The snail and the whale is such a great book to base a course upon, and this morning we began just that. After breakfast we met in the classroom for the first time. We began by establishing ourselves as ‘The Wild Ones’ and we stuck our names and caricatures onto our classroom door.
We then went out to meet the glorious sunshine, sat in the grass and read the book together. Once finished we wandered back inside, sat back down and began our first mini-unit. Its aim was to allow allow the children to comprehend the story better, so we summarized the story with the aid of ‘story strips’, and made a mind map identifying its characters, settings and its general plot.
After having fixing the story firmly into our minds we moved onto the next mini-unit entitled ‘real and make-believe’. We looked at the stylistic differences between a light-hearted cartoon drawing of a whale and a more serious penned portrait, and then we set about creating a list giving examples of real and make-believe creatures and objects.
That being done we moved to exploring the story’s first setting: a harbour. We looked at the book’s illustration of a harbour and identified various things within it, for example the lighthouse and the cargo ships, with colours and teamwork. Then it was back outside again to with a bucket of water and a tray of things to discover which items floated and which sank. The kids really enjoyed this and it was a nice high note to finish the lesson on.