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Good Night Gorilla - A Preschool Zoo Theme

By Tracey Bleakley

Good Night Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann is the perfect book for a variety of animal or zoo theme preschool activities. Preschool students will love this book about a gorilla who sneaks around the zoo letting the animals out of their cages after the zookeeper tells each animal good night.

Good Night Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann can be used to teach lessons in every subject. It would fit in well with a unit that has an animal or zoo theme or be used as a unit by itself.

Language Arts

  • This a perfect book for a shared reading with preschoolers. It has only a few words so your students will be reading along with you after only one or two readings. It's also a great time to talk about how illustrations can tell the story.
  • Use Good Night Gorilla to teach your students about sequencing. You can work on sequencing the main events in the story or use pictures of all the animals and practice putting them in the order that the zookeeper told them good night. Use words like first, next, then and last to talk about the story sequence.
  • Rewrite the story as a shared writing activity. Decide on a new setting and main character. After writing new words to the story on large paper, give pairs of students a page to illustrate. When they are finished put the pages together into a big book for your reading center. Your class might write a story called "Good Night Pig" where the pig follows the farmer around letting all the farm animals out of their pens. Other ideas for settings are a circus or a pet store.

Math

  • If you have the big book version of Good Night Gorilla, use it to practice counting. You can count the number of animals on each page. To practice counting larger numbers, count the number of legs or eyes or tails on different pages.
  • Use the animals in the story to make size comparisons. Find pictures of all of the animals and talk which are taller or bigger than the others and which are shorter or smaller. Line up the pictures from smallest to largest. Show the class two animals and let them make the comparisons. You might hold up the giraffe and the mouse and they can tell you that the giraffe is taller than the mouse or that the mouse is smaller than the giraffe.

Science

  • Learn about the different animals in the story. Your students will probably be familiar with most of them but the hyena and the armadillo may be new. You can talk about where they live in the wild, what they eat, what kind of covering they have and what sound they make.
  • Give students a book with pictures of each of the animals to color so they that they can make their own animal book.

Social Studies

There are so many fun activities to do with Good Night Gorilla. It's sure to become a class favorite!