Home Page Nile Crocodile  
About Nile Crocodile Poetry in Motion Climbing the Poet-Tree Poetry Olio
Poetry Calendar Speaking Schedule Taming the FCAT Literacy Links Contact Nile

About Nile Crocodile - crocodlus niloticus

Crocodile Photo

In the who's who of crocodilians, the Nile Crocodile is one of 23 species throughout the world. It's habitat is freshwater areas and some coastal habitats in Africa.

About Nile Crocodile - the Reading Reptile

Nile Crocodile LogoLink to Dr. Nile Stanley Vita

In 1992 as president of the New Mexico State Council of the International Reading Association (NMIRA), Dr. Nile Stanley was bestowed with the nickname Nile Crocodile, the Reading Reptile by past president, Ann "Pink Flamingo" Tarleton. Nile immediately developed a fondness for the crocodile adage as it was a familiar reptile like the alligator. "The Gator," of course, is the mascot for the University of Florida, at Gainesville where Nile Stanley received his Ph.D. "Duh!" - get it, gator doesn't rhyme with Nile.

All mascots need a cheer to rouse people to action, so Dr. Stanley developed the "Nile Crocodile" cheer. One part of a group chants, "Nile, Nile!" The other part answers, "Crocodile!" Then all together they make the chomping motions of the crocodile with arms outstretched while snapping hands together. Dr. Stanley, enjoying the power of his presendency, decreed that all members of the NMIRA and former students must give the Nile Crocodile cheer when in his presence. All this croc cheering has led to much bufoonery particularly in public places like restaurants, conventions, and airports.

All leaders need the magical power of a totem, so students and friends showered Dr. Stanley with admiration by giving him presents -- lots of crocodiles and alligators! The collection has grown to include ceramic crocs, crocodile combs, soaps, hats, and toys. Some people collect pigs, Beanie Babies, and other keepsakes. The crocodile is a worthy totem as it evokes mystery, fear, and the allure of the jungle.

One popular teaching activity that has sprung from all this crocodilian lore is "Ask Nile Crocodile." Dr. Stanley likes to enter a workshop with an element of surprise. Using one of those tacky crocodiles on a leash you can buy in a gift shop in Florida, he enters the room and scares the living daylights out of selected members of the audience. After sicking the crocodile on unsuspecting attendees, the game begins. "Now that I have your attention, let's play Ask Nile Crocodile. I have literally become a Nile Crocodile because of my extensive reading. I am now an expert on the Nile Crocodile. Ask me any question.

The audience usually responds with questions like: "Nile Crocodile, what do you eat?" "How big do you get?" "What is the difference between an alligator and a crocodile?" "Where do you live?" "How do you mate?" "How are your young born?" Occasionally an audience member asks a question Nile Crocodile can't answer, and he responds, "I'll have to look that up in a book or internet and get back to you."

Ask Nile Crocodile is a marvelous game to get children to actively demonstrate their knowledge about a topic. It can be easily adapted to any age , interest, or subject. The child can read and do research to become an expert on anything-animals, famous people and places. The experts can literally become who they studied by dressing in costume and using props. Some teachers set aside a special "ask the expert" day for each child to show off their knowledge. It's o.k. to be smart! Furthermore, the audience gets out of the passive mode of being asked questions, to becoming the interviewer.

Is not all learning the asking of questions? How can you learn if you are not curious? Is not the role of the teacher to help children find topics they can be passionate about? Isn't the key to happiness in life finding something to be passionate about? Jane Goodall is passionate about apes and preserving the earth. Carl Sagen found his passion by looking up at the stars. As Arsenio Hall, comedian used to say, "Get BUSY" By the way, you'll find the answers to the game, Ask Nile Crocodile, by reading!

Doth spoke Nile Crocodile, "At any given moment you have to be willing to give up what you are for what you might become!"

Nile Stanley

back to top


Home | Curriculum Vita | Poetry in Motion | Climbing the Poet-Tree | Poetry Olio
Digital Poetry | Speaking Schedule | Interviews | Performance Literacy
Contact Nile | Making the Grade Newsletter | Reading Calendar