Some of my earliest memories from school involve animals; a friend who brought her pet ferret in for us to watch scurry down kitchen roll tubes, the hatching of the Easter ducklings and a man with owls who we were allowed to pose for a photo with (see below!)
There's something really magical about animals. They teach children to be gentle, caring and open up endless conversations about the natural world. From habitats to food chains, extinction to climate, animals are a wonderful way to ignite interest in so many topics.
Covid19 saw a rapid increase in the use of technology in the classroom. We conducted live lessons over Microsoft Teams, ran parents evenings via video link and embraced this technology to maintain our usual curriculum enhancement of guests and visitors. One school visit that was quickly adapted to virtual was the Animal ZOOm session, delivered by the Becky from the Teaching Talons team.
In these 40 minute virtual sessions, pupils have the opportunity to see 3 different species up close, learning about them along the way. And although they may not be able to touch them, a virtual animal experience has so many benefits, such as:
By holding the animals close to the camera, Becky is able to magnify their markings and other distinctive features for pupils to clearly see.
For just £60 for 1 class, these sessions are a more affordable alternative for schools on a budget.
The use of the large interactive whiteboard means that all children can see the animals for the duration of the session.
For some children with SEN or those who have sensory processing difficulties, having live animals in their classroom can be overwhelming. By having the animals on the screen, these children are able to engage with the session more comfortably.
The response to the animal ZOOm sessions has been extremely positive. Miss White, whose class enjoyed a session, said: "We had a fantastic virtual zoom visit from Becky this morning. The children were very engaged and loved finding out about the different animals. It was all organised brilliantly and frequent communication helped things to run very smoothly. Becky answered all the children's questions and it was a brilliant session."
And despite the lifting of lockdown restrictions, continued interest in this virtual session means it's staying firmly on the agenda!
Here are just a few topics that would be brilliantly suited to an animal encounter like this:
Science: Any topic studying animals/humans
Geography: Studying about a specific location - from the Amazon rainforest to the Sahara desert, there are always animals and adaptations to consider
English: Just imagine the descriptive writing or fact files that could follow a virtual animal adventure like this!
So what animals might you see? Becky has a huge selection of animals, covering mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates. From snakes and spiders to guinea pigs and hedgehogs, no two visits are the same!
To book in your own virtual animal visit, click here, complete the form and we'll be in touch.