The theme of the episode was the ocean. The kids seemed really into it, so as they watched, I tried to think of a good follow up activity that would rationalize watching MSB for no apparent reason in the middle of the day. So much for 25 minutes of relaxation.
After the video was over we discussed the anatomy of a fish, with these helpful resources from the Monterey Bay Aquarium that I found with a quick Google search. Fittingly we had just had our "family life" lesson. You know the one - the once a year, parent permission required lesson where you try to keep a straight face explaining the differences between girls and boys, yeah, that one. So, I referred back to the way that lesson started with the fact that all humans share certain characteristics. Then we talked about how all fish, even though they might look very different, share some of the same characteristics and labeled them on this diagram. More great stuff here, too.
As I was having this discussion, another idea was out of my mouth before I had a chance to reel it back in. And in a flash I was handing out giant pieces of construction paper and instructing them to each create a brand new species of fish. Not bad, for spur of the moment, right?
But, did I stop there. Oh, no I did not. I was on a roll. The next day, after their little fishies were completed, I gave them this form which I created the night before. It's just a quickie, but maybe you'll find it useful. They had to name their fish and tell a few things about it.
And then finally, as all good things must, our sea-life sidetrack ended with one last lesson. For the writing center the next week, I had the kids bring their fish and write a conversation that their fish might have if they met each other in the big blue sea.
So thanks once again Ms. Frizzle, for saving the day. Seat belts everyone!