It was such a hoot to spend time with the kindergarteners this past week as they wound up their nocturnal animals unit with a visit from an Ambassador for the Wildlife Center of Texas.
We got to meet a screech owl, a hoot owl, a hedgehog, a opossum and a hawk (left), which she brought along so that students could compare and contrast nocturnal and diurnal birds.
Just look at how the Eastern Screech Owl (middle) camouflages.
Here she is without a natural backdrop:
A camouflage is a defense mechanism.
What are some defense mechanisms that people use?
The little hedgehog had actually been a pet that some kid threw into a field when he didn't want it anymore, and, as the presenter was talking about responsibility to animals, I couldn't help but think about the importance of seizing these teachable moments early on so that good character choices become as much a part of who a child is as his/her fingerprint, personality, and DNA.
But how do you integrate character into a nocturnal animals unit?
I've got two books for that! Enter Hooty, an adorable little owl who's learning right from wrong. This simple story will give students some words so that they can start to cognitively connect our expectations with their choices.
Our three domains of character include cognitive, affective, and behavioral. Know it, love it, do it. Easy cheesy, right? This book is perfect for cognition and will readily spill over into affective because the our little dreamers will fall in love with this little guy and want to do the right thing, just like him.
Taking it to the Behavioral Domain won't be tricky at all because the accompanying finger puppet is as adorable as the book is easy to understand. And whooooo wouldn't want a pint-sized puppet to pass around? I could totally see little Hooty as a table mascot for the students as they're caught making good character choices.
Then try these activities for our youngest learners from Marco Products for more character and feelings enrichment and infusion.
Stellaluna by Janel Canon would also richly complement this unit. You may already know this batty tale about a baby bat who ends up in a nest with some birds.
To help students experience empathy and
feel how she's feeling, sing along with Stellaluna in
My Whole World's Turned Upside Down:
Finally, host a Pajama Day.