A Sea Turtle's Journey

article by Caroline Arnold , photos by Dreamstime

Learning intention:

I am learning to incorporate new vocabulary from non-fiction texts into my writing so that I can create imagery and symbolism.


Success criteria:

  • I can define new vocabulary discovered in this article.
  • I can use new vocabulary in my writing.
  • I can create texts using imagery and symbolism.


Essential knowledge:               

Information about imagery and symbolism can be found in the English Textual Concepts video Connotation, Imagery and Symbolism.


Read the article A Sea Turtle’s Journey as a class or listen to the audio recording. Ask students to make a note of unfamiliar vocabulary in the text as they listen. Examples of unfamiliar vocabulary may include:

  • migrate,
  • scurry
  • instincts,
  • scramble,
  • carapace,
  • plastron,
  • scutes,
  • numerous,

Have students use dictionaries or online versions of Macquarie, Collins, Cambridge or Merriam-Webster dictionaries to define these words and use them in a sentence. For example:

Migrate – when an animal moves from one habitat to another according to the seasons.

Some birds migrate before the cold winter months.


As a class, view the English Textual Concepts video Connotation, Imagery and Symbolism. Spend some time brainstorming the symbolic meaning behind colours (e.g., red=passion/anger, blue=calm, yellow=happy) and weather (stormy=dramatic scenes, rainy=sad, sunny=happy).


Explain that students will be writing a story about a turtle’s journey using their new vocabulary obtained from the article. They must also incorporate symbolism and imagery. Imagery can be achieved by using similes and metaphors. Students will also include an illustration with their story, using colour symbolism to enhance their story.



A marking rubric for imaginative texts can be found on The School Magazine website. Students can use this rubric to inform their writing, and it can be used for peer and teacher assessment.