Winter is here, and while it can be an amazing time to head outdoors and experience the snowy splendor, on some days we may simply envy the animals known as professional sleepers. I'm talking about sloths.
It's not hard to understand why they are so popular right now. Sloths really are ridiculous. Aside from moving slowly, sloths are funny because they grow algae on their fur, spend nearly all of their lives hanging from branches (their fur parts along their bellies, not on the back), and are oddly good swimmers. Weird, right? Here's proof.
Also, they only come down from their trees once a week or so to defecate. I'm guessing you don't want to be nearby when this happens.
I suppose you could say that the popularity of sloths isn't really a new thing. There's even a sloth-inspired dance.
Sloths also inspired each of the books in our featured pairing for early elementary students (grades K-3). Snoozefest by Samantha Berger (illustrated by Kristyna Litten) is a hilarious tale about a sloth (Snuggleford Cubblebun) attending a music festival in which the primary goal of the bands is to lull the crowd to sleep. Loaded with puns and wordplay (including band names such as Quiet Quartet), it is a good opportunity to interest kids in language experimentation.
Paired with this is Sloths, by Julie Guidone, from the "Animals that Live in the Rainforest" series. Written for the early elementary crowd and complete with photos and basic information about these animals, this book is an excellent companion to Snoozefest to provide students with some scientific information about sloths.
The activity we created to dive a little deeper into these texts is a perfect fit for those "too cold to go outside" days at the height of winter. It involves modeling and imitating the wordplay inherent in Snoozefest, and giving students the chance to be goofy with words to build language skills. Using the text as inspiration and working collaboratively, students can invent words and names such as "Whiskers McKitten" or "Toadly Frogsome."
Let's just hope they are a bit more articulate than Kristen Bell getting ready to meet a sloth.
See you next time. Don't forget to leave a comment or use Twitter or Facebook (or the Contact link) to let us know if you check out the books or try the activity--we'd love to know how it goes!
by Nate Keefe