Croc Files


Steve Irwin started coming into our home when my son was 2. He enjoyed the Croc Files and that’s probably where he got his love for alligators, sharks, and other animals. These past few days has me going down memory lane of some of our favorite shows, concern for his family and the pain they are going through, and thoughts on how the rest of the world is grieving Steve, The Crocodile Hunter.

The outpouring of comments and heart felt condolensces can be found on many websites, especially The Animal Planet website. Sometimes though, pen and paper make the best tool to share your thoughts, express your feelings, and to begin the healing. Betsy Whalen, the Director of Discovery Educator Network sent us an email earlier that gives you and your students a way to share your thoughts. Here is her message to you:

In the days since the death of Steve Irwin, we’ve received a number of comments from DEN teachers about the difficulties their students are having dealing with this tragedy. According to news articles posted the other day, psychologists have said that adults need to realize that for children, Irwin’s death has a similar impact as Kennedy or Princess Diana’s did for adults and we can’t underestimate the importance of helping them deal with losing someone that many young children felt personally connected to.

In light of that, we’d like to reach out to the students in the DEN community and provide them with an opportunity to express their feelings about the Crocodile Hunter by writing letters to the Irwin family to communicate their condolences and provide some thoughts on why the Crocodile Hunter was important to them.

If your DEN members’ class, or select students in the class, would like to contribute letters, please ask them to package individual letters in one package and send them to me at:

Betsy Whalen
Discovery Education
1 Discovery Place
Silver Spring, MD 20814

We will package all of our DEN student letters up and deliver them directly to the Irwin Family through Animal Planet.

We’ll also keep you updated on the development of the the Crikey fund and other ways students may be able to participate to feel connected to the Crocodile Hunter.


Betsy Whalen


Related posts


  1. Lee Kolbert said:

    What a wonderful way to help our students (and ourselves) deal with the horrible and sudden passing of a true educator. Even in his death, Steve teaches us a great deal.

  2. Debra Gastelum said:

    I really like this idea and I’m planning on asking my principal if we can do this as a school. I know there are many students that are mourning the loss of Steve. I think this will help us all.

  3. Debra Gastelum said:

    Since we’re on the subject of Steve Irwin, let me mention how dismayed I am to have read an article about Feminist academic Germaine Greer who had some ugly things to say about Steve.

    In fact, it bothered one of my coworkers so much he blogged about it!

    We’ve just redone our school’s blogging system so there’s not much there yet, but if you’d like to read the article and his response then follow the link below.

  4. Michele Futch said:

    That’s a great idea. It could serve as a writing purpose in the classroom and help the students at the same time!

  5. Debbie Bohanan said:

    I know the students would really enjoy writing to the family. It would help them in so many ways and I am sure the family would love to know how much the world cared about their dad.

  6. CaSandra Martin said:

    I was deeply heart broken when I got the news about Irwin ‘s death. I too am a fan of his and I will miss him dearly. The students that I teach discussed the what they heard on tv and we read the article from our local paper and compare what the reporters reported. It was truly amazing to see how involved and eager the students were.

  7. Debra Gastelum said:

    There was another article about Greer today. Her neighbors don’t appear to think very highly of her.

    I hate it that there’s always someone out there that’s going to be nasty. At least her negative statements do create good class discussions about point of view, author’s purpose, and even fact and opinion, if one chooses to turn it into a teachable moment.

  8. Cheryl Woolwine said:

    What a great way for us all to work through our grief, and to include the students – a fanatstic teachable moment. This is something students and teachers can do together!

  9. Michele Futch said:

    I agree, Cheryl. It is a fantastic teachable moment. I plan to try it next week with my students.

  10. Cheryl Woolwine said:

    I believe when it comes to Steve Irwin and this tragedy the negative comments are in the minority and only cause educators the oppotunity to use it to their advantage and make them one of those special teachable moments. Not only teachable about Irwin but also about the power of peoples’ comments and how they can influence others – right or wrong.

  11. Michele Futch said:

    Is there a deadline for when we need to get the letters to Betsy?

  12. Debbie Bohanan said:

    I talked with Betsy and she said that the Irwin family has access to all his videos. This will be a great resource for his son to learn who his father was. It will be nice for his daughter too so she can be with her dad anytime she wants to see him. My heart goes out to his wife and the whole family. This is a tremendous loss for the world but an even greater loss for the Irwins.

  13. Debbie Bohanan said:

    Thinking about history and preserving memories is important for all of us. We all have family members with wonderful stories to share about their lives and history. I think it would be a great project to have students detail the oral history of an elderly member of their family. This could be done in a Photostory or video. They could even use unitedstreaming clipart to detail historical events.

  14. Danielle Abernethy said:

    When I took Digital Storytelling with Bernajean Porter at T+L2 she shared projects from others who created digital stories about their parents or other ancestors. They used family photos or stock photos (unitedstreaming too) when family photos were not available.

    Is there a calendar date that goes along with this theme? Maybe we can do a Digital Storytelling class where everyone creates a DS on their family, a family member or a family experience. Great way to put all those skills to use!

  15. Ana said:

    I was really shocked with his death. In the class we watched some news, and made an “In memory…” poster, which we posted on our outside Bulletin. Children felt the uniqueness of his final moments, and relly understood the respect we need to have for nature. It was great to have Steven around us for a while.

  16. Cheryl Woolwine said:

    I really appreciate how Discovery has allowed us all to share and come together in this tragedy – it has helped us deal and offered us a way to help our students deal! Thanks

Comments are closed.