Substitute Teacher Kit

An Ocean Adventure (Grades 3-4)

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As a substitute in a third- or fourth-grade classroom, you can ensure an exciting, engaging time by planning an in-class ocean adventure. You may want to base an entire day or week on these activities, or you may want to use just a few.

Books to Read:
Humphrey the Lost Whale by Wendy Takudo and Richard Hall
I Can Be an Oceanographer by Paul Sipera
Magic School Bus on the Ocean Floor by Joanna Cole
Swimmy by Leo Lionni

Classroom Management Tips

Start-the-Day Riddle – Icebreaker

Before students arrive, write this riddle on the board: We are made of water. Some people count five of us. Others count four. Millions of plants and animals live in, on, or near us.
As students arrive, invite them to read the riddle and brainstorm possible solutions on a piece of paper.
When everyone has arrived, verify that the answer is the oceans. Name the oceans (Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Arctic, Antarctic). Explain that many people think the Antarctic Ocean is part of the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans.

Ocean Guessing Game – Icebreaker

Prepare sticky notes with the names of things that live in or are related to the ocean (shark, whale, seaweed, shell, rock, sand, water, boat, island, volcano, fish).
Place a sticky note on each child's back or forehead.
Students can walk around the room asking "yes/no" questions of other students to figure out who or what they are.

Ocean Creatures Nametags

Provide index cards and invite each student to cut out a nametag in the shape of a favorite ocean creature.
Have students decorate their nametags with crayons or markers and then show them to the class before taping them to their shirts.

Ocean Library to Ease Transition Times

Send a student to the library to collect books about the oceans.
Then read aloud if you must wait for PE, lunch, or art class.
Have pairs read a book and then tell the class about it.
Let students read books independently when they finish assigned tasks.
Challenge students to use the books to gather information for ocean articles or reports.

Ocean Teams to Reinforce Appropriate Behavior

Divide the class into four teams.
Name each team for one of Earth's oceans. Teams can earn points for behavior, assignment completion, and cooperation.
Explain that teams will be awarded a privilege if they have the most points at the end of the day. (If all teams work hard, award the privilege to everyone.)
Toward the end of the day award privileges, such as a free drawing time or an indoor game time.

Stress Reliever
If your nerves (or students' nerves) get frazzled at some point in the day, stop and lead the class in an ocean visualizing activity. Have students rest their heads on their desks. Turn off the lights, and play relaxing background music if possible. Prompt students to imagine that they are deep in the ocean. Guide them to remain very still, listening for the ocean sounds they hear and sights they observe. Encourage students to share their experiences.

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