Power Point Presentation for whole class discovery and discussion, reading several different types of books about animal homes, songs and web site visits with live cameras, maps and other multimedia sources, and a mini writing lesson where the teacher models the writing of the friendly letter in the culminating activity. The culminating activity -   Student Page allows the student to simulate and creatively apply what they learned in this unit. Students will write a  friendly letter to the animal of their choice, either inviting their animal to  "sleep over" or declining an invitation to "sleep over" stating what modifications will be needed or why it would be impossible. The enrichment activities -  Student Page are a list of suggestions and their resources for ways to extent students knowledge.  One such activity is a natural progression to research and writing animal fact books.  The language support activities - Student Activities are suggested ways to develop the English Language for all students to strengthen comprehension and to provide access to the content for English as a Second Language Learners. Introductory Activity
 1.The teacher will record student responses to the following
    questions responses on chart paper or chalkboard: 
        - Name some animals that you know, (record the responses on
          large chart paper using the *graphic organizer shown below).
        - Do you know where these animals live? 
        - What kind of climate do they in? 
        - What kind of homes do they live in or build?
        - What kind of homes do people live in? 
        - Why do we need homes?
        - What would you like to know about homes?
        - How can we find the answers to these questions?

  *A graphic organizer that is useful here is called a KWL and the KWHL

Animal Homes

Vocabulary instruction:
Words will vary depending on student needs and base knowledge as well as
on which stories are chosen for the reading portion of the unit.   A list of such
words would almost certainly include:
habitat        shelter        burrow        meadow        plains        marsh        continent
island          dwelling      valley         reef               peering      scurry       soil 
Resources: Effective Strategies for Vocabulary Instruction

Enabling Activities)
1. Power Point Presentation
nimal Homes by Susan M. Glines

2. eading: 
*Several of the titles listed below can be found in the Open Court 1st grade anthology.
Choose several of these books for read alouds.  Discuss how these homes meet the special needs of the animals and their environment.  Several of these selections could be used to illustrate the differences between fictional and non fictional writing. 

an informational selection by Illa Podendorf

a fantasy by Margaret Wise Brown

a pictorial essay by Marie Aubinais

an informational book by Megan McDonald

by Eric Carle

by Laura Fischetto
People are cutting down jungle tress.  Now many animals
must look for new homes.

Magazines and Reference Books:
Zoo Books
Encarta online
Animal fact books from the Library 
(see resources below and the Teacher's Corner)

eb Surfing: 
I have provided several web links to various sites that are rich with information, pictures, slide shows, sounds, and Live Cams about animals in the student Homeroom page.  I would demonstate how to use these links for several days before allowing them to surf during workshop or computer lab time.  I have a large screen TV mounted on the wall equiped with a PC to TV RF~Link converter for teaching whole class word processing, reading skills and various other applications.

4. Using a Venn Diagram to compare and contrast one type of animal home with human homes. Lead students to discover that animals build or use homes for many of the same reasons people do.  This activity will also prepare the students for the writing portion of this unit, helping students focus in on the special needs of the animals. Discuss what accommodations this animal would need to successfully spend the night at their house or why it would be impossible for the student to spend the night at the animal's home.  Brainstorm the same for several other animals.  A web type graphic organizer would be a good method for recording.  It also helps facilitate understanding for ESL students.

5. Mini Writing Lesson 
Review Letter format by Model writing an invitation to an animal following
guidelines set out in the culminating activity on large chart paper or on 
computer screen if you have TV out capabilities. Mini Writing Lesson

ulminating Activity 
1.Students will write a  friendly letter to the animal of their choice, either inviting their animal to  "sleep over" or declining an invitation to "sleep over" stating 
what modifications will be needed to accommodate the animal's special needs or 
why it would be impossible.  Take time to share and display their drawings and letters.

2. Review the KWHL and record student responses to  what they learned directing them to consider the various ways they used materials, computers, books and organized their learning and call them study skills.

nrichment Activities
1. This lesson could easily be extended to writing animal books, introducing them to research and report writing techniques.  The researching and writing of these books could be done as a class collaboration of one big book, partner books or individual animal study books.  The possibilities are endless.  Since most first graders will new to  research projects, the teacher should model this process from beginning to end  and provide lots of examples of the various stages for the students to emulate. 

2. Beautiful murals could be drawn of different types of habitats and the homes animals use/build to meet the needs unique to the animal and its environment. 

3. Build an animal home such as an aquarium,  an ant farm or a home for earth worms in a  clear glass jar, making an animal home using art materials and a box, etc.

Make a Home by Nancy Pemberton 
This book can be found in the first grade Open Court Reading anthology, Book B.  A  beautifully illustrated "How To" book by Barbara Bruno that gives directions for making a temporary home for worms allowing students to watch how worms make tunnels, eat and move.

anguage Support Activities
Planing a Preview and Review of the content in the student's primary language is the desired and most efficient way to give ESL students access to the grade level content.  When that is not possible the "Sheltered English" method should be employed.  That includes assessing their background knowledge of the subject matter, assessing their vocabulary and concept needs,  then making modifications to the lesson such as using regalia, TPR and peer or cross-age interpretors/tutors.  Scaffolding of knowledge is usually also necessary so that the students' skill and knowledge levels meet the prerequisites of the lesson being taught. 

ssessment & valuation

   Students will be asked to draw and/or write what they know about 5 
   different animal homes, a snake, a beaver, a hermit crab, a rabbit, 
   and  a raccoon.  They will also be asked to tell why animals and
   humans need homes.   This could be done in several different writing 
   prompts for a daily journal or as a test in a worksheet format (see Word doc).

  Writing Prompts:
    Monday:  Rabbits live________________________
                    Their homes are called_______________
    Tuesday: Raccoons live______________________
                    Their homes are called_______________
Repeat for jaw fish, beavers, snakes and humans.

Download Word Doc A Download Word Doc B
Download Word C

Post Test: 

Repeat the Pretest 
Download Answer Key

Scoring Guides
Rubric & Bloom's Taxonomy

Link to chart created in Excel


eb esources upplementary aterials

Introductory Activity Resources:
List and link the web resources for this activity here. Also link supplementary materials such as PDF files and /or document files.

Enabling Activity Resources:
Encarta Online 

Effective Strategies for Vocabulary Instruction

ESL Resources
Activities for ESL/EFL Students

English as a Second Language 

ESL Resource Guide

ESL House 
List and link the web resources for your learning activities) here. Also link supplementary materials such as PDF files and /or document files.

Culminating Activity Resources:

pecial cknowledgment
Jungle Alphagrahics by: JunglbyT

Graphic Design by Susan M. Glines-Thompson
Tags and most Headers, backgrounds & buttons by:  SMGT
Animations from Animation & SMGT 

School Name: Martin Luther King, Jr. K-8, SCUSD
School Location: 480 Little River Way, Sacramento, CA    95831
My Name: Susan M. Glines-Thompson 
My email address:
Last Revised: 6/29/01
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