Wow! Juana Martinez-Neal’s book, Zonia’s Rain Forest, delivers a powerful message in so few words. There are multiple “big picture” ideas you can take from this book, but for your sake (and mine), I am going to stay focused on the issue of deforestation. If you haven’t read this book yet, please stop reading now and go get the book!
Now that you’ve read the book, let’s talk about how you can use it as a teaching resource. I could easily see using this book to launch a curricular unit in science. It lends itself perfectly to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Disciplinary Core Idea of Human Impacts on Earth Systems. Whew, that was a mouthful. Check out the Standards here.
Some essential questions to drive your unit might be:
- How do people interact with their environment?
- How do people impact their environment?
- How can people live in harmony with their environment?
If your eyes are glossing over at the mention of “teaching standards,” please feel free to scroll past this section. However, if you find this section helpful, consider the following possibilities (these may change depending on the grade you teach):
- NGSS K-ESS3-3 Communicate solutions that will reduce the impact of humans on the land, water, air and/or other living things in the local environment.
- NGSS SS.G.1.K Explain how weather, climate, and other environmental characteristics affect people’s lives.
- CCSS SL.2.1 Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 2 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
- CCSS SL.2.2 Recount or describe key ideas or details from a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media
- CCSS SL.3.2 SL.3.2 Determine the main ideas and supporting details of a text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
- WIDA ELD-1 English language learners communicate for Social and Instructional purposes within the school setting.
- WIDA ELD-2 English language learners communicate information, ideas, and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area of Language Arts
- WIDA ELD-4 English language learners information, ideas, and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area of Science.
As I reread this book with English language learners (ELLs) in mind, I felt the adjectives associated with each of Zonia’s friends could be used as vocabulary. I strongly recommend limiting vocabulary to 6-8 words. Here are my suggestions:
Are you still with me? If so, you’ve earned a handy dandy worksheet to use with your students! And here’s the best part: it’s free!
Did you use this resource? I’d love to hear your thoughts.