Curriculum Connections

Single Lesson Safari!

If you only have time to do one lesson using Safari!, try this:

Prechoose 7-10 poems that you feel best match your students reading and comprehension level (see tip and suggestion below). Before the lesson begins, write the Swahili names of the animals you have chosen on the board (see the Glossary of Swahili Terms
). Introduce the lesson by telling students, 'Take out your binoculars because today we are going on a wild animal safari to East Africa. On the board I have listed the names of the animals we will see.' When your students protest that they have never heard of such animals, explain that the animals are well camouflaged in an East African language, Swahili, and in poetry. Explain to students that the animals will magically appear in their imaginations - if they are good listeners and careful readers - as they examine the poems. Tell them that their task is to focus in on the animals and identify them by deciphering the clues in the poems.

At this point, you may want to divide the class into teams. Have students list the Swahili words on a piece of paper with a dash after each one. Instruct students to read and listen to the poems, then (discuss with their team-members if applicable and) write down their guesses after the Swahili names. Each poem links forward to a photo of the animal OR to the next poem. Have students link to the next poem, skipping the photos at first until they have completed and made a guess for all the poems. When they have finished the sleuthing have them go through again and link to the photos to see if they made accurate guesses.

Optionally, you may want to make the lesson some sort of contest, providing you allow an opportunity for each student to 'win' in a way. For example, if they complete the Safari!, they win an animal sticker - or if they guess more than half of the animals correctly, they get to put their names on a list of 'Successful Safari Sleuths.'

To encourage thoughtful guessing, you may also have students jot down the clues that led them to make a particular guess after they read a poem.

Also, if you feel that some students will benefit from it, instead of listing only the Swahili words at the beginning of the lesson, make a list of the Swahili words and one of the English words, scrambling the English words and challenging students to match the Swahili words with their English counterparts (see the Glossary of Swahili Terms

Conclude the lesson, for fun, by challenging students (with their papers turned over) to translate the Swahili words after you read them aloud.

Tip: Use the chart on the Safari Guide for Teachers
page to help you quickly choose appropriate poems. Asterisks next to each poem title indicate the poem's comprehension level and an adjacent link connects to the poem itself so you can preview it and make your own judgment.

Suggestion: Regardless of your grade level, mix up the poems to cover a range of comprehension levels. Students whose comprehension level is lower than that of most other students in your class will benefit when you include a poem or two that is not as mind-boggling - since it will give them an opportunity to contribute and even 'get something right,' and it will give them a reason to stay tuned in. A more challenging poem on the other hand will equally engage the few students in your class whose comprehension level is above that of the rest. Besides, both the easy poems and the more challenging ones are FUN! A good strategy for engaging ALL of your students when using a challenging poem is to claim that you are going to try to stump them. If they are like most students, this will make them rise to the challenge of being excellent listeners and careful readers. When that happens, even students you might not expect to respond will connect a word or phrase from the poem to the correct animal and surprise you with his or her brilliance!



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