Lesson plan

Put Me in the Zoo

This literature-based lesson teaches students about answering key questions and understanding a character's point of view. It'll have young readers roaring, thumping, and having tons of fun as they imitate story characters.
Need extra help for EL students? Try theAll About the StoryPre-lesson.
EL Adjustments
GradeSubjectView aligned standards
Need extra help for EL students? Try theAll About the StoryPre-lesson.

Students will be able to identify characters, settings, and major events in a familiar story.

The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments
(10 minutes)
Story Map
  • Have your students gather in a circle.
  • Ask your students to brainstorm what they know about zoos and zoo animals. You can show some pictures or non-fiction books about zoos to stimulate prior knowledge.
  • Allow students to share what they recall/ know about zoos.
  • Bring out some zoo animal figures and a "zoo" (basket). Place one of the animals in the zoo.
  • Ask the students questions like: Which animal did I put in the zoo? Where did the animal go? Why do we put animals in zoos? How do you think the animal feels about being in the zoo?
(10 minutes)
  • Tell the students that you will be reading them a story about a creature that wants to be in the zoo.
  • Direct students to think about how the animal feels while listening to the story.
  • Show them a few pages in Eric Carle's From Head to ToeAnd encourage them to pretend to be the animal and make the movements that are listed.
  • Have a few students choose an animal figure and lead the group in moving or making the sound that the animal makes. Examples are thumping their chests like a gorilla or roaring like a lion.
  • Tell the students that just like we can pretend to move or sound like an animal, we can pretend to feel what an animal or character may feel.
(10 minutes)
  • Read the story Put Me in the Zoo.
  • As you read, stop and ask questions to encourage understanding.
  • Have the students put stickers on their clothing to match the colour of the character during different parts of the story.
(10 minutes)
  • Have your students work in pairs or small groups to retell the story to each other.


  • Encourage struggling students to ask questions freely over the course of the lesson.


  • Advanced students could be asked to question other students when retelling the story. They can also work on story maps individually.
(10 minutes)
  • Have your students retell the story in various methods of their choosing, e.g., by acting it out or drawing pictures.
  • Have students contribute answers to a classroom story map.
(5 minutes)
  • Have your students practise pretending to be characters in their favorite stories.

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