International Association
of School Librarianship

GiggleIT 2019 Spotlight Projects: Animal Antics!

The GiggleIT Spotlight Theme "Animal Antics" celebrates and showcases the tame animals in our homes with two projects:

Feel free to copy and share the instructions to students shown for each Project or put into your own words. Both 2014 Spotlight Projects require local animals as subjects (no zoo animals) – if your curriculum has a different focus or another writing genre, please alert the GiggleIT Team so that we may properly name the category for your students’ work on your school page.

  • GiggleIT encourages students to write in small groups, but they may also write individually or as an entire class.
  • Original illustrations by class members can also be included with any GiggleIT writing.
  • Please be sure that students only use their initials to sign their work, for Internet safety!

For each project, students should provide a glossary of culture-specific words so that readers in other countries will understand their writing better. “The Three Not-So-Little Wombats” by 7th graders C & K at Concordia Lutheran College in Australia is a good example of highlighting terms in the story which might be unfamiliar to other readers and giving easily understood definitions in a glossary.

Before you submit any student work, you must register your school (it's free!) for the GiggleIT Project through the registration page – be sure to include the three GiggleCritters chosen by your school and/or each class as mascots for their webpage with your registration.

You will send your students’ work as Word documents (.doc) or text files (.txt) to the same email address used for registration:  - we will provide a URL to your students' work when it's available on our website. Please be patient, as it can take some time for GiggleIT team volunteers to format items and submit them to our IASL webmaster for your school’s GiggleIT page!

Poetry Pet Parade

To begin the parade, have students discuss
  • What is a pet?
  • What kinds of animals have they seen as pets?
  • What pets do they or their family members or friends currently own?
Ask them to observe pets and write down adjectives which describe them. Creating charts and graphs about pet types and ownership can be a great cross-curricular math activity.

Of course, not every family has a pet, so we suggest having students write their Pet Poems in pairs, trios, or small groups to allow everyone to be part of this creative parade!

Ask students to research more about their chosen pet using books, websites, interviews, and guest speakers. They can then use this information with their own observations to write a Pet Poem about their pet, to their pet, or in their pet’s voice!

You’ll find several poetry types in the Genre Samples section of GiggleIT Resources, including Acrostic, Free Verse, Limerick, and Shape poems. Haiku is also popular, and a rhyming poem is given as an example in the Instructions to Students.

Help your students find just the right word or rhythm for their Pet Poems, and remind them to make a Glossary of words that might be unfamiliar to readers in other parts of the world. Pets which seem common to your students are exotic and unusual to someone else!

If your students want their Pet Poem paired with their original illustration or photo, please tell us which ones go together when you email their work. Our online space is limited, so items will be resized as needed - smaller is better! The blank GiggleCritter noted in the Instructions to students prints 2 per page for young artists’ convenience, but finished GigglePets will appear much smaller online.

Be sure to have parent-signed Project Consent Forms (from the Resources page) in your files for every student poet – don’t send those forms to GiggleIT.

Our website font is Verdana 9 pt, so please test Shape poems so they ‘look right’.  Email your students’ work to as a Word document (.doc) or text file (.txt) – the more poems and art in a single document, the better!

We will email you when your Poetry Pet Parade is ‘live’ online so that you can share with students, parents, teachers, administrators, and the public!

Instructions to Students: 

Kick off the Poetry Pet Parade by observing your pet(s) and verifying your notes through research in your library (if you don’t have a pet at home, visit someone who has a pet or write your Pet Poem with a friend who does – your eyewitness observations are very important).

Next, decide whether to write to your pet, about your pet, or as your pet (in their voice).

Then, look at different poetry forms to see which will work best for your Pet Poem. You might try haiku, acrostic, free verse, limerick, or rhyming poem. Write your Pet Poem – by yourself or with friends and read it aloud to make sure you have the right words in the right spots.  Ask your teacher or librarian to proofread your poem (good writers edit their work more than once). Remember to include a glossary, defining words that readers in other places might find confusing or strange.

Yummy food for Max to munch,               
Ted invites himself for lunch.
Max relaxes in a comfy chair,
All of the sudden, Ted is there…
Grey tabby Max rests on the bed,
Then up jumps orange-stripey Ted!
Such silliness just tells us that
Our Teddy is a copy-cat!           -KMM

[comfy – comfortable; tabby – a striped pattern common on housecats’ fur]

Finally, sign your Pet Poem with your initials so it can be submitted for your school’s GiggleIT webpage. (Did your parents return the GiggleIT Project Consent Form yet? Your teacher/librarian must have that before your work goes online.)

Of course, we also like to see the pets in your parade! You may submit an original photograph of your poem’s pet (taken by you or family member) or create your own GigglePet to accompany your poem, using the blank GiggleCritter printed out by your teacher/librarian.

Wild Animal Funnies

Always popular with young readers, jokes and funny stories are a great way for student writers to show the world what they know about your area’s wild animals in a humorous way.

Have students brainstorm a list of every wild mammal, bird, fish, amphibian, insect, and other creature which calls your region home. Then ask students to verify the native status of each animal through authoritative resources in your library – only true locals for this project!

Encourage students to be writing partners so they can create the funniest jokes and riddles possible. Help them use a rhyming dictionary and thesaurus to locate just the right word. Your library’s joke and riddle books can be inspirational, but only original student work for GiggleIT please!

While Wild Animal jokes and riddles may be submitted in comic strip form, GiggleIT cannot accept any printed from websites or apps due to copyright concerns. Students can use comic creators like those in this teacher’s LiveBinder to rough-draft their layout and comic format, but only personally drawn 2-3 panel strips using their original animal art will be posted on GiggleIT. Please ensure that the strip’s words can be easily read when it is resized smaller to fit the webpage.

Remember to keep parent-signed Project Consent Forms (from the Resources page) in your files for every student poet – don’t send those forms to GiggleIT.

Email your students’ work to as a Word document (.doc or .docx) or text file (.txt) – the more jokes and riddles in a single document, the better!

We will email you when your Wild Animal Funnies page is ‘live’ online so that you can share with students, parents, teachers, administrators, and the public!

Instructions to Students: 

It’s time for Wild Animal Funnies as you write jokes, riddles, and funny stories featuring the wild animals living in your area, whether they swim, fly, crawl, jump, or prowl!

Decide which local wild animal should star in your Wild Animal Funny – your list can include creatures that hide in cities or parade through the countryside. No pets or zoo animals here, please – just the wildlife known to be found locally.

Verify your information at the library and gather more facts so your exaggerations are based on truth. You can read riddles and joke books, but make sure that your writing for GiggleIT is original work.

Try an animal funny “play on words” like this one by Olivia & Piper of Australia – “Why shouldn’t you trust an echidna? Because he’s always a-kidding-ya!” (echnida is pronounced ee-KID-nah).

You could write a knock-knock joke about city wildlife:

Who’s there?
Spy who?
Spider wants a fly – got any?         - KMM

Or a silly sea-side tongue-twister:   Crabby crustaceans craftily create crushed can collages! -KMM

It’s great to write in a group (two or three heads are better than one). Remember to read your work aloud often – comedians practice their funny stories so they have the best arrangement of words.

Why did the chick cross the sidewalk?
Because it wasn’t old enough to cross the road by itself yet!      - KMM

Because you’re featuring animals that your readers across the globe might not be familiar with, you need to include a glossary defining unusual words. Ask your teacher/librarian if you’ve covered them all during your editing time together.

Be sure that your parents have returned your GiggleIT Project Consent Form to your teacher/librarian, then sign your funny story/joke/riddle with your initials, and ask your teacher/librarian to submit it to your school’s GiggleIT webpage.

And if you’re inspired to draw an original comic strip to tell your “Wild Animal Funnies” joke or riddle, send it in also! (of course, you cannot use characters from other comics or media – original only)

KMM poems and jokes by GiggleIT Project team member Katy Manck, MLS.

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