This post needs to begin with a big “thank you” to Nicolette Brata-Coolen. Nicolette wrote to me and sent some great artifacts from a lesson she created based on Pedro’s Whale and another title, Arnie and His School Tools: Simple Sensory Solutions That Build Success, by Jennifer Veenendall. Because she took the time to send me her lesson, I now get to share it with you.
Nicolette teaches Early Childhood students at Bandung Independent School in Indonesia, and has made teaching about differences and supporting them a priority. I have shared a few other blog posts with lesson ideas for Pedro, but this is the first to incorporate the use of graphic organizers. In her lesson on sorting information, Nicolette first taught students about creating categories. She then gave them small toys and had them create 3-D Venn diagrams to learn about similarities and differences.
Then, students drew diagrams to compare the characters from the two books.
What I love about Nicolette’s lesson is the variety of tools she uses to teach. In just one lesson, she uses literature, visuals, manipulatives and even novelty items (hula hoops) to reach and teach those in her diverse classroom. And the creative use of materials is not limited to the lesson itself; it’s a bit hard to see from shared images, but students use a variety of sensory supports in her classroom including squishy cushions, bean bag chairs, weighted lap turtles and fidget toys.
Did you use Pedro’s Whale to teach any particular concepts, ideas or themes this year? Feel free to share a comment or send a message if you have an idea for using this book that you would like to share with others. I love hearing about how the “give the whale” message is being spread to teachers, families and children.