English - A wild night at the zoo

3rd February 2012 at 00:00

What it's all about

The Night Zookeeper is a website that uses a zoo and mythical animals created by children to prompt creative writing, boost ICT skills and inspire real-life games and artwork for primary pupils.

A teacher logs on to the site and selects a code word enabling the whole class to "play". Children start by reading the Night Zookeeper story (think Night at the Museum) and create their own imaginary animals, which they paint or draw on paper before scanning them into the computer. The artwork can be uploaded onto the site, along with a definition of the animal and the child's story about it. There are also 10 "official" animals - including Christine the Chameleon (pictured), the Night Butterfly and Florence the Flamingo - which have activities attached to them and could help children think of games and missions for their own imaginary animal.

Children can continue their work at home using their unique log-in. And teachers can set up a "school zoo" that lets them keep track of the animals their class has created. A new factual website on real-life animals is on the way from the same creative team. Watch this space.

Something fishy

The National Schools Partnership in England, in collaboration with Marks amp; Spencer and the Marine Conservation Society, has developed an online resource: School of Fish.

Awash with fish-themed fun, this lively website includes lesson plans, activities, teachers' notes and assemblies for a wide range of key stage 2 (upper primary) subject areas focused on sustainability and healthy living. Every resource is thematically designed. The sounds of waves and fish that accompany animated images of the underwater world make the website suitably intriguing for young learners. It also includes Fishipedia, an extensive reference site.

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