Rainbow Fish: The Copycat Fish Lesson Plan
- Grades: PreK–K
Subject Area: Social Studies and Math
This story explores the feelings of Rainbow Fish, who overcomes his anger when a small fish, Tug, copies everything he does. Includes colorful stickers.
Children will discuss the reasons for and implications of being a copycat and will use math games presented in the book to understand grouping, patterning, sorting, and seriated and geometric concepts.
Show the children the book The Copycat Fish. Ask if they have ever heard the expression "copycat." Discuss the meaning of the expression with the class. Have they ever had an experience where they have been called a copycat or called someone else a copycat? On a sheet of chart paper write the following question:
Why do people copy other people? Review the question and ask them to think about why they have copied people or people have copied them. Record their responses on chart paper. Tell them that the story will describe how Rainbow Fish felt when another fish was copying him. After they listen to the story another discussion will follow.
Booktalk: Understanding Copycats
- Chart paper
- Engage the children in a discussion about the story. Write the following questions on a sheet of chart paper leaving space between each question to record their responses:
- What was the story about?
- Who were the main characters in this story?
- How did Rainbow Fish feel when Tug was copying him?
- Why did Tug copy Rainbow Fish?
- What did Rainbow Fish learn from Tug?
- Does this story remind you of something that has happened to you?
- Why do younger people often copy older people?
- What did we learn about copycats from this story?
- What was the story about?
- Compare the language-experience chart that the children made prior to reading the story. Ask the students if any of their ideas about why people copy were similar to Tug's reasons for copying Rainbow Fish.
Copycat Math Games
- Counting and sorting materials (i.e. buttons, pebbles, unifix cubes, teddy bears, discs, shells, variety of wooden blocks)
- Patterning materials (pattern blocks, colored unifix cubes)
- Tell the children that they will do math activities like the fish did in the book. Students will work in small groups when engaging in each activity.
- Sorting by size. Invite small groups to the math table. Provide each child with materials in a variety of sizes. Ask each student to sort the materials from smallest to largest. Compare each child's work when completed.
- Counting sets of ten. Provide each child with 20 counting items. Ask them to count how many items they have altogether. Ask each child to count the items into sets of 10. How many sets do they have? How many sets of ten can be made from 20? Now ask them to think of another number that is less than 10. Invite them to see how many sets they can make using that number. Encourage the students to create different number sets. Engage them in discussions about the sets they have created. Talk about which numbers create "even" sets and which numbers leave remaining items.
- Making shapes. Invite the children to make shapes or designs using the counting materials. Encourage them to each think of something different to make. Compare each child's work. Next, tell them that they will switch places with their friend and "copy" the same design as their classmate had made. Keep switching until each child has had a chance to copy each child's design. Engage the class in a discussion about how copying can be useful and fun.
Extensions: There are fun games that encourage children to copy, like Follow the Leader. Invite the children to play this game, or other games, that encourage the development of positive socialization skills.
Other Books About Copycats
Ruby the Copycat
By Peggy Rathmann
An endearing tale about a new girl at school named Ruby who wants to be just like her classmate Angela.
Jake and the Copycats
By Joanne Rocklin
Jake gets so annoyed with his little brother Pete, who is always copying him until the day Jake's cat gets stuck in the tree and Pete comes to the rescue.
Nina, Nina and the Copycat Ballerina
By Jane O'Connor
Not only is there another Nina in the ballet class but this Nina is a copycat.
Other Rainbow Fish and Friends Books
Lost at Sea
Teaching plan written by Risa Young