Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Educator's SEL Lesson Guide for 'A Fish With A Wish'

One of the modules I am taking for the Masters in Education degree programme at NIE is an interesting and refreshing exploration of using picturebooks to facilitate Socio-Emotional Learning (SEL). The assessable assignment for this module is a lesson plan that incorporates the use of a selected picturebook to conduct an SEL lesson. With the huge volume of picturebooks to choose from, it did take me some time to get to one that I was happy with - but which was not overused in popular culture like Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak or The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.

Anyway, after poring through various authors' works, I stumbled upon Ethan Crownberry's work - a handful of novel-in-verse (or story-in-verse, in this case) picturebooks exploring various SEL elements. I subsequently devised a lesson plan around one of his books entitled A Fish With A Wish by Ethan Crownberry and delivered it to one of my classes at ITE. It was an interesting experience for both the students and I, and I'm quite glad that they found it fun and enjoyable. Although it was an exploratory attempt to see how the main component of the lesson plan would execute, it was evident that the lesson had incredible potential.

Here is some footage of the lesson...

The lesson itself was actually one of the easier ones to execute and the students took to the task without much persuasion necessary. Interestingly, one of the students recalled that this story had been read to her by her mother during her childhood and she was able to retell the original story during the classroom exercise. Another student picked out the congruence between the selected picturebook and a biblical story and retold that tale in detail through the exercise.

While some groups tried to reimagine the story with comical exaggeration, it was obvious that the students recognised the element of sacrifice inherent in the story and made reference to the protagonist's unhappiness with the existing circumstances in one way or another. It was indeed a fun experience and the trial run of the lesson component has been developed into a full lesson (which is what I have submitted as the assignment). I am now looking forward to executing this lesson proper and analysing the results.

If you have the chance, feel free to try this lesson out and share with me your experience as well! You can download the lesson package from the following link, which includes:
   a) Lesson Plan
   b) PowerPoint File
   c) Worksheet
   d) Softcopy of picturebook, A Fish With A Wish
   e) Examples of student work

Note: The author, Ethan Crownberry, dropped me an email to thank me and share his appreciation!

You can visit Ethan's website to support his other works at

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