One of my favorite January activities is to invite my younger students to look in on the North American Bear Center Den Cam. A few years ago the Den Cam really took off in popularity. My kindergarten classes were part of that craze. For the first early weeks in January we took a look at the Den Cam every time the kinder classes came in. On the day Lily gave birth I remember rushing around the building announcing the birth of a bear cub. My three kinder classes rushed into the library to sit and watch and listen to the live video feed. They couldn’t see anything but the backside of Lily the mama bear, but we could sure hear! After that day we continued to check in on the cub through the live feed and some video captures. I remember my principal saying “thanks to you I didn’t get much work done this weekend…” because she had been tuned in at home.
It’s a great tool to use for pairing with a unit about animals in winter. I strongly recommend this video feed of Lily in her den for the upcoming week (as a birth is expected any day) or locating video feeds to integrate with other units. It really helps students understand the reality of animals they may regularly only see in pictures and just occasionally in real life at the zoo. There are usually advertisements at the beginning of the video to support the cost of the effort. I haven’t noticed anything too inappropriate, but I suggest using those 30 seconds with your projector off.