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 the All About the Story pre-lesson.
EL Adjustments
Grade Subject View aligned standards
Need extra help for EL students? Try the All About the Story pre-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)
  • 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 Toe and 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 color 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 practice pretending to be characters in their favorite stories.

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