Rainbow Fish and the Big Blue Whale
Students make their own rainbow fish and use them to retell the story.
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2
Subject Area: Language Arts, Social Studies, Science
Marcus Pfister creates another adventure about the kind Rainbow Fish and his now sparkling "school mates" as they encounter an old blue whale that they all mistake for an enemy. This misunderstanding leads to a serious situation for all, until Rainbow Fish attempts to resolve the problem.
This story teaches children about misconceptions that can lead to conflict and shows that conflict and misunderstanding can be resolved and friendship achieved. Children will design their own Rainbow Fish to encourage creative-thinking, fine-motor, and language skills.
Show the children the book Rainbow Fish and the Big Blue Whale. Ask the children if they have read any other books about Rainbow Fish. What do they know about Rainbow Fish? Tell the children that this book will be about a problem between Rainbow Fish and the whale. Ask the children to predict what the problem might be. Encourage them to explain their answers.
Booktalk to Encourage Literacy Skills
After reading, ask the children to describe the setting of the story. Who were the main characters of the story? What was the story about? Encourage the children to describe the sequence of events in the story. What happened first? How did the story end? Encourage the children to discuss the conflict between the fish and the whale. How did they resolve the conflict? Does this story remind them of any other stories they have read or something that has happened to them?
Rainbow Fish and the Big Blue Whale: A Friendship Tale
- Small brown-paper lunch bags
- One large brown paper bag
- Yarn or string
- Tempera paint, markers, crayons
- Child safety scissors
- Sequins, foil paper, or prism paper
In advance: Collect old newspaper to use as "stuffing" for each child's paper bag to create a three-dimensional fish. Prepare a small fish in advance. Squeeze the newspaper into small paper balls and place firmly inside a lunch-size brown bag, leaving approximately 2 ½ inches at the end. Gather the remaining portion of the bag and tie closed with yarn or string to make the fish's tale. Leave the bag unpainted so the children will not be inclined to copy your fish.
- Read Rainbow Fish and the Big Blue Whale to the children. Review the ending of the book with the children. Ask them to imagine what happened after Rainbow Fish, his friends, and the whale swam off. What type of things could the fish and the whale do now that they are friends? Encourage the children to share their ideas.
- Tell the children that they will each create their own Rainbow Fish. Invite the children to work in small groups at the art area.
- Give each child a paper bag. Explain to the children that the bag will be the body of the fish. The open portion will be the tail.
- Provide children with an array of art materials to encourage creativity and individuality. Some children may prefer using markers or crayons while others may enjoy using paint. Other children may enjoy using colorful paper and glue to decorate their fish. Encourage the children to explore different materials. Shiny materials like sequins, foil, or scraps of gift-wrap can be used to decorate their fish.
- After the paint and glue has dried, show the children how to place the newspaper inside their bags and tie the end of the bag to create the fish tail. Offer assistance, if needed.
- Invite a group of children to make the Big Blue Whale. Give them the large brown paper bag and blue paint. The children can work together to paint, decorate, and stuff the big whale.
- Children can use the fish and the whale to retell and dramatize the story. Encourage the children to conclude their dramatization with a discussion about conflict resolution and friendship.
- Record the children's stories for posterity. Ask them to dictate their fish and whale stories — and write down the spontaneous results on paper. Display the children's written work, along with their marine life creations, around the classroom for all to enjoy.
Other Books About Conflict Resolution and Friendship
By David McKee
This enlightening book about prejudice tells the story of two bands of elephants, one black and one white, who go to war with each other. However, the peace-loving elephants from each side go off and hide in the jungle. The surprise ending will stimulate an engaging discussion.
By Leo Leonni
Left alone in the sea after a big tuna eats his brothers and sisters, Swimmy shows his new friends how to work together to outsmart the other big fish in the sea.
The Land of Many Colors
By Klamath County YMCA Family Preschool
An insightful child helps to resolve a conflict that emerges between the purple, blue, and green people.
Other Books by Marcus Pfister
The Rainbow Fish
Rainbow Fish to the Rescue
Dazzle the Dinosaur
Teaching Plan written by Risa Young.