Exploring the Neighborhood - Literature Jigsaw
  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Define philanthropy as the giving and sharing of time, talent, or treasure intended for the common good.
  2. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.5 Give examples of actions students can take to improve the common good and list or describe responsibilities that go with those actions.

Through a variety of literature, students will develop an understanding and awareness of the many types of wildlife that coexist with people in and around an urban area. Students will gain knowledge of how they can be instrumental in maintaining a healthy environment for humans and wildlife that inhabit our cities.

PrintThree Fifty-Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • define and compare wildlife and domesticated animals.
  • identify various species of plants and animals that have adapted to urban habitat.
  • read facts in non-fiction literature about how wildlife survives in urban areas.
  • recognize the responsibility of people to protect and nurture the environment.
  • copies of books for students related to wild animals in urban environments 
  • copies for each student of  Knowledge about City Wildlife
  • copy of Attachment One for teacher
  • copies for each student of  Literature Group Discussion
  • name tags: one per student
  • copies for each student of  Literature Jigsaw Notes
  • colored circle stickers to place on name tags to identify student groups (at least four colors, depending on the number of groups you have)

Find books in your library about how wildlife learns to adapt to humans and how humans can show respect for wildlife as they expand in developmemt.

Some book suggestions:

  • Davis, Wendy. City Park (Habitat). New York: Children’s Book Press, 1998.

  • Green, Jen. In a Backyard. Crabtree Pub., 2002.

  • Peet, Bill. Farewell to Shady Glade. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1981.

  • Thornhill, Jan. Wild in the City. Owl Communications, 1999.

  1. Day One

    Tell the students that today they are beginning an exploration of city wildlife and its relationship to people. Have them reflect quietly about the words “city wildlife.” Ask them how the words work together to help us understand its meaning. Arrange the class into groups of two or three students. Give them copies of the handout Knowledge about City Wildlife. Allow about five minutes for students to discuss and write about the two sentences on the handout. Engage students in a whole-group discussion on the meaning of the term. Record notes to recall in later discussions.

  2. Explain to the class that you will be dividing the class into four groups. Each group will form a “literature circle.” Each group will be assigned a book to read and discuss.

  3. Give the students name tags with colored circles on them. The colors indicate which group they are in so all members of a group will have the same color.

  4. Every member of the group is responsible for reading the assigned book. Each student writes notes on the handout Literature Group Discussion. The members of the groups may read alone, pair up, or read all together.

    Encourage them to read the questions on the handout before they start reading: What wild animals are able to dwell/live in the city? What makes wildlife wild? What do wildlife creatures need to survive? How can humans create and maintain a healthy relationship with city wildlife?

  5. It is the responsibility of the group members to make sure each person in the group has read the story and is prepared to discuss the book with other members of the class that have not read the book.

  6. Day Two:

  7. Ask the students if they have new ideas or information about city wildlife based on the reading they have done. Recall the notes from Day One's brainstorming.

  8. Students will “piece together” key words/ideas from the different books to form a “literature jigsaw.” Regroup the students so they are with students who read different books. Hint: Regroup using the colors on the name tags. Each new group should have only one of each color. It may be helpful to give each member of the original groups a number. For example, the ones from each original group move into a new group together.

  9. Tell students that they are the experts for the book that they read on Day One. They will tell the members of their new group about the book they read. Allow each student about five minutes to report on the book—using the notes from Day One—to the rest of the group. The other students should listen carefully and take notes on handout Literature Jigsaw Notes.

  10. After the discussion in the new group, have students write individual summations/observations of their findings on a separate sheet of notebook paper. They should focus on the four questions from Day One.

  11. Debrief with the whole class and define philanthropy and discusshow it impacts environmental stewardship. Ask students to define the words sensitivity and balance as they relate to the natural world. How does what they learned today relate to these words?

  12. Write these five essential questions for the unit on the board. Discuss any of the questions that seem relevant to this lesson. 1) Can humans and animals coexist in the same habitat? 2) If so, are there dangers that exist? For whom? 3) What is a community? 4) What do humans and wildlife share? 5) What is Common Good? Does it include wildlife?