Animal Hybrids – Animators, Animals, and ELT

Each remaining English class at Film School Zlín (closing down in summer) is a blessing for me. I try to treasure it with my whole heart and I’m blessed with students who actually make it very easy.

My first year animation students had a trip to the great Zlín ZOO last week to observe and draw animals. There was no English class, as they were spending the whole day there. Having heard about the planned trip the previous week, I decided to do a class on the natural world, making the lesson, as well as the upcoming trip, relevant to both English and animation. We spent some time at the end of the lesson discussing the possibility of creating animal hybrids – a unique cross of any two species, with special qualities inherited from the parent species, with unique features.

The students left the class with a form, which you can see below, so that they could use it for observations in the ZOO and create their own animal hybrid, with detailed description and, hopefully, a drawing. I was hoping it would inspire them, but I had no idea what I would end up getting back.

Thanks to my students’ wonderful creativity, perceptiveness and love of drawing, the result exceeded all my expectations.

What follows are a few examples of what I got from them today. We spent two hours comparing, discussing and being entertained by these, making up stories, adding weird and wonderful details to each creature’s characteristic.

To quietly observe the inspiration flowing freely in the classroom was one of the main reasons why I love what I do.  Two weeks ago, it was a simple idea. Thanks to my students’ love of what they do, this is what it has grown into:

RISH -- Rattus cyprinus

RISH - Description

TIGLE -- Tigris accipitrida

BEECAT -- Apoidea felis

OCTOFFE -- Octoffe erectus

OCTOFFE - Description

SNORSE --Serpentes ferus

SNORSE - Description

NOCERON -- Rhinocerotidae leo hominini

Thanks, everyone! Can’t wait to see more marvels from you;)


10 Comments on “Animal Hybrids – Animators, Animals, and ELT”

  1. Vladka says:

    Wow, amazing works Marian! You have fantastic students and they have incredible teacher who spotted an opportunity to play with language! It does seem like kind of half unplugged lesson where even tho you prepared something in advance, you used their experience from outside the class. Great! Thank you for sharing and for the creativity!



    • You’re right, Vladka, it was somewhere in between:) And I was actually inspired by your work with crayons! Although there weren’t crayons involved here… I might end up buying a whole pack! just to encourage more of this. It’s ironic that I only did this kind of activity in some better form now – spanning over more classes, with a follow up and a resulting “gallery”. I usually do a more in-the-moment class, but I’ve grown to plan a little bit more recently, mainly to get a better sense of direction with the activities, especially in a context like this, where many things happen spontaneously. I’ll see where the right balance lies.
      Thanks for the comment and have a lovely evening!


  2. Alexandra says:

    It’s just fabulous! :)


  3. Anna Loseva says:

    I love the BEECAT!! How cool is that, really, that English can be such a productive medium between various kinds of activities! This is such an amazing ESP field that you’re teaching, very inspirational! Three cheers for your students, three cheers for their teacher!)


    • Yes, it’s very cool, Ann! Each environment has it’s qualities, but this definitely creates a wonderful context for ELT, especially since I also enjoy visual prompts in learning. Knowing my learners are naturally inclined to like visual and tactile stimuli opens up many great possibilities for activities like this. I feel I don’t have to “hold back” on a little bit of experimentation, which is great.
      Thanks for your lovely words, Ann!


  4. T Bestwick says:

    Wow! What fantatsic creations :)


  5. Wow! These are amazing drawings! You’ve got very gifted students. I’d like to try this also with my students. Thanks for this post.


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