Surf, Sand, and Fun for the End of the Year

Summer is not far off, and that means you are likely packing up your classroom and winding things down. Your mind is on vacation, and guess what. Your students' minds are on it too, so why not embrace it? Let's take an ocean themed classroom adventure with a staycation right in your classroom. 
Summer is not far off, and to help you enjoy these last few weeks with your students, how about an Ocean Themed Adventure! Check out this post for ocean themed ideas, activities, and a freebie.
Summer is not far off, and to help you enjoy these last few weeks with your students, how about an Ocean Themed Adventure! Check out this post for ocean themed ideas, activities, and a freebie.

Best Books with an Ocean Theme
Of all the books I chose to feature in today's post, there are a few that I truly just love.  The first, Hello Ocean, has to be one of the most descriptive books available. If you are teaching figurative language, put this one on the list. The illustrations are just so real looking and help young readers who haven't been to the ocean actually feel like they have been. Pam Munoz Ryan selects just the right words to eloquently describe aspects of the ocean.

Riptide by Francis Weller is another favorite of mine. I am a dog lover, and our first dog was a Golden Retriever that looked just like Riptide. Caution though...this one has a really intense part. It is a true story, and your students will be on the edge of their seats with it. The reading level of it is mid third, and I used it in conjunction with a writing prompt focused on voice. The plot is very engaging, so if you're working on cause/effect relationships or plot development, this is a great choice.

Have you read the Scaredy Squirrel books? Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach is one of the cutest books. It would be a lot of fun for students to write their own Scaredy Squirrel stories or make a safety list for him or for other beach travelers. It is written with lots of voice/thought bubbles, so you might also follow that format with a cartoon strip. 
The final book favorite is a nonfiction book called Exploring the Deep Dark Sea and Coral Reefs by Gail Gibbons. Her books have all of the important concepts included, but she writes with word choices that are accessible by most readers in the upper elementary grades. I really enjoyed using these with my students to work on nonfiction text features and research. The reading level is about a third to fourth grade level too, and they hit many of the ocean concepts included in the fifth grade science pacing guide.  
Fun Activities to Check Out
Oh goodness, the activities are plentiful for an ocean theme. You can easily fill several weeks with writing extensions, science experiences and oodles of crafts. I found so many great activities on Pinterest, and this board will be growing. Whether you're ending the school year with an ocean theme, using it during summer school, or at the beginning of the year, you have lots of options to choose from. 
Of the pins I added, I certainly have a few favorites. I just love watercolor artwork, and the two I pinned would be easy to make. My daughter made a few like these in an art camp one summer, and I still have them framed in her bathroom.

Along with art projects, there are many different science experiments you might try.  The Ocean in a Bottle experiment was pinned quite a bit with different versions, and for our standards, creating a map of the ocean floor may make the terms a little easier to understand. I also love the paint swatch and flipbooks for showing how light travels through the ocean and impacts plant and animal life.

Finally, there are many writing options as well.  The one I loved most came from 2nd Grade Shenanigans. I bet her kids loved the final products, and I am sure their parents kept them as a keepsake. Too fun!
Best Websites for Ocean Exploration
Take a virtual field trip to the beach with this website. Walk through all aspects of the ocean and learn lots of science concepts too.  

Wow, this website would have been a tremendous asset a few months ago when I was working on oceanography with our fifth graders.  Students can travel to the ocean floor to discover what is there and what the environment is like.  Cool!

This last website is sponsored by PBS, so you know the footage and quality will be top notch.  The Odyssey travels to the ocean floor with an underwater camera mounted on it.  Again, students can get a true feel of what it's like on the ocean floor.

Before I sign off, I will share the links to a few of my Ocean themed resources.  I will also share one of my ocean themed poems you can use to work on fluency with your students during your ocean themed staycation.

Partner Script:  Sharks and Oceanography  Poetry for Your Pockets Summer and Fall Edition     Shiver Me Timbers! The Ocean's the Life for Me Partner Script     

Ocean Fun Freebie
This ocean themed freebie will help your students with fluency, visualizing, and phonics. Stop by to check it out and all of the other ocean themed ideas.
Now, don't forget to download your copy of the [Ocean Fun freebie]. Have a wonderful Memorial holiday next weekend, and just think...only a short time til Summer!!!

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