Saturday, February 23, 2013

Ethics and Ivan

On the suggestion of Miss Foote over at Chickadee Jubilee:  we have started reading The One an Only Ivan. (Bonus for me because it's on the list of books my 3rd-5th book club has to read for next year, one of the Bluebonnet selections, so I'm starting early! :)

The story is based on a real gorilla who was a mall exhibit and lived life in a glass cage until people protested and apparently got him moved to a wildlife refuge. I love that the book is written from the perspective of the gorilla and we haven't gotten very far yet, but there were some a-ha moments for the kids. At one point one of my little scholars said "I love how this author uses words!". Ivan believes humans use too many words and I have to agree with him there.

We do a lot of activities with the concept of ethics in our class. Not just is it right or wrong, but I'm really trying to get the kids to justify their opinion. So often they leave that part out-it's right because that's how it is. I'm a big believer in explaining why. So I asked them to think about the ethics of keeping animals in cages. Now, I didn't tell them how depressing the zoo always is for me because I think it's sad to limit a wild animal's life like that-I just let them form their own opinions.

This is what they came up with:

right because they might step on us

right because they can really fool you

Wrong because they need wild stuff

right because they are wild animals

Wrong because the animals do not like it.

Wrong because even cheetahs can be treated as pets.

Wrong because they need space so they can be wild.

Right because what if kids want to pet it.

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  1. When I first read the book in the fall, I knew it would the Newberry Medal. We live in the Atlanta area and had visited Ivan several times. I held off sharing the real life connection until after my 8 year old finished reading it.

    Love some of the drawings!

  2. That is so neat! Love when you can find a connection to real world events! Thank you for sharing that!

  3. Such an amazing story. During the middle of it, a brand new baby elephant was born at the Oregon Zoo. A few days later the news ran a story about how a circus already had rights to it. My class was so upset. They made a poster and cards and we sent them to the zoo. Great timing for some connections.

    Chickadee Jubilee

  4. It's awesome when they can make an actual connection. What great little future activists you have there! :)