Swimmy, by Leo Lionni

            Swimmy loves to explore the beautiful sea but there is a problem.  How to keep the bigger fish from eating him and his friends.  Join Swimmy on his adventure and see how he solves this difficult problem.

Materials

  •             26 fish colored in a variety of colors (red, yellow, blue, green, orange, and purple)  Put alphabet letters on the fish
  •             2 whole fish, those with large scales work best
  •             Checkerboard fish pattern

Vocabulary

  •             Fierce (to be really aggressive and angry)
  •             Marvel (to see something really wonderful)
  •             School of fish (a group of fish that swim together)

Before Reading the Story

             When everyone is sitting down and ready to listen, tell the children that you have a problem.  Explain your problem and let the children help come up with solutions to solve it (I wanted to go outside to play with my friend but I could not find my shoes and it was cold outside; the big kids in the neighborhood keep teasing me because I wear glasses etc).   Encourage the children to come up with a variety of solutions. Remind them that at school solutions means solving a problem without violence. Show the children the cover of the book and tell them that the story today is about a fish named Swimmy who has a problem.  Let’s read the story and see if he can come up with a good solution.

Social & Emotional Development/Social Relationships; progresses in responding sympathetically to peers who are in need, upset, hurt, or angry; and in expressing empathy or caring for others. AND Approaches to Learning/Reasoning & Problem Solving; develops increasing ability to find more than one solution to a question, task, or problem.

Reading the Story

            Make sure that you stop throughout the story and ask questions to know children’s comprehension (Do you know what it means when the author says a school of fish?  How do you think Swimmy felt when all his brothers and sisters were eaten by the big tuna fish?  Look at Swimmy swimming in the ocean, what do you think marveled means?  Have you ever seen something marvelous?   How do you think Swimmy will get his new friends to swim with him?

Language Development/Speaking & Communicating; develops increasing abilities to understand and use language to communicate information, experiences, ideas, feelings, opinions, needs, questions; and for other varied purposes.

After Reading the Story

            Go back through the story and re-look at the pictures.  Can the children name any of the marvelous creatures that Swimmy saw in the sea? 

Literacy/Book Knowledge & Appreciation; demonstrates progress in abilities to retell and dictate stories from books and experiences; to act out stories in dramatic play; and to predict what will happen next in a story.

Give each child a colored fish.  Have the children stand up and swim their fish behind their back, through their legs, over their head, around their foot, etc.

Mathematics/Geometry & Spatial Sense; builds an increasing understanding of directionality, order, and positions of objects, and words such as up, down, over, under, top, bottom, inside, outside, in front, behind.

            Ask all the orange fish to swim over to the door and the blue fish to swim to the table.  Choose a destination for each color fish and see if the children can follow through without your help.  Tell all the red fish to hold their fish high and the blue fish to hold their fish low.  Ask all the green and purple fish to swim together. 

Language Development/Listening & Understanding; shows progress in understanding and following simple and multiple-step directions.

Discovery

            Bring in 2 whole fish (those with large scales work best).  Have the children paint the fish with tempera paint and then put a piece of light construction paper on top.  The child presses down on the paper and gently rubs it.   Peel the paper off of the fish and you will have a fish print.  Although this is messy, children seem to really enjoy this project.  Ask a local fish market for a donation or find a fisherman who will share his catch with you.  With the children you can name the parts of the fish from their print.

Science/Scientific Knowledge; expands knowledge of and abilities to observe, describe, and discuss the natural world, materials, living things, and natural processes. AND Creative Arts/Art; begins to understand and share opinions about artistic products and experiences.

Music and Movement

Ask the children to stand up because you are going to pretend to be a school of fish.  First everyone needs to put their wrists on their hips and move them back and forth.  These are your fish gills.  Now everyone needs to sway to and fro because fish kind of wiggle through the water.  And don’t forget to make your fish lips by sucking your cheeks in.  Now you are fish but does anyone know what a school of fish is?  Explain that a school of fish swims through the water together.  Put on some instrumental music (classical) and have the children follow you about the room swimming close together.  Can they stay in a group without falling behind or banging into one another? 

Language Development/Listening & Understanding; understands an increasingly complex and varied vocabulary.

Teach your children a fish song like All the Fish are Swimming in the Water   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60RRRq4dJ58       

All the fish are Swimming in the Water

All the fish are swimming in the water, swimming in the water, swimming in the water

All the fish are swimming in the water, bubble, bubble, bubble, pop!

The big old fish are swimming in the water, swimming in the water, swimming in the water.

The big old fish are swimming in the water, bubble, bubble, bubble, pop!

Tiny fish are swimming in the water, swimming in the water, swimming in the water.

Tiny fish are swimming in the water, bubble, bubble, bubble, pop!

Put palms together and move back and forth.  This is the sign language word for fish.  When you say pop!  Have the children clap their hands.

Mathematics/Number & Operations; demonstrates increasing interest and awareness of numbers and counting as a means for solving problems and determining quantity.

Play the song Cooperation and let the children dance to the beat. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94klgOOoX5c.

Creative Arts/Movement; expresses through movement and dancing what is felt and heard in various musical tempos and styles.

Blocks

            In the story the seaweed grew tall.  Can you stand your blocks up tall and make a seaweed forest? Can the child stack blocks 10 plus high?

Mathematics/Number & Operations; begins to use one-to-one correspondence in counting objects and matching groups of objects. AND Physical Health & Development/Fine Motor Skills; grows in hand-eye coordination in building with blocks, putting together puzzles, reproducing shapes and patterns, stringing beads, and using scissors.

Art

            Put large fish shapes at the easel.  Only put out primary colors (red, yellow, blue, and white).  Encourage the children to mix the colors together to make new colors.

Science/Scientific Skills & Methods; begins to participate in simple investigations to test observations, discuss and draw conclusions, and form generalizations.

Sand and Water

            Any fish toys that you have to put in the water.  Small fish nets to scoop.

Physical Health & Development/Fine Motor Skills; grows in hand-eye coordination in building with blocks, putting together puzzles, reproducing shapes and patterns, stringing beads, and using scissors.

Library and Writing

            Use the colored fish that you made for rug time.  Have the children help attach paperclips to each one.  Lay on the floor alphabet side up.  Attach a magnet to a string at one end and a small stick at the other.  Children can then fish for letters or colors.

Physical Health & Development/Fine Motor Skills; develops growing strength, dexterity , and control needed to use tools such as scissors, paper punch, stapler, and hammer. AND Literacy/Alphabet Knowledge; identifies at least 10 letters of the alphabet, especially those in their own name.

Dramatic Play

Math and Manipulatives

            Use the checkerboard fish pattern to color the fish.  Help the children start their patterns and see if they can follow through on it.

Mathematics/Patterns & Measurement; enhances abilities to recognize, duplicate, and extend simple patterns using a variety of materials.

Outdoor Play

            Use the movement activity of swimming as a school to get to and from the playground.  See if the children can move once around the playground before they leave off to play.

Language Development/Listening & Understanding; understands an increasingly complex and varied vocabulary. AND Social & Emotional Development/Cooperation; shows increasing abilities to use compromise and discussion in working, playing, and resolving conflicts with peers.

Transitions

Put the alphabet fish on the wall with tape where the children can easily see them. Ask a child to find the fish that starts with the letter of their name. The fish that has two of the same letter in your name (Sally), etc.

Literacy/Alphabet Knowledge; increases in ability to notice the beginning letters in familiar words.

Fish for Math & Manipulative pattern making. I like to add colored feather to make the tail fin.

The Rainbow FIsh, by Marcus Pfister

Rainbow fish thinks he is so beautiful and special that he does not want to share with others. What he learns is that to have friends, one must be a friend and share.

Materials

  • Shiney and silver materials that can be used for collaging (foil, ribbon, sequence, papers)
  • A silver writing marker or pen
  • Sidewalk chalk and spray bottle
  • Minnows (found in a bait shop) This is an added expense but if you can afford is really fun to do.

Vocabulary

  • Shiney (something that sparkles)
  • Silver (a color)
  • Scales (the skin covering of fish)
  • Fin (the part that moves to help fish swim)
  • Gills (the part of the fishes body that help it get air to breath)

Before Reading the Story

Ask the children how they feel when someone ignores them or is not nice to them? Ask the children what does it mean to share? How do you feel when someone shares with you or you share with someone else? Allow the children to discuss any ideas they have about friendship and sharing.

Language Development/Speaking & Understanding; develops increasing abilities to understand and use language to communicate information, experiences, ideas, feelings, opinions, needs, questions; and for other varied purposes. AND Social & Emotional Development/Social Relationships; progresses in responding sympathetically to peers who are in need, upset, hurt, or angry; and in expressing empathy and caring in others.

Reading the Story

On the page where the octopus tells Rainbow Fish to share his scales, ask the children if they know why this will make Rainbow Fish happy? (Because he is sharing)

Literacy/Book Knowledge & Appreciation;demonstrates progress in abilities to retell and dictate stories from books and experiences; to act out stories in dramatic play; and to predict what will happen next in a story.

After Reading the Story

Ask the children if they know what makes a good friend? Allow them to discuss and write their responses onto a piece of paper (or small fish shapes) and hang it on the wall. (My brother is my friend because he plays with me, Amy is my friend cause she let me ride the bike). As the children discuss, reinforce the concepts of sharing and kind acts.

Approaches to Learning/Initiative & Curiosity; grows in eagerness to learn about and discuss a growing range of topics, ideas, and tasks.

Discovery

Bring in pictures of real fish for the children to examine and compare. Ask them to describe each fish with 2-3 attributes. (It is fat, it has stripes, it has a big mouth, it has teeth, it is long). As the children compare pictures, introduce words such as fin, scale, and gills. Have them repeat the words back and try to use in sentence.

Science/Scientific Knowledge; expands knowledge of and abilities to observe, describe, and discuss the natural world, materials, living things, and natural processes. AND Language Development/Speaking & Communicating; uses an increasingly complex and varied vocabulary.

Music and Movement

Sing 5 Little Fish Swimming in the Water. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VtgdKHt1W9E

Teach the children the first verse of Fish Song. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRRe6bHNDkA

Fish have fins and are covered with scales.

They swim in the water and breath with their gills.

(After the children can repeat the verse, pretend to be fish and swim around the classroom. Can you swim fast, slow, in circles, very low, backwards?)

Language Development/Listening & Understanding;demonstrates increasing ability to attend to and understand conversations, stories, songs, and poems.

Blocks

Tell the children that many fisher people fish from a boat. Challenge the children to build a boat they can get inside of.

Approaches to Learning/Initiative & Curiosity; approaches tasks and activities with increased flexibility, imagination, and inventiveness.

Art

Put out shiney and silver materials that the children can collage with today. These will show up nicely on black construction paper.

Creative Arts/Art; begins to understand and share opinions about artistic products and experiences.

Library and Writing

Cut out scale shapes, one per child. Encourage the child to write or mark their letters on the scale using a marker. Then ask the child what they are willing to share with others? Write their response under their name. Hang all the scales together on the wall with a fish head shape and a tail.

Literacy/Early Writing; progresses from using scribbles, shapes, or pictures to represent ideas, to using letter-like symbols, to copying or writing familiar words such as their own name. AND Social & Emotional Development/Social Relationships; progresses in responding sympathetically to peers who are in need, upset, hurt, or angry; and in expressing empathy and caring in others.

Sand and Water

Fill the table with COLD water today. Add the live minnows. Make sure the children wash their hands both before and after touching the fish and stress the importance of being gentle when touching. (When I have done this with children, some are very interested and some are a bit afraid. Though this will require some adult supervision, it is a fun and different sensory activity for children).

Science/Scientific SKills & Methods; begins to use senses and a variety of tools and simple measuring devices to gather information, investigate materials, and observe processes and relationships. AND Approaches to Learning/Initiative & Curiosity; chooses to participate in an increasing variety of tasks and activities.

Dramatic Play

Math and Manipulatives

Cut out a simple fish shape in small, medium, large, and largest. Cut these out in several colors. The children can use them to sort by size or shape or put them in order from small to large. If you cut out a large variety they can use to make patterns.

Mathematics/Patterns & Measurement; shows increasing abilities to match, sort, put in series, and regroup objects according to one or two attributes such as size or shape.

Outdoor Play

Give the children sidewalk chalk to write on the cement today. ENcourage them to practice writing their name or draw fish. When they are finished they can use a spray bottle of water to spray over their writing/fish.

Literacy/Early Writing; progresses from scribbles, shapes or pictures to represent ideas, to using letter-like symbols, to copying or writing familiar words such as their own name. AND Physical Health & Development/Fine Motor Skills; progresses in abilities to use writing , drawing, and art tools, including pencils, markers, chalk paint brushes, and various types of technology.

Transitions

Send the children to the next activity by having them pretend to swim like a fish. Call out colors starting with silver, then gold. (If you are wearing silver go line up. Remind children to check around zippers and shoelace holes).

Language Development/Listening & Understanding; shows progress in understanding and following simple and multiple-step directions.

Resources

Fish Eyes-a book you can count on By Lois Ehlert

Fish Eyes is literally a book for counting plus one. The pages are full of bright colorful fish that jump, smile, and flip. The book also introduces words like fantailed through cheerful illustrations.

Materials

Pictures of Eye of an Animal cards

Fish Eye pattern

Yarn, magnets, and paperclips to make fishing poles

Parachute

Vocabulary

scales

Before Reading the Story

Tape several pictures of fish onto the wall where all the children can see. Ask the children if they know what these animals are called? Where are they found? Explain to the children that fish come in many different shapes and sizes. Look at the pictures and talk about the scales, the fantails, the stripes, etc.. Ask the children if they ever eat fish, do they like it? Let them share any information they may have about fish. (I have a fish tank at my house and it has little blue fish in it. I went fishing with my Papa. You have to squish the worm onto the hook.).

Approaches to Learning/Initiative & Curiosity; grows in eagerness to learn about and discuss a growing range of topics, ideas, and tasks. AND Science/Scientific Knowledge; expands knowledge of and abilities to observe, describe, and discuss the natural world, materials, living things, and natural processes.

Reading the Story

As you read the story, stop on the different pages to point out new vocabulary words. Striped fish just like Anar’s shirt. Spotted like my arm that is spotted with freckles. Fantail, point to the tail and then the tail of the fish on the wall. Do you see any others with a fantail? Flashy-look at Brandon’s shirt, it is very bright and flashy. For words flipping and darting, use your hand to show what these actions look like.

Language Development/Listening & Understanding; shows progress in understanding and increasingly complex and varied vocabulary.

After Reading the Story

Ask a child to stand up in front of the group. Ask the rest of the children,”How many children are standing”? Ask them , “how many will there be if you add one more”? Do and then recount. Continue asking one more and then counting to see if correct. Do till 10 and then have all the children sit back down. Now ask two children to come up front, how many will there be if we add two more, took one away, etc..

Mathematics/Number & Operations; develops increasing abilities to combine, separate and name “how many” concrete objects.

Discovery

Print out the animal eyes and the animal pictures. The children then match the correct eye to the correct animal.

Mathematics/Patterns & Spatial Sense; shows growth in matching, sorting, putting in a series, and regrouping objects according to one or two attributes such as shape or size.

Music and Movement

Sing Bubble Pop! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60RRRq4dJ58

Mathematics/Number & Operations; develops increasing ability to count to 10 in sequence and beyond.

Play the song Baby Beluga and encourage the children to dance and sing along with. http://www.song-bar.com/song-blog/playlists-songs-about-fish-and-other-life-aquatic

Creative Arts/Movement; expresses through movement and dancing what is felt and heard in various musical tempos and styles.

Teach the children the song and actions to Roll Over the Ocean https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evKl-jfA1vo

Social & Emotional Development/Knowledge of Families & Communities; begins to express and understand concepts and language of geography in contexts of the classroom, home, and community.

Blocks

Tell the children that you have made a fish game for them to play in blocks today but first they must build a fish pond. Make fishing poles with rulers, pencils, or sticks and pieces of yarn with a magnet attached. Place the fish shapes in the pond with a paperclip attached near their mouth. The children try to pick up the fish using the magnet on the fishing pole. You can colr the fish depending upon what concepts you might be working on (color, letters of the alphabet, numbers, children’s names, etc..

Physical Health & Development/Fine Motor Skills; grows in hand-eye coordination in building with blocks, putting together puzzles, reproducing shapes and patterns, stringing beads and using scissors.

Art

Place the Drawing a Fish directions on the table and encourage the children to practice drawing fish. Once they have drawn a fish, encourage them to embellish it.

Creative Arts/Art; progresses in abilities to create drawing, paintings, models, and other art creations that are more detailed , creative, or realistic.

Library and Writing

Hang the pictures of the fish in the center for the children to look at and discuss. Ask them to find common properties and differences among the pictures.

Science/Scientific Skills & Methods; develops increasing ability to observe and discuss common properties, differences and comparisons among objects and materials.

Sand and Water

I have used a day that we read about fish to clean our classroom aquarium. We put the goldfish in the water table and talk about how to care for the fish for the day. I have allowed the children to”pet” the fish by gently putting their clean hands into the water and touching the fish. My classroom children have all really enjoyed this activity along with helping carry water to and from the sink for the aquarium.

Social & Emotional Development/Knowledge of Families & Communities; develops growing awareness of jobs and what is required to perform them. AND Approaches to Learning/Initiative & Curiosity; chooses to participate in an increasing variety of tasks and activities.

Dramatic Play

As the children play in dramatics today, ask them if it is ok to let another child come into the center. Use your center signs to remind the children how many are allowed at one time and is there room for one more?

Mathematics/Number & Operations; begins to make one-to-one correspondence in counting objects and matching groups of objects.

Math & Manipulatives

Use the fish pattern and make a sheet of red, blue, green, and yellow. Cut the fish out and use for pattern play.

Mathematics/Patterns & Measurement; enhances abilities to recognize, duplicate, and extend simple patterns using a variety of materials.

Encourage the children to use the fish to measure the length of the table, their friend, from here to there.

Mathematics/Patterns & Measurement; shows progress in using standard and non-standard measures for length and area of objects.

Outdoor Play

Bring out the parachute. Have the children hold on to the parachute handles. Loudly call, “I wish, I wish, I wish I was a ______/(color on the parachute) fish! All the children touching that color run under the parachute and back out. The rest of the children make waves by moving the parachute from knees to shoulders.

Language Development/Listening & Understanding; shows progress in following simple and multiple-step directions AND Social & Emotional Development/Cooperation; develops increasing abilities to give and take in interactions; to take turns in games and using materials; and to interact without being overly submissive ort directive.

Transitions

Say the following to each child as they move to the next activity. “I wish, I wish, I wish I was a _______?name an animal. The child names an animal and then does the animal walk, movement to the next activity.

Approaches to Learning/Reasoning & Problem Solving; develops increasing ability to find more than one solution to a question, task, or problem.

Resources

turtle
pig
elephant
spider
monkey
person
horse
snake
cat
fish