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 and the previous week's here.
Today I’m going to share an activity I did with a book from this series called Creepy Sea Creatures. The book gives an overview of creatures that live in the deep ocean. My students absolutely loved this book!
Before reading the book, we discussed what it was like in the deep ocean. Many students were interested to learn about why there was no light at the bottom of the ocean. They were captivated by the photos of the strange creatures and interested to learn how they adapted to their environments.
Because students found the creatures so strange and fascinating, we spent some time drawing and labeling the pictures, using the book as reference.
Each student then chose one animal as their favorite. They drew the animal on thick paper and then colored it in with oil pastel. Students were encouraged to press very hard and color their fish in completely. Once this was done, we covered the entire paper with a thick black wash of paint. The result was similar to a crayon resist painting – the animals stand out on the black background. Here are some examples of student work.
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.
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.