HOISINGTON — Roosevelt School fourth graders pulled out their inner author to write their first book called “Critters of Cheyenne Bottoms.”
Autographed and signed by the 56 fourth graders, there are three hard back books in the set.
“Dr. Dan Witt gave us a presentation about the photographs and his life, “ said teacher Shelly Hanzlik. “He provided 56 photos and each student drew a name. The animals are ones that live around us and in Cheyenne Bottoms.”
The books included such animals as cardinals, pheasants, whooping cranes, bull frogs, coyote, and the bobcat. The students got to keep the original photo.
Dr. Witt is known in the area for his wildlife photography and has won many awards. He also writes the biweekly column “Marsh Musings” for the Great Bend Tribune.
In his presentation, Dr. Witt talked not only about the animals, but character traits, finding hobbies, and being happy. “He’s very inspirational,” said Hanzlik.
The students appreciated Dr. Witt’s efforts as well. “They told him how lucky they were to meet him, and they were blown away by his adventures,” said Hanzlik.
Each student researched the behavior, diet, habitat and anatomy of the critter they drew. They then wrote a summary.
The students took a field trip to the Kansas Wetlands Education Center where they saw some of the critters they studied.
“They made a connection to their story,” said Hanzlik. They kids learned about ecology and being careful about releasing animals into the wild that do not belong there such as the red ear slider turtle.
The kids also presented the book to Doc Witt.
“It was a good experience to learn about animals that they may not have known about,” said Hanzlik.
The books were available for the students to purchase.
Hanzlik was pleased with the results. The students made good connections between the research, the science and the actual creature.
“Made it more real for them,” she said. She added that the activity was a prime example of the cross-curricular Common Core standards.
“This is a keeper,” project, said Hanzlik. She said lots of learning and connections took place. “It’s just grown in all difference directions,” she said.
“It was cool,” said student Josh Urban.