# Elephant Classroom Ideas

Elephants lend themselves to lots of classroom themes: circus, jungle, zoo,the letter E… Enjoy some elephantine fun in your classroom.

Make elephant handprints by having kids dip their hands into gray paint and then, with fingers spread, press their hands onto paper. Turn the handprint over when it dries and you’ll see that the fingers are the legs of the elephant and the thumb is its trunk. Cut ears from paper and draw on the details to complete the elephant. Then make a chain of elephants across your bulletin board.

Online resources:

Math

• Think about the size of elephants. An elephant can be 11 feet tall. Measure out 11 feet in your classroom or hallway. If possible, get a ladder and measure it on a wall so you can really get the idea of how tall the elephant is.
• Elephants are better at math than most animals. When zookeepers in an experiment counted apples into two buckets, elephants could usually choose the one with more fruit, even if it was a choice between five apples and six apples. Tell your young students about this ability of elephants and try it out in your class. Are your students as good at math as elephants?
• Enjoy “Elephant in the Way.”
• “Infinity Elephants” isn’t especially about elephants, and it’s going to be too old for your young students, but we love it, so here it is:

Language

• Learn “The Elephant Song” for music, beginning counting, and an introduction to the French language:

One elephant went out to play
Upon a spider’s web one day
He had such enormous fun
That he called for another elephant to come.

Deux éléphants allaient jouer
Sur une toile d’araignée
Ils s’amusaient tellement bien
Qu’ils appelaient à un autre, viens!

Three elephants went out to play
Upon a spider’s web one day
They had such enormous fun
That they called for another elephant to come.

Quatre éléphants allaient jouer
Sur une toile d’araignée
Ils s’amusaient tellement bien
Qu’ils appelaient à un autre, viens!

All the elephants were out at play
Upon a spider’s web one day
They had such enormous fun
But, there were no more elephants left to come!

• Try an elephant “fingerplay” that can involve the whole body.  Have students make their arms into an elephant’s trunk, bend over, and swing their trunks from side to side as they chant:

The elephant goes like this and that

He’s terribly big and he’s terribly fat

He has no fingers, he has no toes

But goodness gracious what a nose!

• Learn the poem “Eletelephony.” The link will take you to our classroom poster of this fun poem.
• The elephant is the biggest land animal in the world. Take this opportunity to learn about superlatives by finding the biggest, smallest, oldest, youngest, and all the other extremes your class can think of. Create a bulletin board display of sentence strips and student art work.
• Study the story of  The Blind Men and the Elephant.
• Read some elephant books:
• Horton Hears a Who! is Dr. Seuss’s classic tale about the value of everyone, “no matter how small.”
• The Saggy Baggy Elephant is a little book about a little elephant dancing through the forest.
• Elmer is an unusual multicolored elephant who feels conspicuous. The point of the story of course is that it’s okay to stand out. Use the Elmer the Patchwork Elephant Bean Bag Toy to bring the story to life. Character Plus has a lesson plan for this series of books with discussion questions and an art project. Virtual Vine has a bunch of fun ideas for Elmer and Elephants.
• The Story of Babar is a beloved classic originally in French but now familiar as a cartoon.
• Uncle Elephant is a fun book for emergent readers.
• Five Minutes’ Peace isn’t so much about elephants as about a mother’s efforts to get just five minutes’ peace — she just happens to b e an elephant.
• The Elephant’s Child by Rudyard Kipling is a Just-So Story explaining how the elephant got it’s trunk. You can read it online at Online Literature. The elephant’s child was filled with “‘satiable curiosity” which is of course insatiable curiosity. I like it as an introduction to a lesson on finding out why things are as they are. Encourage your class’s ‘satiable curiosity and brainstorm a list of why questions, then find out the answers.

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