This is the Sea That Feeds Us: going beyond the book

May 18, 2010

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We’ve been asked to share in detail. Warning, Warning! Long Post ahead. Hope you can stick with us! We’ve got “lots” of fun stuff to share.

Some of you may be wondering, “Is this blog for parents, preschool teachers, public school teachers or homeschool families?” All the above! Since we have a diverse background in education, we share a diverse range of ideas. Our goal is to get good children’s literature into the hands of children both at home and at school. Please share this link with all parents and teachers you know. It is our joy to give away books we love! The more we can share, the merrier!

Our FREE book of the week GIVEAWAY is This is the Sea That Feeds Us. Today we will share a variety of learning ideas that take this book to the next level. If you are inclined to be a bit flexible as we are, you can adapt these ideas to the homeschool, the preschool setting or the elementary school classroom.

Read Aloud: The Deep Blue Sea is an excellent companion read aloud to This is the Sea That Feeds Us. The Deep Blue Sea is a cumulative story that introduces colors and reinforces the concept that there are connections throughout nature. But most important, this book is fun and full of vivid illustrations! We love this book as much as the children do!

Read Aloud: Ten Little Fish is a creative counting book. Each couplet contains a disappearing fish and a rhyming number. Once all of the fish have disappeared the plot changes and we count back up to 10 fish. Children love the vibrant colored pictures that have a clever 3-D appearance.

Sing-along: Simple Songs for Preschool by Deborah J. Stewart, M. ED., is comprised of,  “songs that have been designed to include vocabulary, rhythm, rhyme, repetition and content that will be meaningful to the young child.” There are 19 simple songs and 7 simple chants. If you are looking for sing-along songs for a specific theme, we’re sure you can find a song on Deborah’s CD.

When I Went Swimming features the lyrics, “When I went swimming in the deep blue sea . . . .” These lyrics reinforce the repetitive pattern found in the read aloud book The Deep Blue Sea. The song also introduces different colored fish.Be sure to check-out Deborah’s CD! We’ve included links to make listening easy.

Sing-along: Write your own song adaptation! Here’s an idea from us: One little, two little, three little fish. Four little, five little, six little fish. Seven little, eight little, nine little fish. Ten little fish swimming in the deep blue sea. This is a simple song we write on a large chart. We model early literacy concepts such as one-to-one pointing, left-to-right / top-to-bottom reading, letter sounds, etc. (Hold onto this song adaptation. We’ll come back to it in a minute. It is very hard for us to compartmentalize our ideas. For us learning naturally flows together: reading, writing, math, art and music. So please bear with us and our eclectic ideas! We’ll try to tie it all together.)

Art: This little collage art fish was done during a preschool small guided group. After the read aloud of Ten Little Fish, we provided the children with a large cut-out of a fish and scrap paper. For older children we would let them draw and cut-out their own fish shape. The preschool child that made the fish above glued and glued and glued. Then he asked if he could make an eye. Certainly!  Other children glued-on just a few scrapes of paper. That’s it, they were done! That was fine too. We encourage children, but do not force projects upon them.

Math: Okay, back to the book Ten Little Fish and our song adaptation Ten Little Fish. We invite children during “circle time” to use their finished collage fish to act out the book Ten Little Fish and also the song adaptation Ten Little Fish. We do this over and over again during our study, letting 10 little children take many different turns. (You can also use your little collage fish to act out the song: When I Went Swimming.)

Math: During small guided group, while we were making the collage fish, we posed a simple math investigation question: Which fish do you think has the most scraps of collage paper? During conversations with the children we ask questions that incorporate math vocabulary such as more and less.

Centers: We are big advocates of “low maintenance” centers and activities. Long, long ago we shed our teacher made learning activities. Children are so much more creative than adults. We set-up simple art materials such as markers, scissors and construction paper. We make it part of our routine to play at the centers with the children. We build in the block center. We rock the babies in the home center. And we color, paint, cut and paste in the art center.

During our ocean study we invited the children to create sea creatures at the art station. Above, this 5-year-old made an ocean scene for his sea creatures, sand at the bottom of the sea, water in the ocean and then the sand on the beach. He asked his teacher to write his beach rhyme: Shells over here, Shells over there, Shells everywhere.

Home setting: Grandma read Ten Little Fish to 5-year-old Grandson #3. Without prompting, he then ventured into Grandma’s art stash. All of the Grandsons have an open invitation to Grandma’s art stash. He drew and cut-out this red fish. Then he made 10 black lines to represent the 10 little fish in the book. Grandson #3 sees math in everything! It is one of his natural strengths. At home and at Grandma’s house he is given the freedom to nurture his strength.

Homeschool: We don’t have “centers” at homeschool; however, most afternoons we have project time. This is mostly a free artistic expression time.  Miss Enigma and MacGyver both LOVE to paint!  This colorful fish and the one featured at the beginning of the post were painted by MacGyver during project time last week. He freehand drew his fish with a permanent marker and then painted with a combination of water and acrylic paints.

After painting the fish above, he suddenly appeared with glitter. I didn’t know that he knew where I kept the glitter! Surprise! So he added glitter to finish off his beautiful creatures of the sea.

At the other end of the table, at Miss Enigma’s request, I drew a “simple” outline of a fish. (Miss Enigma is not allowed to use permanent markers!) She wanted to paint it white. Yes, white on white paper. It was her creation so that is what she did. She added just a drop of gold at the end to make a goldfish. Then of course, we had to add the finishing touches of glitter.

Wow, we are exhausted after that post! Are you still with us? Are you still awake? Remember we did give you the long post warning! Hope you found one thing you can use! Enjoy your week studying sea creatures.

FREE printable book: MacGyver is sharing his day at the beach finding sea creatures! Very exciting!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Deborah May 18, 2010 at 7:56 pm

Thank you for sharing my CD with your followers – I really appreciate it and love all of the fishy activities!

julie May 19, 2010 at 12:25 am

They are all beautiful, yes we’ve never realized how creative a child can be until we see their imaginations put into reality. Well done, I like it and might like to try these activities with my students next time, Thank You and Rgds, Julie

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