Owen and Mzee

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by jacobsbluesky
Last updated 5 years ago

Language Arts
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Owen and Mzee

The book tells the remarkable true story of Owen, a baby hippo, and a 130-year-old giant tortoise named Mzee. The devastating tsunami in Southeast Asia in 2004 separated Owen from his family. Villagers in Kenya worked diligently to save him. Then to everyone's surprise the orphan hippo and the Aldabra tortoise adopted each other. Mzee was a loner for years but accepted the baby hippo as his own. They are now inseparable and spend their days eating, playing and swimming together.

Owen & MzeeThe True Story of a Remarkable FriendshipTold by: Isabella Hatkoff, Craig Hatkoff, and Dr. Paula Kahumnu

Characteristics/Evaluation of the GenreInformational books present facts in an in-depth look at a specific topic or true story. The books tend to use expository language and are organized with a logical sequence of information. Full-color photographs are often included. In Owen and Mzee, we are given the facts about how their relationship came to be; the sequence is in chronological order; and there are many full-color photos of Owne and Mzee. The story is also told in a narrative format as many modern informational texts are.The information in the text is accurate and up to date with the content organized in a logical sequence. The information is presented in a story like format which would appeal to elementary students and the vocabulary is appropriate. There are endnotes to further explain certain points of the text. There are reference aids included such as captions and additonal readings. The visual appearance of the book is appealing and there are many photos, maps and the captions clarify and extend the text.

Focus Skill: Students will define friendship and how it applies to Owen and Mzee.Materials needed: chart paper, pen/pencil/markers; book; internet website of Owen and Mzee website: www.owenandmzee.comWhole class will discuss: What does friendship mean? Can anyone be friends? What makes a good friend? Students will partner read book. Students will keep the theme of friendship in mind as they read. Students will find out more about hippos and Aldabra tortoises by researching the internet. Students will look at what they eat, where they live, how big they are, how long do they live and do they like the water. Students will make a Venn diagram to compare Owen and Mzee. Students will write a journal entry about how their ideas of friendship changed while reading the book and cite 1-2 examples from the text.(Idea from PDF RIF.org.kids-attatchment above)

Anderson, N. A. (2013 4th Edition). Elementary Children's Literature: Infancy Through Age 13. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.Hatkoff, I., Hatkoff, C., & Kahumbu, D. P. (2006). Owen & Mzee: The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship. New York: Scholastic Inc.Ohio Department of Education . (2015, September 14). Retrieved from Reading Standards for Literature Extended Standards Grades 3-5: https://education.ohio.gov/getattachment/Topics/Special-Education/Students-with-Disabilities/Students-With-Disabilities-(1)/OACS-E-English-Language-Arts.pdf.aspxOwen & Mzee. (2015, October 12). Retrieved from Reading is Fundamental: RIF.org.kids: http://www.rif.org/documents/us/Owen-and-Mzee.pdf

Reading Activity for Language Arts



Grade Level & ReadabilityGrades 3-5 Grade Equivalent 4.7Guided Reading Level: R

StandardsReading Standards for Informational Text Grade 5Key Ideas and Details3. Explain the relationships or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text based on key ideas in the text.Grade 5 Social Studies: Historical Thinking and Skills1. Multiple-tier timelines can be used to show relationships among events and places.

"This heartwarming story shows the power of a single friendship to transform a life, and inspires us all to look at the world around us and reach out to others."- Caroline Kennedy


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