Kimiko Kajikawa, Children's Book AuthorKimiko Kajikawa, Children's Book Author
Kimiko Kajikawa, Children's Book Author

Lesson Plans for Close to You: How Animals Bond (Grades K-2)

An excellent book to accompany wild animals, endangered species,Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, and Father's Day curriculum.


After completing the following lesson plans from Close to You, students will:

  • Describe ways in which animals bond.
  • Identify where different animal species live.
  • Explore various internet and print resources about animals and share the discoveries of their research.
  • Create original pieces of writing.
  • Write, illustrate, and share an animal picture book.
  • Participate in read aloud and inquiry-based research activities.
  • Practice listening and speaking skills.
  • Develop critical thinking skills.

Reading a Poem

Read the poem Close to You out loud several times. Listen for rhyme and rhythm patterns in the poem. Then, ask students to compose their own poems about bonding. Have them write about a special relationship they have with a person or pet.

Discussion Questions

  • How many students have pets? Have you noticed your pets bonding?
  • What do your parents do that make you feel cared for?
  • How do other people make you feel safe and secure?
  • How do you show your parents that you care?
  • How do you show other people that you care?
  • Do you have any pets? How do you care for them? How do they care for you?


  • How much did you weigh at birth? Compare this with the other students in the class. Then, compare your birth weight with the animals' birth weights in the "Birth to Adulthood" table at the end of the book
  • What are some ways that baby animals are cared for by their parents that are similar to the ways that your parents cared for you? What are some ways that are different?

Write a Description

All the animals in the book share a special bond. Have students write a description about a pet or animal that they know. Tell them to include details that would help someone who has never met their animal learn about it. In order to help students best describe their animal, suggest that they draw a picture of it. Tell them to study the picture for ideas to best describe it. Encourage students to write about how the animal looks, acts, and sounds.

Guess the Animal

Assign each student an animal from Close to You. Give each student one index card and have them research their assigned animal using print and online resources (see below for the suggested internet links from the book). Instruct the students to jot down 8-10 clues about their animals on their index cards. For example, "This animal is very sensitive to touch." or "This animal gives birth standing up." When students have completed their research, invite each student to present a clue and allow the rest of the class to guess the animal. The presenter can give clues until the audience has guessed the animal. Once the animal is revealed, the presenter should share the rest of the clues and any additional information about the animal with the class.

Internet Links

Animal Diversity Web:

BBC Science and Nature:

Electronic Zoo:

San Diego Zoo:

Sea World:

Write and Illustrate a Book

Have each student pick an animal from Close to You. Ask each student to make a big book in the shape of their animal. Instruct students to research information to include in the book. Ask them to illustrate the pages with their own drawings or with pictures found from the internet. Encourage your students to share their books with other classes and grade levels.

Where Do They Live?

Have students work in pairs. Assign each pair an animal from the book and have them research and create a display on a map that shows the location(s) of their animal around the world. Students should search for facts about the animals' habitats. Then, have students discuss their findings with the class.


Using the appropriate elements, apply the following three-point rubric to evaluate students' work during these lessons:

  • Three points: Students were highly engaged in class discussions; fulfilled all requirements of assignment; project carefully prepared; reflected in-depth and thorough research; during group work, the group worked well together; presentation well organized.
  • Two points: Students participated in class discussions; fulfilled most requirements of assignment; project satisfactorily prepared; reflected adequate research; during group work, the group worked well together most of the time; presentation satisfactory.
  • One point: Students participated minimally in class discussions; fulfilled few requirements of assignment; reflected inadequate research; project carelessly prepared; during group work, the group had problems working together; presentation disorganized.

Suggested Readings

Amazing Animal Babies (Eyewitness Junior) by Christopher Maynard. Introduces a variety of baby animals, discussing how they learn, feed, grow, and survive.

DK Readers: Wild Baby Animals (Level 1: Beginning to Read) by Karen Wallace. Children who are just beginning to read and have a limited vocabulary can read how baby animals grow up in the wild.

How Animal Babies Stay Safe by Mary Anne Fraser. This volume from the "Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science Series" shows how baby animals are protected.

Panda Whispers by Mary Beth Owens. Animal parent-child pairings show different species cuddling in their natural habitat as they lovingly prepare for rest.


Definition: A living organism that can move on its own and has specialized sense organs and nervous system.
Context: Aristotle divided the living world between animals and plants.

Definition: A warm-blooded animal that has hair or fur, produces milk, and bears young.
Context: Dolphins may look like fish but are actually mammals.

Definition: A cold-blooded vertebrate animal of a class that includes snakes, crocodiles, turtles, and tortoises.
Context: The crocodile is a reptile.

Definition: A class of animals with common physical features.
Context: There are many species of duck. Some species, such as the Hawaiian duck and the Laysan duck are endangered.


These lesson plans address the following K-2 national standards:

Subject area: Life Science
Standard: Understands how species depend on one another and on the environment for survival.
Benchmarks: Knows that living things are found almost everywhere in the world; different types of plants and animals live in different places.

Subject area: Life Science
Standard: Knows about the diversity and unity that characterize life.
Benchmarks: Knows that plants and animals have external features that help them thrive in different environments.

Subject area: Science and Technology
Standard: Understands the scientific enterprise.
Benchmarks: Understands that in science it is helpful to work with a team and share findings with others.

Subject area: Language Arts
Standard: Gathers and uses information for research purposes.
Benchmarks: Uses a variety of sources to gather information.

Subject area: Language Arts
Standard: Uses the general skills and strategies of the writing process.
Benchmarks: Uses writing and other methods to describe familiar persons, places, objects, or experiences. Uses strategies to edit and publish written work.

Subject area: Language Arts
Standard: Uses the general skills and strategies of the reading process.
Benchmarks: Understands that print conveys meaning (i.e., knows that printed letters and words represent spoken language)

Subject area: Language Arts
Standard: Demonstrates competence in speaking and listening as tools for learning.
Benchmarks: Listens and responds to a variety of listening forms, such as stories, poems, rhymes, and songs.



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