Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Night Zookeeper - Jefferson Elementary Connects to the United Kingdom

Dr. Robert Smiley, CIO

The School District of Janesville is making learning come alive through the power of the connected classrooms. Using the Internet and video technology, we are bringing more and more experts into the classroom, while also connecting students to people and to places they couldn't ordinarily travel to.  

In the latter part of October, the second grade students at Jefferson Elementary connected with video to the Night Zookeeper all the way from the United Kingdom.  Based on a book from the library, the Night Zookeeper is a character based on a magical story about the adventures of a night zookeeper and the fantastic animals he meets on his nightly rounds.  While that's a great start to a story, what happened with the Internet and video technology made for an amazing virtual lesson. 

After reading the beginning stories of the Night Zookeeper and learning about his magical creatures in the zoo, the students were able to talk to a Night Zookeeper (Paul) while he was on duty at the zoo in the United Kingdom.  Night Zookeeper Paul talked about what it was like to work in such a zoo, let the students ask him questions, and then, because it was Halloween, he shared his story of “Halloween in the Night Zoo”.  

He charged the kids with the duty to create their own horrifying Halloween animal and finish the story with this creature.  The next day, the students designed their own animal,  and using the Night Zookeeper website, were able to create and share their designs.  The Night Zookeeper will share some of those creatures in his gallery on the website for other students to admire. 

The Night Zookeeper's website encourages children to invent their very own magical animals and use illustrations and stories to bring them to life. We firmly believe that a child’s imagination deserves freedom. Therefore our aim is to engage children across the world and show them that they can be more than just the consumers of digital media... they can be the creators as well.


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