Fish Out of Water (Touchdown 5, June 2019)

story by Terry Lavelle , illustrated by Anna Bron

Worksheet: Creating sets of three

Understanding EN3-3A

Character: Complete a character organisation worksheet to illustrate how Terry Lavelle reveals clues to help students get to know Ariella. This Character Development worksheet helps students focus and analyse four ways in which an author develops characters: physical description of the character, character’s words and actions, what others say about the character, direct commentary by the narrator. Explore further the English Textual Concept ‘Character’.

Conduct a See, Think, Wonder thinking routine to explore the title and make predictions about ‘The Zorthan Episode’, using the image on page 4. This routine encourages students to make careful observations and thoughtful interpretations. It helps stimulate curiosity and sets the stage for inquiry. Use a student See Think Wonder worksheet to record responses.

  • What do you see?
  • What do you think about that?
  • What does it make you wonder?

Create a story arc to find and summarise the main events in ‘Fish Out of Water’, to highlight the conventions of a narrative used by the author, Terry Lavelle. For information on how to use a story arc, read Using a Story Arc or watch this Introduction to the Story Arc YouTube clip. How does Terry create empathy? What role do kindness and suspense play in the story to carry the plot? How does the author engage the audience? Explore further the English Textual Concept ‘Narrative’.

Engaging personally EN3-2A, EN3-5B & EN3-8D

Write a diary entry from Ariella’s point of view (“I hope he’s right about finding my place.”) Have students write what Ariella was thinking when she boarded the bus. What is it like not to fit it? Why is Mr Galene so kind? Imagine school without friends. Explore further the English Textual Concept ‘Point of View’.

Write a narrative using a similar plot to the one in ‘Fish Out of Water’ using a different fish metaphor. Option to publish using Storybird or Book Creator.

Remind children that in order to engage their audience, they need to consider character identification (students/friendship), situations (school excursions) and themes (fears/not belonging) to warrant reader interest and build a decent plot. Choosing which ideas will connect with their audience and their language choice, directly influences student writing development.

Connecting EN3-8D

Background reading: Strategy explained: text-to-text, text-to-self, text-to-world

  • Text-to-text connections occur when we make connections between other texts in relation to the text we are reading.
  • Text-to-self connections occur when we make connections between personal experiences and the text.
  • Text-to-world connections occur when we relate the text with what we already know about the world.

Text-to-Self: How do the ideas in this text relate to your own life, ideas, and experiences?

  • What I just read reminds me of the time when I…
  • I agree with/understand what I just read because in my own life…
  • I don’t agree with what I just read because in my own life…

Students complete a Text to Self Connections worksheet.

Discuss as a class.

Create a Wordle to outline the various traits or characteristics of a true friend. What kind of friend do students want? What kind of friend are they?

Engaging critically       EN3-7B

Intertextuality: Create a persuasive flow chart or infographic, using Canva, on the importance of protecting our oceans and sea life from pollution. Scaffold arguments using this Persuasion Map worksheet to organise thinking and slogan generation. Adapting structure and styles of texts draws on the intertextuality concept, where texts can be appropriated for audience, purpose, mode or media. Explore further the English Textual Concept ‘Narrative’.

Compare how Mer-People and Ter-People treat the ocean using this Venn diagram worksheet. Use evidence from the text to support students and illustrate how the author’s language choice influences the reader’s opinion, as well as character and plot development.

Research and present information about the ocean using resources such as Ocean Facts For Kids. Create a crossword puzzle, using this free crossword maker or crossword puzzle creator. Use the crossword on page 34 of Touchdown as a guide for suitable questions, for example: Q: What is the largest ocean? A: The Pacific Ocean. Remember answers can only be letters or words, not numbers.

Support: Question Creation Chart

Extension: Create a Kahoot.

Conduct a Think, Pair, Share routine to promote understanding through active reasoning and explanation. This Thinking Routine encourages students to think about something, such as a problem, question or topic, and then articulate their thoughts. As students are listening to and sharing ideas, Think Pair Share encourages students to understand multiple perspectives. Record student responses on one of these Think Pair Share worksheets.

  • What is kindness? Is kindness common or rare?
  • What is a random act of kindness?
  • List examples of when students have been kind?
  • Does kindness promote understanding?
  • How did Mr Galene know about Ariella’s element?

Experimenting EN3-6B, EN3-8D & EN3-7C

Create a found poem from ‘Fish Out of Water’ using interesting words from page 7. Refer to the Creating Found Poems YouTube clip.

Design an infographic using Canva to advertise friendship. Brainstorm skills of good friends to support student ideas.

Animate ‘Fish Out of Water’ using Comic Life or draw a simple film strip using this Story Board worksheet.

Write a diamante poem titled, ’Ariella’s Wish’. Brainstorm appropriate antonyms to generate student ideas. Refer to this useful Diamante Poem worksheet.

Write a persuasive letter to the school principal or the SRC for your class or school to take part in the Take 3 For the Sea program.

Reflecting EN3-9E

Conduct an I used to think ... But now I think … routine. This routine helps students to reflect on their thinking about a topic or issue and explore how and why that thinking has changed. It can be useful in consolidating new learning as students identify their new understandings, opinions, and beliefs. Record responses on this I Used to Think … Now I Think … worksheet.

Journal: Ask students to describe when they feel they are ‘in their element’. What does that mean? What is finding your true purpose about? Read/re-read the two paragraphs at the top of page 10 to ensure student understanding and clarify journal writing ideas.

Exit Slips are a formative assessment that can be used to quickly check for understanding. The teacher poses one or two questions in the last couple minutes of class and asks student to fill out an ‘exit slip’ (e.g. on an index card) to ascertain student thinking and understanding. Here are Instructions on filling out an Exit Slip and two Exit Slip worksheets.

Further reading

English Textual Concepts


Harvard Thinking Routines

Think From the Middle: Strategy Toolbox