Lesson plan

A Day at the Zoo

Your class will have so much fun reading books about the zoo and sharing reactions about the story that your they will be itching for a class field trip to the zoo!
Need extra help for EL students? Try theFantastic Fiction: Retelling StoriesPre-lesson.
EL Adjustments
GradeSubjectView aligned standards
Need extra help for EL students? Try theFantastic Fiction: Retelling StoriesPre-lesson.

Students will narrate several linked events, use specific details to tell about the events in order, and provide a reaction to what happened.

The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments
(10 minutes)
Write and Draw
  • Inform your students that you are going to be reading two stories about the zoo today.
  • Ask them if they have ever been to the zoo. Allow them to describe to the class a short memory, like an animal, things or people they saw, or their favorite part of the zoo.
  • Encourage students to share information about their experience at the zoo and specific details about things that happened during their visit.
(40 minutes)
  • Have the students gather around you if you are going to read the stories from a book. If you are going to play the videos linked, make sure you have them loaded and ready to go on your projector or interactive whiteboard.
  • After you have read one of the stories have the students retell the story in chronological order. Set them up with questions like what happened first, next, after that, finally?
  • Model retelling the first story from begining to end.
  • Next, read the second story and have them retell the story in chronological order. Have them focus on specific details, like the people, things, and events that occured in the story.
(20 minutes)
  • Have the students go back to their desks. Pass out one Write and Draw worksheet to each student.
  • Tell the students that they are going to illustrate and retell If I Ran the Zoo. Because you just read two stories to them, you may need to give them a couple of hints to remind them of what happened.
  • Alternatively, you could read one story then do the activity, and then read the other story and do the activity. Whichever you feel would be better for your class.
  • You will need to walk around the room and monitor what they are doing and answer any questions they may have as they work. Prompt them to include details in the drawings and the story.
(20 minutes)
  • Students will show what they know by retelling and writing the story on the lined portion of the paper and then drawing an event from the story in the box provided.
  • Repeat the same process with the other story if time allows. Note: You could do this activity over several days if you do not have the needed amount of time.


  • You may need to work with children needing extra support in a small group. Have them retell the story to you one event at a time and guide them through the writing portion of the activity.
  • Provide a word bank and sentence stems to support their writing.
  • Have the orally retell the story before writing anything down.


  • You can have students create their own picture book about the zoo.
(10 minutes)
  • Once the activity is complete, have the children present one of their worksheets to a group of four students.
  • Review expectations for group presentations. Remind students to stay on topic, share specific details, and listen to their group members.
  • You will be able to look over them to get a good idea of whether or not the students understand what was going on in the story by observing their presentations and reviewing their worksheets.
(10 minutes)
  • As a whole group, have the class provide reactions to the stories.
  • Ask them what they enjoyed about the books, what they found exciting, unusual, funny, etc.
  • Try to engage students in a discussion about the stories. Prompt them to include details, such as the people, places, and things, in the drawings and the story.

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