Educational Framework of "A Great Catch"

"A Great Catch" encourages students to think about the role that reef degradation and over fishing has on local economies and on the world's environment. The story is designed to heighten student awareness of the many issues involved in this environmental question. The role that individual responsibility plays in arriving at solutions is explored. The need to listen to the concerns of local citizens and enlist their involvement in environmental decision making is highlighted in the unit.

This unit features a guidebook with a variety of language arts, science, social studies, and cultural arts activities. The material in the guide coordinates with Jean Craighead George's book, Shark Beneath the Reef; however, many of the activities can be used without the book if the teacher desires. Vocabulary is developed in context and the sentences are written to integrate with Miss Maggie's adventure. Word Study lists and activities are provided for students in the "Syllables and Affixes" stage of Word Study to improve their understanding of spelling and phonetic principles. These activities do not require a student to read Ms. George's book. Questions, writing, and project suggestions are given to accompany Shark Beneath the Reef. These are designed to not only develop student knowledge, but also to improve comprehension and the abilities to apply, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate material. Many of the activities can be used as templates for teachers to design their own activities based on other literature.

NCTM guidelines were taken into consideration when designing math activities. These activities are based on life situations and involve problem solving skills and cooperative learning strategies. For example, in the printable Fishing Responsibly activity, stories are presented, and students, working in groups or independently, are asked to make decisions about a fisher's choices. Important calculation practice is offered in the interactive activities and in Maggie's journal pages. We provide situations at a variety of levels so that you may find material at an appropriate instructional level for the wide range of learners in your classroom. Your students may also benefit from reviewing easier calculations or may find group work on specific material challenging yet rewarding.

You will also find hands on science activities in the Teachers' Lounge section. These vary from illustrating the importance of a fish swim bladder to a game that shows the importance of a balanced ecosystem.

Many art, poetry, and musical sections are also made. You will find a suggested reading list for students who are interested in delving further into marine biology.