Combine Literacy & Art to Make a Zoo Mural
- large piece of white bulletin board paper
- construction paper in a variety of colors
- sentence strips
- correction tape
This a great activity to end a preschool zoo unit. Students should know what kinds of animals live in a zoo and their needs. They should also be beginning to learn how to write letters and to listen for the sounds they make in words.
Tell the students you are going to be making a zoo mural to show what you have learned in your zoo unit. You might need to explain what a mural is if you haven't made one before.
Brainstorm a list of animals in the zoo and then review the things that these animals need. Assign pairs of students to work on making each animal. They can use colored paper, markers crayons, scissors and glue to create their animals. Alternatively you can give each pair a picture of their animal to color and cut out, but I think it's fun to see what they can do when making the animals.
As each student finishes their animals let them bring them to the large bulletin board paper and find a place to glue it on. Through out the next day or two, let the pairs come up to the mural and draw in some of the needs for their animals. They might add a tree for the monkeys to climb in, or draw water around the fish.
The interactive writing part of the mural will probably take a few days to complete. Depending on the level of your students you may want to do mostly shared writing. Interactive writing means that the teacher and the students share the pen. Shared writing means that they decide together what to write but the teacher does the writing.
On sentence strips make labels for your animals and a title for your mural using interactive or shared writing. As you say each animal name, ask the students to repeat the name and then ask them what sounds they hear in that name. In preschool you may want to just focus on beginning sounds. Let students come and share the pen to write the beginning sounds they hear. Then you can ask what other sounds they hear and let students write them or you can finish the words. It really depends on your class. If they make a mistake, use the correction tape to cover it up and then try again. After all the animal names are finished, glue them onto your mural next to the appropriate animal.
Ask each pair about their animal and its needs. Even if they didn't add it to the picture can you tell that it needs food, water, air, a place to live? You can also assess the students understanding of beginning sounds through the interactive writing portion of the activity.
- Add to the interactive writing - label other things in the pictures the students drew.
- Take a picture of each pair of students. Add it to the mural next to the animal they worked on with label "Zookeepers ___________ and ____________." Let them write their own names on the labels.
- Invite another class to visit your mural after it is displayed and let each pair of students tell about their animals.
Hang your mural in the hallway. Your students will be proud to see all they've learned in their preschool zoo unit displayed for everyone.
You can find out more about interactive writing right here on Bright Hub.