Theme: At the Zoo

This unit takes in a wide range of stories about our non-human friends - facts about animals, legends, stories which are funny or scary, as well as tales of adventure, magic and more.

It is vital for teachers to understand the Ziptales 10 stage Reading Scheme, which governs how reading groups can be formed in a way which matches children’s abilities to the appropriate texts. To check on this essential resource - click here.

The 10 Zip Stages cover all levels of reading ability, from Foundation/Prep/Kindergarten through to Year 6. This scheme underpins the whole Themes module.


Learning Components

Focus Stories Comprehension Conventions Writing Speaking & Listening Extension
Zip Stage 1
Bob the Frog
(Short Vowels
Easy Readers)
Worksheet #1:
Ordering Events
Worksheet #2:
Match the Word
Use days of the week to write a funny story about a zoo animal. Act out the story to an audience. Draw the life cycle of a frog.
Zip Stage 1
Thumps and Thuds
(Simple Digraphs
Easy Readers)
Classify the events in the story as real or imaginary. Worksheet #1:
Word Families
Worksheet #2:
Describe the Picture
Discuss the funny ways zoo animals can move. Draw a simple diagram of an elephant.
Zip Stage 2
What is Bigger Than?
(Simple Digraphs
Easy Readers)
Worksheet #1:
Answering Questions
Worksheet #2:
Adding ‘er’ and ‘est’
Write a story about a lion who can’t roar. Take turns with a partner reading the questions and answers. Find out some interesting facts about polar bears.
Zip Stage 2
The Amazing Ape
(Long Vowels
Easy Readers)
Worksheet #1:
Rhyming Words
Use the example ‘an ape’ to study the use of ‘an’ before a word that starts with a vowel. Worksheet #2:
My Favourite Place
Use the story script as a choral reading activity. Apes are mammals. Write or draw some simple facts about mammals.
Zip Stage 2
Would You Like?
(Long Vowels
Easy Readers)
Which activities are possible and which ones are impossible? Worksheet #1:
Long ‘i’ Sound
Worksheet #2:
Rewrite the Story
Discuss imaginary ways to play with different zoo animals. A tiger is a big cat. Design a poster of other types of big cats.
Zip Stage 2
Follow the Rules
(Long Vowels
Easy Readers)
Ask what could happen if the rules in the story aren’t followed. Worksheet #1:
The Magic ‘e’
Worksheet #2:
Writing Rules
Collaboratively make a list of rules to follow at the zoo. Baby lions are called cubs. What are other baby zoo animals called?
Zip Stage 2
The Awful Animal Zoo
(Vowel/Consonant DigraphsEasy Readers)
Compare how the author might feel at the different types of zoos. Worksheet #1:
Same Sound,
Different Letters
Worksheet #2:
Synonyms
Present the story as Reader’s Theatre using effective voice expression. Create a 3D diorama of a zoo animal in its natural environment.
Zip Stage 3
Pinky the Elephant
(Imaginary Worlds
Junior Readers)
Worksheet #2:
Who and What?
Worksheet #1:
Mystery Words
Write an imaginative story about an elephant that has a special skill. In a small group, discuss strategies to help you deal with someone teasing you. Draw a story map of the story.
Zip Stage 3
How the Kangaroo got her Pouch
(Stories from long ago
Junior Readers)
Worksheet #2:
Story focus
Worksheet #1:
Spelling/Grammar focus
Create your own fable about how an animal got a particular body feature. In small groups, role play the story to an audience. Write about how the kangaroo is feeling throughout the story.
Zip Stage 3
Fun Facts about Animals
(Fun Facts
Junior Readers)
Worksheet #2:
True or False?
Worksheet #1:
Definition and Word
Write your own unusual facts about a particular zoo animal. With a partner, research some other fun facts about zoo animals. Classify zoo animals as those that lay eggs and those that give birth to a live baby.
Zip Stage 4
Tails of Bears
(Comedy)
Write a short description of the two main characters in the story. Study the sound ‘ear’ as in bear compared to ‘ear’ as in fear. Use a zoo animal to complete General Worksheet #2:
Creating Fables
General Worksheet #1:
Fables
Design a poster displaying interesting information about polar bears.
Zip Stage 4
The Exterminator
(Comedy)
General Worksheet #2:
There’s More Than One Way to Kill a Mouse
Identify the sounds that zoo animals make e.g. a lion roars, an elephant bellows. General Worksheet #1:
One Problem Leads to Another!
In a small group, act this story out to an audience. Use a Venn Diagram to compare African and Indian elephants.
Zip Stage 4
Peabrain
(Comedy)
General Worksheet #1:
Design a Comic Strip
General Worksheet #2:
Adding ‘ing’
Imagine Peabrain was sent to live at the zoo. Write about his adventures. Explain to an audience a zoo animal you would like to have as a pet. Paint or draw a peacock showing the circular pattern of its feathers.
Zip Stage 5
The Eye of the Idol
(Adventure)
List the obstacles Luke faces and how he overcomes each one. General Worksheet #1:
To, Too or Two?
General Worksheet #2:
Word Switch
General Worksheet #4:
Interview Lucky Luke - Role play in pairs.
Create a fact file about crocodiles.
Zip Stage 5
In Your Sleep
(Scary)
General Worksheet #2:
Similes
General Worksheet #1:
Sentences
General Worksheet #3:
Writing a Report
Work together to list the positives and negatives of spiders. Draw a detailed diagram of a spider.
Zip Stage 5
Arachnophoebe
(Yucky)
Why is Phoebe scared of spiders? Retell in your own words. Locate the names of 10 phobias for different zoo animals. General Worksheet #2:
Words and Pictures
General Worksheet #1:
Phobias
Create a chart that explains how spiders create their webs.
Zip Stage 6
Lost in the Rainforest
(Adventure)
Explain different ways Matthew looks after Jade in the rainforest. General Worksheet #1:
Using Commas
General Worksheet #3:
Writing a Recount
General Worksheet #2:
Animal or Plant?
Design a poster about different types of spider monkeys.
Zip Stage 6
Snake!
(True Tales)
Create a cause and effect chart for each idea the men had to remove the snake. General Worksheet #1:
Studying Suffixes
General Worksheet #3:
Research Project
General Worksheet #2:
Body Language
Study different animals found in the reptile enclosure at a zoo.
Zip Stage 7
Kafoops’ Zoo
(Animal)
General Worksheet #1:
Pretty Funny Floorplan
Study apostrophes of possession for nouns ending in ‘s’ using Kafoops’ as an example General Worksheet #3:
The Amazing, Unmissable, Excursion
Work together in a small group to complete General Worksheet #2:
Study the Signs
General Worksheet #4:
The Visitor’s Book
Zip Stage 7
Princess Nightmare
(Animal)
General Worksheet #2:
Daily Disasters
Scan the story for words that use a soft ‘c’ sound (e.g. princess). General Worksheet #3:
Asking Too Much
General Worksheet #1:
Pros and Cons
Create a fact file about pythons.
Zip Stage 8
The Faithful Prince
(Myths & Legends)
General Worksheet #2:
Match the Definition
Create a spelling list made up of words ending in ‘ful’ (e.g. faithful) General Worksheet #1:
Two Points of View – Two Stories
In a small group, brainstorm stories where animals become human or vice versa. A monkey is a primate. Research the physical characteristics of primates.


Assessment Ideas

Spelling/Grammar
  • Make a list of zoo animals for use as a spelling list e.g. lion, elephant, peacock, bear, monkey, chimpanzee, giraffe, snake, cougar, jaguar and zebra.
  • Use the Word Work and Spelling and Vocabulary Worksheets for the Reading Library genre stories to improve students’ spelling skills.
  • Write descriptive sentences about each of the zoo animals from the spelling list using two appropriate adjectives to describe each animal.
  • Select a passage from one of the on-line stories as dictation assessing the spelling of high frequency words.
Reading
  • Complete the Fill the Gaps and Multiple Choice questions at the end of the story (available for the Junior Readers, Reading Library and Advanced Library genre stories).
  • Use the Learning Support Worksheets for the Reading Library genre stories to practise a range of reading skills.
  • Write a newspaper report retelling the unusual events from one of the on-line stories.
  • Compile a list of descriptive statements about a certain zoo animal and classify them as ‘facts’ or ‘opinions’.
Writing
  • Write narratives using the following topics:
    The Zoo Without Animals
    The Missing Giraffe
    Elephant on the Loose!
  • Write an animal report about a zoo animal. Include in the report: Classification, Description, Feeding Habits, Breeding Habits and Interesting Facts.
  • If possible, visit a zoo and students write a recount about their experience.
  • Design an information booklet about how to care for a chosen zoo animal.
Oral Language
  • Students write a children’s book about a zoo adventure and read the book to a younger class.
  • Present a slide show or oral report about how zoos assist in the protection of endangered species.
  • Conduct a class discussion or debate about the advantages and disadvantages of keeping animals in a zoo.
  • Recite poetry about zoo animals using voice projection and intonation.
Related Ziptales Activities:
  • Make and Do Tiny Teddy (Easy level), Animal Kites, Dancing Ted ( Medium level) and Jumping Frog (Hard level).
  • Puzzle Palace Word Play activities – Amazing Animals and Birds.

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