On Wednesday July 23, my fourth and fifth grade students participated in a Skype call with the Night Zoo Keeper. Over the course of the 30 minute lesson the Night Zoo Keeper engaged my students with a magical tale of mythical animals that lived in the Night Zoo. In addition, the Night Zoo Keeper instructed my students to draw their own magical creatures based on the key words and phrases we brainstormed together.
I was quite surprised in the amount of student engagement. Originally I had planned to have my first graders participate in the Skype call with the Night Zoo Keeper because I had thought my fourth and fifth graders would find it too childish. However, I was completely wrong. My fourth and fifth grade students were very engaged and eager to show the Night Zoo Keeper their work. Also I believe that because my older class’s have a better command of English, that led to them enjoying the call even more. At the end of the lessons all of my students asked when we would participate in similar lesson!
As an English teacher in South Korea, parents depend on me to help students develop their speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills. Unfortunately, many English schools still follow a more traditional form of education, which focuses on rote memory and drill and practice activities. In our school we try to make learning English engaging and fun. The Night Zoo Keeper lesson was an activity that not only engaged my students but it also helped them work on their active listening skills. Like I mentioned earlier, the Night Zoo Keeper told the students a story. While listening to the story the students had to listen for descriptive words to guide their drawings. I was quite impressed with my students listening abilities as well as their drawings.
Overall, I felt this Skype Lesson was fantastic and I would highly recommend it to elementary teachers. I would advise teachers to first introduce the Night Zoo Keeper through their website as well as their two iPad apps. I felt that my students would have enjoyed the lesson more if they knew a little more about the Zoo keeper.