Apes to Zebras

By Liz Brownlee, Sue Hardy- Dawson, Roger Stevens

Yeah! Another new book on my shelf. Thank you to Kylie Watson for introducing me to this awesome book but also for creating these brilliant teaching ideas. I only added a couple of ideas.

I am lucky to work with Kylie at Dana St PS in Ballarat. In her Learning Specialist role Kylie and I collaborate about all things related to Mathematics. I am sure you will agree with me, her expertise is literacy too!

We decided to create our own A-Z of learning experiences for this book. Enjoy!




Annotate your thinking about the poem titled Koala.

Ask – What questions would you ask the authors of these poems.


Background knowledge – What do you know about the topic in the poem titled Emperor Penguin? How will you find out more information?


Categorise your thinking – Using the poem Paradox Frog research other amphibians that would fit in this species category.


Draw – Illustrate a picture that conveys ideas and feelings from the poem Gulls.


Express Yourself – Draw or use an iPad to take photos of the emotions you feel when reading certain poems. Why do you feel these emotions?


Figurative Language – Identify the figurative language within the poem titled Zebra.


Geography – Using the poem titled Quokka, locate on a map where they inhabit.


Hunt – Look for adjectives, nouns, adverbs, verbs, or high frequency words in the poems.


I Wonder… – Wondering about the poem Bees or any other animals within the poems.


Jot down your thinking from the poem Otter.

Justify your selection of your favourite poem.


K-W-L – Create a K-W-L chart on the animal in the poem titled Spider.

  • What I know?
  • What I want to learn?
  • What I learned?


Label – Draw the animal in the poem titled Stick Insect and label the parts of the animal.

Listen to the author read the poems.

Liz Brownlee reads her poem Narwhal


Sue Hardy-Dawson reads Crocodile


Roger Stevens reads Tiger



Measurement – Use Giraffe poem to identify mathematical language used. Measure the height of a giraffe and compare to student heights.


Nouns – Write down the nouns you can associate with Whale poem. Can you think of adjectives to describe the poem?


Opinions – Discuss different options formed from the poem Hedgehog.  

Objects Collect objects to provide clues for a poem.


Purpose – Why did the author write this poem? Persuade, inform, or entertain.


Questioning – What deeper thinking questions can be developed form the poem titled Parrots.

Quick Draw – Quickly draw clues related to one of the poems. Can you buddy guess the poem?


Rhyming – Identify the rhyming words in the poem Grasshopper


Shape Poem Create your own shape poem to publish and share.


Survey – Use Survey Monkey to find out people’s favourite poem.


Synonyms – Write down all the adjectives you can see in the poem tilted Unicorn. Write down synonyms to match.


Text Connections – make connections from the poems read. They can be text to self, text to text or text to world.


Unfamiliar words – Identify and define any unfamiliar words which you come across within the poems.


Venn Diagram – Create a Venn Diagram including two of the animals from different poems.


Word Splash – Create a word splash of everything we know about the animal in the poem Tiger.


Y Chart – Create a Y chart for an animal in a poem; looks like, sounds like, smells like.




Enjoy and take care,


Andrea Hillbrick