Students will be able to:
- tell a story in sequence;
- represent their knowledge of fishes through visual arts; and
- tell or write at least four factual things about fishes.
Students will listen to and share stories about fishes, and process the results through discussion, reading, personal writing, build models or illustrations in this introductory activity.
A variety of paper (including coloured tissue); paint; crayons; found materials (boxes, etc.); concrete material for advanced preparation; books, stories, poems - commercial and student made; materials for writing. Optional: tape recorder(s) and tapes.
Children love to tell stories based on personal experiences. Ask the students to discuss their experiences with fish. As the students talk, listen to the vocabulary and information they are sharing to find out what they already know about fishes and fishing.
You might want to stress the similarities and differences between students and fishes. Some facts about fishes that you might want to emphasize or work into the discussion include the following:
- Fishes have backbones, and other bones, just like people do (you could cook and carefully remove the skin and flesh from a whole fish to produce a fish skeleton for display).
- Fishes are as warm as or as cool as the water is (cold-blooded). They don't stay warmer than their surroundings the way people, squirrels, dolphins or whales do.
- Fishes breathe air (oxygen), like people, but it's air that has been mixed (dissolved) into the water. Dolphins and whales can't breathe this type of air, and must come to the surface to breathe.
- When fishes breathe, they don't swallow the water. Instead, the water enters their mouth, and then passes over the gills and leaves through the space between the back edge of the gill cover and the body of the fish.
- Fishes eat many different things. Some fishes eat only plants, like cows or deer do. Some eat both plants and animals, like people and raccoons do. Some only eat other animals, like cats and tigers do.
Place something concrete (such as an aquarium, a fishing rod, a tackle box) in the classroom to generate student questions and discussions about fishes and fishing a few days prior to the activity. Ask students to bring in their own books, pictures and other belongings related to fishes.
Refer to the list of books and annotations on the Teacher Resource Sheet. These books and stories can be used to create a fish library in the classroom. For very young children, stories and books created by the children themselves can also be added to the resources.
- Get your students to start thinking about fishes by talking about the object you have brought in to the classroom, and have everyone share their personal story about fishes. Working with a partner, have each student share one of their stories .
- Choose a book or poem to be read aloud.
- Ask questions as you go along – What do you think will happen next? How does that make you feel? Did anything like that happen to you? What would you have done?
- After finishing the book or poem, have the class brainstorm a list of new, difficult or fish-related words, and discover their meanings.
- Have students write a free verse poem about fishes. Use some of the ideas listed during the initial brainstorming session.
- Read a new story or poem to the students.
- Have the students make a booklet (use a fish shape) and write a factual story about fish. Add them to the classroom resources.
- Invite a parent or someone from your local natural resources agency to come and talk to the students about their experiences with fishes.
- Determine the following: were the students willing to participate in the story telling? What was the extent of the information they shared? Were the children curious? How much detail was observed in their picture making? Did they include habitat, other creatures of the water, a school of fish?
- Have the students explain their mural or display to another class.
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