Night Zookeeper is an online learning program based on the popular children's book series. Students will adventure through the Night Zookeeper’s magical world, learning creative writing skills, spelling, and many other tools to help then become excellent writers.
When we began exploring the program, my third and first-grader started by creating their characters. My homeschool room was pure giggles as they fiddled with the drawing tools and made some silly-looking characters. These characters essentially become the avatar throughout the program. This online program allows for interactions with others in comments and game competitions but is handled in a safe, effective Coppa compliant way. Teacher/Moderators give students feedback on their work and children are encouraged to complement other’s writings. Parents can easily monitor their children's work and interactions by logging into the Parents Dashboard, where each assignment and comment is laid out by date. The Parent Dashboard also provides students’ scores so parents can quickly identify areas a student is struggling in.
There's no shortage of activities for students to do, and new content seems to appear weekly! My students began playing different games and discovered neat writing prompts. Night Zookeeper hosts over 1,000 different games that focus on spelling, grammar, and sentence building. A favorite we found involved selected the word that was spelled correctly to cross a river of hot lava!
When a student is feeling creative, they can check out the “create” section, which offers a wide array of writing prompts. A few specific instructions are provided, and the rest of the words are left up to the student. Here, my son was challenged to compose a 40-word poem, use two adjectives, and use the term “persistence pays,” in it:
The “Lessons” feature provides structured, class-like learning. The lessons we watched began with a video and develop into a writing assignment. My students could choose between a Night Zookeeper lesson, which explained the concept of the story world, or as lessons that dives into animals. At the end of the lesson, it’s time for the student to demonstrate their comprehension by writing a report. This is accomplished in a dialogue format, which is a great step by step way to write a thorough recap of their learning. My third grader was asked to complete sentences to form his report, while the first-grade level was simpler and more material was provided through the story characters.
Overall, Night Zookeepers developed a mystical story world to engage young learners and help them develop their writing skills. It’s filled with great learning games, lessons, and creative prompts. Our time one Night Zookeepers challenged my son’s reading comprehension, helped build his parts of speech recognition- all while having fun! This program felt very unique in its online focus on creative writing. The interactive feedback from teachers was a helpful tool to build student’s confidence and guide them on the right- or shall I say “write” path! I’d recommend it to families looking for a magical journey into creative writing!
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