The ocean is one of those things that simply fascinates me. My mom has a picture of one of my brothers and I sitting on two white chairs outside in Cape Cod from when I was around 5 years old. Ever since then, I have been vacationing on the Cape. One of my very best friends owns cottages on the Cape and I try to go there at least once a year. I can’t wait to get back there this summer. The beaches, food, and friends make it one of my favorite vacations ever.
My good friend and I have our favorite beaches that we go to and our favorite things to do. We love looking for shells, kayaking, watching the seals, shopping, and going to our favorite homemade ice cream shops! Teaching about the ocean allows me to share these experiences with my Texan students who have not had the JOY of visiting Cape Cod… or the ocean for that matter.
To make our unit on the oceans come to life, I fill my room with some of my favorite ocean things. I put a jar of sea glass at the writing table.
And also added a variety of shells…
…and a few picture books to inspire my young writers.
It worked because my students have become OBSESSED with writing “shell books.” During Work on Writing, they have busily been creating pages upon pages of fantastic observations. They are SO INTO shells and beaches.
Taking my students lead, today we wrote Venn Diagrams using my collection of shells. To do this, I gave each student two shells and a blank venn diagram.
I also gave each table a few magnifying glasses. After a brief lesson on descriptive words, my students got to work observing and writing.
They wrote and wrote and wrote.
My students loved completing this assignment, and even today, during inside recess, (because it was raining) they chose to do it again!
As I walked around during our writing time, it was fantastic to see my students using excellent word choices and their knowledge of adjectives to complete the assignment.
Another favorite activity this week has been reading all about different ocean animals. My students are getting so good at reading for meaning, sharing what they have learned and thinking deeply about the texts they read. The last few days we have focused on jellyfish, turtles, and the food chain in the ocean.
My students have loved researching each of these topics in our ocean books.
We also have read many passages during guided reading and started creating the ocean in the hallway outside my classroom. It is so much fun to add an animal to our ocean every day!
One last thing that was really awesome was that during work on writing time, one of my students has been working on writing and creating a food chain. When I went to conference with him on what he was doing, he proudly showed me that he was creating a food chain. At that point his food chain had two fish and written on them he described exactly what was taking place. The big fish says, “The big fish will eat the little fish. It will get eaten by the jellyfish.” The little fish says, “The fish will get eaten by the bigger fish.” Today during daily 5 he created a jellyfish and a shark to add to his food chain and wrote all about it. I love that he took the initiative to make this himself and I didn’t even prompt him to do it! Even better is that he is applying all that he is learning in class!
I love being able to make these units come to life for my students and to watch them really explore our new topics. I hope that you are having a great week!