Welcome to our end of the year beach-ocean theme unit.  This unit is perfect for the end of the year.  In Virginia, my students are very familiar with the ocean and have frequently visited the beaches along the Atlantic Ocean.  Additionally, the unit involves active activities to keep the end of the year energy moving along a positive learning curve.  So, dive in with the Room 35 Pugsters as we have fun, fun, fun, until the last dismissal bell of the year rings!

         Getting Started with the Unit...

    Planning this unit was enjoyable.  The suggestions listed on this page are the result of my lesson preparation research.  Check out these ideas and/or links to supplement your own creative ideas. 

                 Creating the background and bulletin board ....

  *  Begin with the basic background and sea plants.  The students will add the art work as the unit progresses.  The picture below shows the completed project. 



                     TLC Ocean Books -

                      Teacher's Friend Publications - June book

                  Seahorse - I drew the seahorse on chart paper to make a pattern then transferred the pattern to tag board.  I made 8 seahorses from tag board.  Students traced the seahorse on large construction paper.  Then, sponge painted the seahorses.  The color of the construction paper does not make a difference.  The varied colors made the seahorse sponge painting more interesting.  Dots were made from paint dotted with Q-Tips.

                 Crab - made from paper plates.  The pattern and directions are in the June book published by Teacher's Friend Publications.



                    THE OCEAN BLUE TLC BOOK

    My students created their "Ocean Blue" books using the TLC art book called Ocean.  We created one page a day.  At the end of the book making project, students bind the pages together and take their book home in the beach pails after our beach party celebration.  Below are examples from two pages of this book.


                             MUSIC RESOURCES

       The two beach party CDs that my students love are listed below.  I copy a few of the songs on chart paper.  All of the beach/ocean poems are written in one large chart pad (spiral pad with about 50 pages).  The kids use the charts for reading the room or as a listening center to sing the songs.  We usually begin our day with one of the more active songs after our morning meeting time.  To view the music CDs or to order, click on the cover pictures.  This is a direct link to


Disney's Beach Party Catch a Wave: Beach Songs for Kids


                            ERIC CARLE BOOKS     

      Incorporate books written by Eric Carle into the beach-ocean theme unit.  The text and art work in each book weave creative learning experiences students can apply in their writing and artistic endeavors.  The seahorse book has abundant information about the habits of seahorses.  I use a House for Hermit Crab as a springboard for students to create their own embellished book retelling the story. To view any of the books in this unit, simply click the mouse on the book cover picture.  This is a direct link to


           A House for Hermit Crab Mister Seahorse

    After reading the book, A House for Hermit Crab, I review the story through  picture walk activity.  On the board, I have chart paper taped and a marker ready to use as students dictate their responses to the picture walk sequence activity.  The months are listed on the chart paper.  Students dictate an event that happened to Mr. Seahorse each month.  When the chart is completed, we talk about being writers and illustrators like Eric Carle.  I model the book making activity students will complete over the next two to three days at this time.  Each student will make their own House for Hermit Crab book using the charted responses, crayons, markers, colored pencils, and construction paper scraps.  The directions are:

  1.  Give each student one piece of manila or white construction paper cut in half. Explain to the students that they will need a page for each month of the story as well as the cover page.  Show students where the paper supply will be located.  They need to complete a page before taking more paper.  Additionally, each paper should have their name written on the back, clipped at the end of the writing session, and stored for the next day.

  2.  Model for students how to make the illustration and write the first sentence for their story. 

  3.  When students have completed all of the illustrations and sentences for their books, bring students back to the meeting area.  This mini-lesson will focus on how to use scrap construction paper to make the illustrations more interesting.  If your students have been involved in using a scissors to make shapes or create projects without tracing, this will usually require one mini-lesson.  If not, create one page at a time over the week modeling the process.  Using scraps of construction paper, ask students what can be made for the pages in their seahorse books to make the art really "pop" (we use this word in our classroom in many projects).  List ideas.  Show students how to take a rectangle piece of paper and make coral.  Use a square, cut to make a circle, and spiral for the shell.  Make fan shapes and use crayons to make other shells on the ocean floor.  Use yellow scraps to make the lantern fish bright.  Use long, narrow strips of green, cut in wavy ways for the sea grass.  These are a few of the creative embellishments my students made in their House for Hermit Crab books.


          Another great book to integrate with the Eric Carle books is called, Is this a House for Hermit Crab? by Megan McDonald. 

                                              Is This a House for Hermit Crab?

  The story begins when Hermit Crab outgrows the house on his back.  He begins to look for a new home and fids many different forms of shelter along the shore.  However, none of these new homes will be suitable for Hermit Crab.  Then, a giant wave pulls him out to sea and puts him in the path a a hungry fish.  He escapes by going into an empty snail shell.  When the danger passes, he finds that this is a great new home.

   This book can be used as a compare and contrast activity.  For additional resources for this book, the TEACHER'S HELPER published by the Education Center, June/July 2005, has activities devoted to this story.


                   SONGS AND POEMS BOOKS

Commotion in the Ocean Five Little Sharks Swimming in the Sea



                                                 MAD LIBS

   Add Mad Libs to the unit.  I have "tweeked" the Mad Libs activity to use with my first grade class.  To prepare for the lesson, use chart paper and a marker.  Draw lines on the chart paper for the nouns, adjectives, verbs, misc. in columns.  Write the suggested words from the Mad Libs book under each column.  After students are familiar with this process, have them dictate words to complete each column.  This is a painless way to work with grammar, parts of speech, etc.  The book I use in this unit is pictured below.  Click on the cover to see what this book is all about.

                                           Under the Sea Mad Libs Junior (Mad Libs Junior)

           Nonfiction Books

           SPANISH EDITION Que Es Un Oceano?/what Is An Ocean? (Lee Y Aprende, El Mundo Que Nos Rodea/the World Around Us) What is an Ocean?  English Edition

An Emergent Reader

Scholastic Publications

A Swim Through the Sea



                         Shell Books


  What Lives in a Shell? (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 1) What Comes in A Shell?

Scholastic Publiations

Emergent Reader

Shell (Eyewitness Books) Seashells, Crabs and Sea Stars (Take-Along Guide)


                          Literature Resources 

                  for Shared and Guided Reading


Henry And Mudge And The Forever Sea

 Henry and Mudge Series

Fluffy's Silly Summer (level 3) (Hello Reader)

Fluffy"s Silly Summer Level 3

The Ocean Alphabet Book (Jerry Pallotta's Alphabet Books)




                         A Classroom Favorite... 

                    Beach Day

        Wonderful patterned language in this text as well as beautiful illustrations supporting each page.  Wonderful book to use for writer's workshop to encourage children to write using their five senses.

       More Beach Books


Sea, Sand, Me! At the Beach
All You Need for a Beach To the Beach!




A Day at the Beach: A Seaside Counting Book from One to Ten MATH STARFISH GRAPHING         


   Graph the Starfish - The starfish for this activity may be ordered through Oriental Trading ( or purchased at a party supply or craft store.  I ordered a box of the starfish then made a graph.  This is a center activity but for early kindergarten a small group guided activity would work well.  I put the starfish in a small fishbowl.  The graphing papers are in the paper basket at the center.  If you would like a copy of the starfish graph, click on the starfish graphing link in the above table.  Students need to be able to sort, count, and understand how to represent what they discovered in a graph.

   Graph the Fish-I ordered different colored fish from Oriental Trading company for this activity.  Then, put the fish in a fishbowl.  Students had to take one handful of fish (I used a small net for scooping fish from a pet store), sort the fish by color, count, and graph the results.  If you have an Ellison machine at school, you can also make the fish from different colors of construction paper.  The paper fish are more difficult for younger children to scoop and manipulate than the foam cut fish.

                       Math Theme Links




                Pictures from our June 2006 Beach Party Bash!


                  June, 2006 Pugsters

         AND DID WE DANCE......




                                                        Supplies for the Beach Party

   1.  Beach Balls - I ordered the small beach balls from Oriental Trading.  Each child received a beach ball and a permanent black marker.  On each beach ball I wrote the words, "First Grade Was A Ball".  The beach balls and markers were then placed inside of the beach pails.  Children blew up their beach balls and had their classmates sign their names on each beach ball.  The beach balls were returned to the beach pails to take home.

     2.  Beach Pails - Each child received a beach pail.  I had pink for girls and lime green for boys.  I was fortunate to have a parent purchase the pails at the Dollar Store (thank you Mrs. Posillico).  She wrote each child's name on the pails.  The pails were used to carry all of their party and art materials home.



      3.  Summer Writing Journal- I copied a page from the June, Teacher's Friend book for the cover of the journal.  This was glued on to a piece of construction paper.  Inside of the journal, I wrote a note about writing during the summer and added a page of ideas or prompts.  The journals were stapled and placed inside of the beach pails.

       4.  Note pads, pencils, and sharpeners -  In each pail, I placed a summer theme pencil (flip flops) purchased through Oriental Trading.  I added some pencil topper erasers and a pencil sharpener from the Dollar store.  I gave each child a note pad shaped like a flip-flop purchased through Oriental Trading.

        5.  Sunglasses - The kids each received  pair of sunglasses.  These were purchased through Oriental Trading.  My large sunglasses were a Dollar Store find.

        6.  Bubbles - I purchased the large bottles of bubble blowing liquid at the dollar store along with small bottles.  I also found some interesting shapes and bubble blowing toys at the Dollar Store.  I usually save the large bottles and make my own bubble liquid using glycerin. 

        7.  Art - The kids carried home their ocean book, crab paper plate art, and scuba diver inside of their beach pails on the last day.   All materials from the party or that were created during our ocean theme fit inside of the beach pails.  Easy to take home on the bus.

        8.  Beach games - I purchased a small party favor set of smiley face mazes at the Dollar Store.  Each child had one of these inside of their beach pail. 

        9.  Ocean Black line book - I made a black-line book for each student.  The story was from the Poem in My Pocket series.  

        10.  Ocean Name Plate - For their Ocean Learning Log, I printed an ocean name plate called, "Learning is Oceans of Fun".  If you would like to print this name plate, go to



                               Writer's Workshop Ideas


     In my classroom, we have a daily writer's workshop.  In addition to the other ideas listed on this web page, you may want to include:

   1.  "I'm Driving To the Beach" - prompt.  Each student visualized and made a writing plan (drawing or drawing/labeling) about driving to the beach.  Using their five senses, they included beach sights, sounds, etc.  They wrote about driving to the beach.  I used a car die-cut, took out the window, and pasted their school picture inside of the window to make it look like they were driving to the beach.  I attached the car to the published writing piece.  The children had the opportunity to "personalize" their car.  This is Schuyler's car.


 2.  Beach - Acrostic Poem - Using Microsoft Clip Art, I made an acrostic poem using the words, B-E-A-C-H.  We brainstormed words that began with each letter relating to the beach.  They wrote using their own word choices or with support of the group minil-esson chart.







               * (Ocean Gallery)




   More coming soon... but glad you visited to ride the wave with us.

                                       B. Froehlich, 2006


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