Saturday, May 19, 2012

Moose Goes to School

I fell in love with Moose when I read his book. Some might say “Z is for Moose” is actually Kelly Bingham’s and Paul Zelinsky’s book but I’m afraid Moose took it over. 

Initially I thought this story would be too confusing for my younger students who are struggling to learn the alphabet but I soon discovered the story is rich with possibilities not just to entertain, but to teach. The book started out like many alphabet books, “A is for Apple, B is for Ball” but Moose took center stage on the “D” page and it took my Kindergarten students a few minutes to realize he didn’t belong there. After we tried calling him Doose, they understood and they thought it was hilarious. Next we tried to figure out who should be strutting their stuff on that page (they didn’t see the duck who had been shoved aside.) We came up with several options: dog, dinosaur, dolphin, dancing dishes.

This book created so many learning opportunities. Besides introducing the alphabet and encouraging phonemic awareness, it was a great tool for sequencing and predicting. When Moose was on a rampage, frightening an owl, squishing a piece of pie, scattering its contents across a two-page spread, scrambling the letters, decimating words, the kids thought he was “crazy-mad”. Then they set about trying to figure out what letters he had destroyed by reviewing the sequence of the alphabet. By the end of the story, the kids decided Moose deserved to be on every page and so we started our own alphabet book, designed entirely for Moose. From Athletic Moose to Zany Moose, the ideas practically bubbled up from my students: “Fantastic Moose”, “Needy Moose,” “Pizza-delivering Moose,” “Quarreling Moose” to name a few.

This was a natural vocabulary building activity. When one student suggested “Bashful Moose” we talked about what that word means and decided it didn’t quite fit his personality so we changed our page to, “B is for Bashful Moose – NOT!”

One of my first grade students illustrated the first page. Take a look at Athletic Moose:

Those two round things at the bottom of the page are trampolines in case you can’t tell.

When I was carrying “Z is for Moose” into the teacher’s room, one of the Kindergarten teachers looked at the book and said, “Isn’t that confusing for the kids?”  By the time I finished sharing what my students had been doing with it, she told me she planned to steal my idea. Steal away! I hope this book makes its way into classrooms everywhere. F is for Moose – he is one Fantastically Fun teacher!


  1. Thank you for your post. I'm going to recommend this one to the SLP and Kinder teachers at school. And, I LOVE Athletec Moose - and, of course those are trampolines.

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  3. Thank you for dropping by. Athletic Moose is pretty adorable isn't he - I think this student has a future in illustrating.

  4. Wow, that is fantastic! I love Atheletic Moose! And what a wonderful drawing! I am so thrilled to hear that your students loved the book and even more excited to hear how they expanded on it and wrote an all new Moose book! Thank you for sharing Moose with your students.

    Best wishes,
    Kelly Bingham

    1. Thank you for writing, Z is for Moose! And thanks for dropping by my blog. I'll share your comment with my students when school is back in session - they will be thrilled.