International Association
of School Librarianship

Animal Antics! – The GiggleIT Project

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

Feel free to copy and share the instructions to students shown for each Spotlight Project or put into your own words. Both Spotlight Projects require local animals as subjects (no zoo animals).

  • GiggleIT encourages students to write in small groups, but they may also write individually or as an entire class.
  • Original illustrations and personal photos are great additions to these Spotlight Projects.
  • Please be sure that students only use their initials to sign their work, for personal safety!

If culture-specific words are included, students should provide a glossary so that all readers will understand their writing better, as shown in the poetry example for students.

Poetry Pet Parade – Spotlight Project

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, 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!

Your students may want their Pet Poem paired with their original illustration or photo. The 
blank GiggleCritter noted in the Instructions to Students will print 2 per page for young artists’ convenience; we suggest scanning finished GigglePets for easy resizing in your final publication.

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**

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

Finally, sign your Pet Poem with your initials so it can be published for your friends and community to read.

Everyone loves to see the pets in your parade! You can use 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 – Spotlight Project

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 inspiring, but only original student work should be publicly published,

Students can make comic strips using their original animal art and templates like those linked at and Never publish student works that use any copyrighted characters!

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 somewhere else 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.

If you’re inspired to draw an original comic strip to tell your “Wild Animal Funnies” joke or riddle, be sure to only use your own original drawings! (you can’t use characters from other comics or media)

**KMM poem, jokes, and photo of 2 cats by GiggleIT Project team member Katy Manck, MLS.

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