On the suggestion of Miss Foote over at Chickadee Jubilee: http://chickadeejubilee.blogspot.com/2013/01/newbery-day.html 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.