Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog

Sea Life Projects, Part 2: Sorting Turtles—with FREE Download!

This is a guest blog post from Susanna Westby of   Whimsy Workshop , and it includes a FREE download with worksheets! See the bottom of the post for the link to download, and check back frequently for more great classroom-tested ideas!   If you'd like to see her other contributions to this blog, click here

Hello! I am Susanna from   Whimsy Workshop Teaching   back again to talk to you about a new favorite series in my classroom:   Underwater Encounters   by Elizabeth Cook with photos by Robert Yin .   As I moved to a higher grade recently, I had to find text that was more challenging, yet still with engaging pictures. Our theme is Sea Life, so this entire series was the foundation of our writing. You can see   last week's project here .

Today I’m going to share an activity I did with a book from this series called   Sea Turtles . The book gives an overview of the differences between sea turtles and land turtles, as well as many other details about sea turtles.

Before reading the book, we discussed what we knew about turtles.   Many students were not aware that there were different kinds of turtles, so they found it interesting that some turtles spent most of their lives in the ocean. We then focused on the main differences between land turtles and sea turtles. Students use the book in small groups to generate lists of characteristics for each kind of turtle.

The next activity tested their expertise. Using the lists they had generated, we made a master list of characteristics that distinguished the turtles.   For example, both have shells, but only sea turtles have flippers. Students referred to the book to write their facts, and then came up to glue their fact under the correct category on a class poster. We then reviewed our learning by completing a smaller version of the class chart. We also made Venn diagrams to review similarities between the two kinds of turtles.

 The sorting activity is a free download if you’d like to try it with your class!


Susanna teaches K–3 students in Vancouver, Canada. She has taught for over 20 years and lives with her husband and two sons. You can find her teacher tips over at her blog,   Whimsy Workshop Teaching.


Download your free turtle sorting activity by clicking the worksheet image below! For more information on the Underwater Encounters series,   click here   or click the images below to download a series information sheet with highlights and key features.