Animal Observations on Edmodo
1 The Hook
Using Edmodo, create a post or assignment with the links to zoo webcams. I have found the National Zoo webcams and the San Diego Zoo webcams t be the best to use, however, I am sure there are others out there. In a whole group, model the assignment for the kids using one of the animals. You can go through and showcase the various animals and then pick one to do as a class. Watch the animal(s) for about 3 minutes.
2 Direct Instruction
While watching talk about the components of a good animal observation report. Things that can be included in the animal observation are:
- The way the animal moves
- The activity observed: eating, playing, caring for their young, etc.
- The habitat
- Noises heard
- Patterns in their movement or activity
As you watch think aloud including some of these observations.
3 Guided Practice
During the 3 minute observation, model how to take a screen clip of the webcam. On Mac's you can do this by holding down Command-Shift-4, which allows you to select a portion of the screen. On PC's, Microsoft has a great snip and clip feature. I have also had kids use the print screen option, paste it in a PPT slide, and then right click to Save As a photo.
Next, create a post in Edmodo with the observations. The observation can include if/what the animal was eating, how they moved, what their habitat was like, their interactions with other animals, etc. (I have found it better to create a small group in Edmodo called "Animal Observations" and add all of my students into it. This way the all of the posts regarding animals can be housed in the same discussion thread.)
4 Independent Practice
Students can go on their devices or computer to explore the webcams and select an animal to observe. Remind them to observe the animal of their choice for at least 5 minutes. Then they can create their post with their observations. Once they have posted their obseravtions, they can then start reading and commenting on posts from other classmates.
Pull up the Edmodo posts of the students and choose a few to reflect on. Review the aspects of a quality observation and discuss the posts that were shared. Perhaps create a chart with some of the highlights from the observations, as well as wonderings. This way you can have it for the next time the kids sign in and create an observation.