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Valentines to Unloved Animals

posted Feb 10, 2014, 8:58 AM by Michael Dreyfus-Pai   [ updated Sep 11, 2016, 3:19 PM by kmcmillan@ctkschool.org ]
The book Vulture Verses is a collection of love notes to weird, gross, or otherwise unpopular animals. We're going to write our own poems to other unloved animals.

http://www.amazon.com/Vulture-Verses-Love-Poems-Unloved/dp/0983459452

First select an animal you think is unloved. Dogs, cats, and anything "cool" (like tigers, bears, and sharks) need not apply.  You can pick your own or be inspired by the list below:
  • Spiders (Choose a specific species)
  • Insects (Choose a specific species)
  • Beetles (Choose a specific species)
  • Ticks
  • Bedbugs
  • Worms
  • Skunks
  • Snakes (Choose a specific species)
  • Snails/Slugs
  • Hyenas
  • Jackals
  • Moles
  • Rats
  • Mole Rat
  • Sea Pigs
  • Bristleworms
  • Krill/Shrimp (Choose one)
  • Tarsier
  • Pigeons
  • Bats (Choose a specific species)
  • Lizards (Choose a specific species)
  • Squids
  • Clams/Oysters/Mussels (Choose one)
Next, get organized. In Google Drive, create a new spreadsheet to gather your information. You should include the following research questions:
  • What do people find gross/weird/scary about the animal?
  • What does the animal do that is good for the environment?
  • What about the animal is actually AMAZING?
  • How would you categorize the animal?
  • What are 5 interesting facts about the animal?
Next, do some research. Do a web search for information about your animal. INFORMATION, NOT PICTURES. For this exercise, do not watch any videos. A few research tips:
  • Keep it simple. Start by just searching the name of your animal to see how that works.
  • DON'T search a question, such as "Why are worms good for the environment?" Instead, search a simplified version of what you think would be on the page that has the information you want. For example, "why worms good," yields great results.
  • If your results are confusing or hard to read, add "kids" or "simple" to your search
  • Open pages in new tabs so you can go back to your results list or previous tabs.

Writing Your Poem

Write a LOVE poem about your animal. It doesn't have to rhyme, but it does have to say...
  • ...what people dislike about your animal
  • ...what is actually awesome or environmentally helpful about your animal
  • ...two other facts about your animal. These could be from any of the questions or from the 5 interesting facts you found.
Your poem must be a minimum of 10 lines.

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