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.
Today I’m going to share an activity I did with several books from this series, particularly Clever Crustaceans, Fish Tricks, and Treacherous Tentacles. These books give lots of information on many different sea creatures, making them perfect for an activity for students to review what they’ve learned and gather information on more than one creature.
Students looked through the books in small groups, then rotated the books from table to table so that everyone got to see all of the books. Students took notes about interesting facts as they discussed with their peers. They also drew pictures of the animals they were choosing to write about. This was to be a rough draft of information for their next project. The books were perfectly suited to this activity because there is a good variety but also enough information about each one to gather facts.
Each student then chose four sea creatures from their list to use in the next project. Students used the template for a flip book, with a different tab for each of the animal they chose to write about. Students completed each page with a picture and interesting facts they found in the books, and labeled the tabs.
I have included a blank tab book template below if you’d like to try this with your students!
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 image to the left below to download a series information sheet with highlights and key features. To download the packet, click the image to the right.