Report writing. Teacher s notes. Background

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1 Teacher s notes Background The following pages help pupils to plan and structure a report about certain animals. It doesn t matter if they don t know much about the animals as all the facts are here for them. If you want to provide a purpose and audience for their writing then they could be writing information leaflets for a pet shop. They could look at examples of these before they begin this writing task to see how they are laid out and what information they contain. Sequence of teaching Read the information about the animals and group the notes together into similar topics e.g. feeding, exercise. You can decide whether to provide the headings for them, or let them decide for themselves. Use the report planning format to record these notes into different paragraphs. At this stage they may select suitable information to go in the introduction and place this in the centre. They now have the information necessary to structure their report into paragraphs. It doesn t matter which order the paragraphs go in. They can then write their report, using the writing frame if needed. They can redraft their reports, using ICT, and insert relevant pictures for their information leaflet. Remember, they are not trying to persuade someone to have the pet, but inform them of how to care for it. Features of a report Present tense Technical vocabulary Complex sentences General statements (it won t be about a specific pet) Paragraphs An introduction and a conclusion Page 1 of 10

2 Facts about caring for gerbils Gerbils enjoy human contact but can sometimes be a bit timid. Gerbils live for 3-5 years. They can be given small pieces of fruit or vegetables. They need fresh water from a gravity-fed bottle or in a heavy bowl. They enjoy cardboard tubes to run through and gnaw on. Their teeth continue to grow so they should be provided with something to gnaw on. They love to dig, so they need to have plenty of bedding to make this possible. Their cage should be cleaned out once a week. Always handle them over a soft surface as they can jump very fast. They are friendly animals that rarely bite. Never pick up a gerbil by its tail, or it may get a serious injury. Potato, rhubarb or tomato leaves may make them unwell. If they are unwell they may need to see a vet. They are most active during the evening or night. Gerbils can be kept in a glass aquarium with a wire mesh led, or in a purpose built gerbil cage. Gerbils hoard food so make sure their cage is regularly cleaned out. They love to climb, so make sure they have something in their cage to climb up. If the gerbil is timid, start by stroking it in its cage to get it used to your scent. They need to have lots of shredded paper, wood shavings and sawdust as bedding material. A healthy gerbil has bright eyes and a glossy coat Page 2 of 10

3 Facts about caring for budgies Budgies live in the wild in Australia. Their nails need clipping a few times a year. They need plenty of toys to keep them amused. Budgies should have a daily bath. In the wild they would eat seeds, grain and vegetation. They can live outdoors in an aviary. Small pieces of fresh fruit and vegetables can be given as treats. They need to be let out of their cage to fly around every day. They enjoy being stroked on their chest. They can live up to 15 years. Budgies can be kept indoors in a large cage. A budgie may bite you if it feels stressed. The cage should have some horizontal bars to allow climbing. Budgies can be taught how to mimic sounds and talk. Fresh drinking water should always be available. You need to build up gradually if you want your budgie to perch on your finger. Some foods are harmful, especially lettuce, avocado and potato. Covering the cage at night will encourage the budgie to go to sleep. To pick up a budgie, put its back and wings in your palm. They can catch Scaly Beak and will need to see a vet Page 3 of 10

4 Facts about caring for canaries They need special perches to file their nails and clipping is very stressful for them. There are many different breeds of canary, including Gloster, Coroner, Yorkshire and Fife. They will need a cover over their cage at night to help them to settle down to sleep. In the wild canaries eat lots of different seeds, grains and vegetation. The bars of their cage should be no wider than 12mm, or they may escape. They enjoy playing and need lots of toys to keep them stimulated. The come from the coast of Africa. They may need cuttlefish to give extra calcium and grit to help them digest their food. You should attach a bath to the side of the cage to allow them to bathe. They can also be kept outdoors and the aviary needs to be large enough for them to fly around. Their cage should no be placed near draughts or direct sunlight. They will keep their yellow colour if they are occasionally given an egg to eat. Canaries can live up to 10 years. Their water bottle and feeding bowls need to be changed and cleaned daily. Fresh fruit and vegetables can be given as treats. Canaries can be many different colours, including: yellow, white, brown and buff. You must not feed them any lemon, sweets or chocolate as it may make them unwell. Canaries will bite if they become worried or stressed. They need regular exercise and should be allowed to fly outside their cage daily. They can live in cages with finches as well Page 4 of 10

5 Facts about caring for hamsters They are most active at night. They enjoy cardboard tubes to run through and chew. Fresh water should be given in a gravity fed bottle. Chinese hamsters like company. They should be fed on good quality hamster mix. Solid hamster wheels are much safer than ones with metal spokes. They need something to gnaw on or their teeth grow too long. They may be injured if they are dropped. At two weeks old hamsters can be given solid food. Baby hamsters are hairless and blind. Russian hamsters are the smallest and should be kept in same sex pairs. Hamsters live for about 2 to 3 years. Hamsters store their food in their cheeks. They may get exhausted with too much time in an exercise wheel. Syrian hamsters prefer to be kept alone. Fresh fruit and vegetables should be given. They have a short pregnancy of 16 days. They easily catch colds, so don t handle them when you have a cold. They may store food in their bedding. Syrian hamsters are the largest Page 5 of 10

6 Facts about caring for guinea pigs They can be kept outdoors all year round. Fresh water needs to be available in a gravity fed bottle. Their pregnancy lasts days. They don t usually like toys but will play with cardboard tubes and boxes. They need lots of fresh clean hay to eat. Guinea pigs need lots of floor space and an outdoor run. They need lots of vitamin C, so add fruit and vegetables to their diet. Vitamin C can be added to the guinea pigs water. The hutch needs a separate nest area with fresh bedding. They rarely scratch or bite, so they make good pets for young children. Rabbit food is not suitable for guinea pigs. They usually produce a litter of 3-4 babies. They are from South America. Place their hutch in a quiet position as they do not like loud noises. A healthy guinea pig has bright eyes and a shiny coat. The hutch needs to be weather-proof and kept in the shade on sunny days. Young guinea pigs can start eating solid food at 3-4 weeks old. They live between 4 and 8 years. If they are running around indoors, keep them away from cats and dogs. They need gnawing materials to stop their teeth growing too much Page 6 of 10

7 Facts about caring for mice Cages should contain a nest box with shredded tissue paper. When mice breed they can have between 8 and 10 babies. The mouse cage should be kept away from direct sunlight and any draughts. They live for 1-2 years. Mice enjoy playing with toys. Don t mix mice with other species or they will fight. They are friendly pets and enjoy human contact. You can give them a good quality rodent mix for their main food. Their cage should have no gaps smaller than your finger as they can squeeze through small spaces. They housing needs cleaning once a week with a mild disinfectant. Take care that they don t have sudden changes of temperature. They can have sunflower seeds and small amounts of fruit and vegetables. They like cardboard tubes to run through and chew on. They should be cleaned out once a week. Take care not to overfeed mice as they can get too fat. Mice like to live in groups with their own kind as company. Mice don t eat cheese or other dairy products. They need fresh clean drinking water from a gravity-fed bottle. Mice like to play with each other. Use treats on your hand when holding the mouse Page 7 of 10

8 Facts about caring for parrots If they appear to be unwell, you should call a vet. They can be kept indoors or outside in an aviary. They like to play with coconut shells, seashells or raw vegetables. They need to be allowed to fly around every day. Small pieces of fresh fruit and vegetables can be given as treats. The African Grey parrot is the most well-known species and is very good at talking. They can be trained to sit on a perch outside of their cage. Parrots will let out a very loud scream when they want your attention. Some species of parrot can live for 70 years. There are about 30 species of African parrot. You can feed them on a good quality parrot food mix. They are friendly, intelligent birds that love human contact. They must have enough space to spread their wings without touching the sides of their cage. They are very active and enjoy climbing. If your parrot looses weight it may be a sign that it is ill. In the wild, parrots eat seeds, grains and other vegetation. The cage can be covered with a cloth at night to help them to sleep. Parrots have a variety of colours and markings. They need lots of toys to entertain and stimulate them. Chocolate or sweets may harm your parrot Page 8 of 10

9 Report planning grid Feeding Health Exercise Introduction Housing Handling Page 9 of 10

10 Writing frame Introduction How to care for Housing How to handle it Exercise Feeding Health Page 10 of 10

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