Literature Focus Unit
EDU 315
By: Brittany Oster
 Moby Dick
By Allan Drummond
 A Garden of Whales
By Maggie Davis
 A Humpback Whale Tale
By Justin Spelvin
 A Killer Whale’s World
By Caroline Arnold
 Baby Beluga
By Ashley Wolff
 Baby Whales Drink Milk
By Barbara Juster Esbensen
 Big Blue Whale
By Nicola Davies
 Discover Whales
By Ice Water Press
 Do Whales Ever…?
By Nathalie Ward
 Humphrey the Lost Whale
By Wendy Tokuda and Richard Hall
 Is Blue Whales the Biggest thing there is?
 Listening to Whales
By E. Wells
By Alexandra Morton
 Orcas Around Me
By Deborah Page
 O is for Orca
By Andrea Helman
 Sleep Safe, Little Whale
By Miriam Schlein
 Stranded
By Jan Ramage
 The Whales’ Song
By Dyan Sheldon
 Three Whales
By Suzanne Kita
 True Blue Friend
By Cheryl Block
 Whales in the Waves
By Luce Daniels
 Whales Passing
By Eve Bunting
 Whales, The Gentle Giants
By Jayce Milton
 Whales on Stilts
By MT Anderson
 When the Whale Came to Town By Jim Young
*Theme Study
Students will take part in a thematic unit
on whales. This unit will integrate
reading and writing with social studies,
science, mathematics, art, music, and
physical education.
Students will develop an understanding of
the different types of whales and how
they live, what they eat, how big they
get, etc.
Students will read various fiction and non-fiction
books, poetry and writing song books about whales
through silent reading, partner reading, guided
reading, reading aloud, and reader’s theatre.
Students will read their favorite poem or story
about a whale.
Students will share the story of the experience
they spent as a whale.
Students will review the word wall about whales.
 Students will write in their journals about what happens in
the book Moby Dick by Allan Drummond. They will also
express if they enjoyed the book or not and why.
 Students will write a story of their life if they were to be a
whale in the big sea. They can be as creative as they one
but have to incorporate some of the sight words in their story
as well.
 Students will write and reflect on how they felt as a whale
and what they could do to help the real whale be safe from
 Students will research poems about whales and get some
ideas, then create a haiku poem of their own.
 Students will add sea terms and whale terms to their word
The students will do a writing activity about whales and
then they will use the author chair to present their story
of the experience they had living the life as a whale.
The teacher will give out short poems about whales at
the beginning of the unit and they are to memorized the
poems so they can bring it to life in from of the class.
The class with participate in small groups and large
groups discussions about whales.
Students will put an a mini readers theater that they
wrote on whales and how they live in the sea.
 The teacher will read a book to the class about different types
of whales. Then the students will go back and reflect on what
they heard by drawing a picture that could describe the story.
 The teacher will have an audio tape on the sounds whales
make. Then the students will get in to groups and try to make
a whale sound themselves. Fun!
 The students will listen to their peers whale sounds that they
can do.
 The teacher will read A Garden of Whales By Maggie Davis to
the class.
 Students will listen to their peers as they are in the authors
chair telling about their experience as a whale.
 The teacher will have flash card with pictures of different
whales and some information on the back that the teacher
could tell to the class to give hints.
 The students could play a home made memory game that
would give them the chance to review different kinds of
 The teacher will show a video of whale and how they live in
their habitat. The children will then get into small groups
and talk about the information they found interesting.
 The students will view the readers theater performance.
 Students will view the following websites:
http://www.kidsbiology.com and
Students will organize picture of whales
into the correct groups.
Students will paint pictures of whales to
hang from the ceiling.
Students will create a Whale Word Wall.
Students will share their poems to the
class in an artistic presentation.
 Research and discuss different species of whales.
 Discuss where whale live.
 Students will learn what whale eat.
 Talk about the specific habitat needs of a whale.
 Discover the main parts of a whale.
 Make whale blubber.
Materials Required: baggies, ice, Crisco, combs, toothbrushes,
pepper, dishes
Directions: Experiment with Whale Blubber (You will need baggies
and Crisco) Smear Crisco into one baggie place another baggie inside
that allow the kids to put their hands in the baggie then into a bowl
of ice this will demonstrate how whales stay warm. You can also
demonstrate the difference between whales teeth. you will need
combs, toothbrushes, and pepper Baleen whales have bristles for
teeth. their teeth filter across the surface of the ocean for feeding.
fill a bowl full of water and sprinkle heavily with pepper. Let the
kids dip the combs into the water. Combs ( normal whale teeth) do
not collect enough pepper for a full meal. Now, dip the toothbrush in
the water. This will demonstrate how baleen whales are able to eat.
Students will find out how much whales eat every day
and have a chart of the differences between eating
Students will find out the populations of different whales.
Study the whales lengths – Talk about feet, inches, meter,
Students will work on adding, counting, math sentences
(could use Goldfish whale or cut out whales) Ex. 3 + 5 =
8, but the numbers could be placed in a whale picture.
Students will play a math games involving whales on this
Students will work on math codes to reveal the answer to
the question.
Students will learn about when whales were first recorded
in history.
Take a field trip to a museum or watch a video on whales.
Students will study the different oceans where certain
types of whale live.
Students will learn about different types of whales.
Students will learn the most endangered whales and why
that is happening.
Students will learn what cultures have used the whales for
– eating, clothing, tools, etc.
Students will participate in a whale dance and use
Students will water paint a whale of their choice, then
cut it out and but it on a blue back ground to
represent the ocean
Students will learn how to draw whales.
Students will make their own whale sounds.
Students will listen to the music whales make.
Students will make a sea scene for the Readers
Theater performance.
Students will use different instruments to create a
whale song.
 Students will play whale tag.
-This is when the children play tag but they have to hop with both
feet together as if they were whales.
 Students will pretend they are whales and play a relay game that
consists of them running and gathering “fish” to eat.
 Students will play whale basketball which is a game of “Pig” but
will use the word “Whale”.
-This is where the children shoot a basketball if the they make it
next person in line has to shoot from that same spot and if
they miss
they get a “W”. The person who ends up with “WHALE”
first, loses.
The winner is the one with the least letters of the word “WHALE”.
 Students will get into groups of 4 or 5 and make a line that would
represents a whale and weave through an optical set up in the
gym or outside.
Video: National Geographic’s – The Great Whales (VHS)
 Activating background knowledge: Students will think what they
already know about whales.
 Brainstorming: Students will think of the book they have heard of that
involved whales. The students will think of the time they have seen a
whale either in person or in picture, what were their thoughts.
 Connecting Students will think of ways they could help save the whales.
 Predicting and Monitoring: Students will predict the measurements of
different whales.
 Playing with Language: Students will use language creatively through
stories, poems, and journals.
 Revising: Students will make changes to writing activities and also in
their Readers Theater.
 Visualizing: Students will picture what they will paint before they get
their tools.
Print: Students will recognize words on the Whale
Word Wall and also pictures of whales in the flash
cards and memory games.
Comprehension: Students will recognize literary
genres of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. Students
will compare and contrast the different whale types
and where they live and eat.
Language: Students will apply various skills in their
writing activities: Stories, journaling, poems, readers
Reference: Students will make the word wall on
whales and graph the types of whales by their size.
Large Groups: grand conversations, field trips, building
the Readers Theater set, word wall, viewing videos,
singing songs, whale relay, listening to peers, talk about
whale facts.
Small Groups: playing whale memory, readers theater,
whale music, obstacle course on being whales, peer
conferencing, small group discussions, making whale goo,
playing the whale memory game.
Individual: writing stories, poems, and journaling,
painting and drawing pictures of whales, researching
whale pictures, work on whale math, listing to whale
Journal entries and KWL chart: Rubric
Participation in grand conversations
Analytic Writing Traits Rubrics and peer conferences for
stories and poems
Informal observation of author’s chair, reader’s theater,
small groups, games, and science experiment
Math graphs and social studies map
Spelling test with words with words from the word wall
Active participation in physical education and music
Language Arts
 Grand
 Read aloud: The
book Moby Dick –
Start Journal
 Listen to poetry
and create own
about whales
 Start memorizing
 Start on
 Brainstorm
words for the
word wall
 Practice
 Share their
poems to class
 Play memory
 Share stories
about the day
they were a
 Perform
 Paint pictures of
 View pictures of
 Make memory
 Listen to whale
sounds and in
small groups to
make their own
 Continue
making songs
if not done
 Start making
Theater set
 Create a whale
dance that
goes along
with music
 Play Whale Tag
 Play the obstacle
course game
pretending they
are whales
 Play “whale”
 Play the whale
relay game
 Play whale and
fish game
(another tag
 Graph different
whales lengths
 Graph different
whale weights
 Play Whale
adding game on
 Use whale
shapes to work
on addition
and counting
 Graph the seas
with the whale
 Research and
discuss different
types of whales
 Find out what
the whales
habitat is and
what they eat
 Make whale
 Find out the
between some
 Talk about the
Social Studies
 Learn about
whales and when
they were first
 Take a field trip
to a museum or a
zoo to find more
 Study different
whales and
what ocean
they live in
 Discuss ways
to save whales
from dying or
getting hurt
 Make a map on
different types
of whales live

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