Tag Archives: AnimalTales

Using Books to Create a Caring Classroom

Using Books to Create a Caring Classroom

This school year started like no other. As we transition through these challenging times, it is important for everyone to show a little more compassion and empathy towards others. It is important for us, as teachers, to begin fostering these qualities in students at the beginning of the school year to help establish a healthy classroom environment and a positive classroom culture. Compassion and empathy encourages prosocial behaviour and ethical citizenship, which helps to build strong communities. Establishing a strong classroom community at the start of the year sets your students up for a successful year.

Within a busy school day filled with meeting curricular outcomes, fostering empathy and compassion can sometimes be challenging. However, there are ways to boost character in students while meeting curricular outcomes.  For instance, choosing good books is a great way to explore character and the use of literature to develop empathy is well-documented. Stories engage students’ imagination. They allow them to identify with the characters and assume their thoughts and actions. That’s where AnimalTales comes in. Each book focuses on animals or our relationship to them, and deals with a variety of topics – from the importance of being kind and compassionate to every living thing and responsible pet ownership, to handling pet loss in a healthy manner and bullying. Through sharing and discussing stories, as well as having meaningful reflection, students can build on their sense of compassion and empathy which they can apply in the classroom, school, home and community.

My students were very interested in the stories. They struggle to think of being kind to each other so the idea of being kind to animals allowed a starting point they all related to.

Grade 6 Teacher, Calgary

For those who don’t know, AnimalTales is a free book lending program that is mailed right to your school. Available in grades Kindergarten to Grade Six, these grade specific packages come with four books, a teacher’s guide, as well as online resources (smart board activities, podcasts, videos, etc). Included in the teacher’s guide are discussion questions, and pre and post reading cross-curricular activities tied to the Alberta Programs of Study. The activities are easily adaptable to suit your classroom and students and can be done in class or virtually. For more information on what to expect with AnimalTales, check out this past blog!

I enjoyed watching my students engaged in their learning. The program helped my students become more empathetic and compassionate towards their peers and animals.

Grade 2 Teacher, Drayton Valley

AnimalTales is available to request for this school year with new measures implemented to ensure the safety of you and your students in response to COVID-19. AnimalTales can be requested to arrive at your school as soon as possible, or you can schedule it to fit into your year plan. Teachers who complete the program can have their class added to the Kindness Map and will receive a class set of bookmarks!

Volunteer Spotlight – April 2019

The Alberta SPCA Education Department is fortunate to have two wonderful volunteers that help us connect teachers to humane education resources they can use in their classroom. Whether it is coming into the office once a week, or helping us at special events, our volunteers are an integral part of our department being able to…Continue Reading

What to Expect with AnimalTales

Are you thinking about getting AnimalTales but not sure what to expect? This blog is intended to give you a better idea of how AnimalTales can be used in your classroom. The AnimalTales program is easily adaptable; each activity can be modified to fit the needs of your class. You can spend as much or…Continue Reading

Volunteer Spotlight – April 2018

We are fortunate to have two dedicated volunteers to help in our education program. From helping with our book lending program, to translating material for our recently launched French website, much of what we do would not be possible without the help of these fantastic individuals. With it being National Volunteer Week, we wanted to…Continue Reading

Five Reasons for AnimalTales

AnimalTales is a free book lending program (grades K-6) that encourages students to become more compassionate and develop a greater respect for all living things. This program was started in 2010 and is continually being updated with new books and materials! The feedback we get from teachers is overwhelmingly positive; in fact, many teachers use…Continue Reading

“It Was Just a Pet” – Helping students deal with pet loss

“Tomorrow will be my first day ever without him. I’m going to miss Jasper so, so much… Today was the hardest day of my life.” Marjorie Blain Parker, Jasper’s Day Pets can enrich the lives of children – they are playmates, friends and sources of unconditional love. They teach responsibility, compassion and caring for another living…Continue Reading

Five Fun Finds for February!

There are lots of opportunities to learn about animals, foster empathy and engage your students. Follow us on twitter or join our facebook group to regularly receive suggestions and ideas. 1. Participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count: (February 14-17). It can take as little as 15 minutes! It’s free, fun, easy—and your students can…Continue Reading

Blog posts represent the opinion of the author and not necessarily the opinion of the Alberta SPCA.