Students watch a video segment, assign special characteristics to the sea creatures they see and use their make-believe or fantasy ideas to write an underwater sea fantasy.
Why is this an important concept?
Learning about fantasy expands a student’s knowledge of narrative genres. In this type of story students discern between real and make-believe to use their most creative ideas as they invent characters, events and places that do not exist in the real world.
Sea Creatures Video
Part I: Learning Activity
1. Begin by checking for prior knowledge by asking students if they know the difference between real and make-believe. Take student responses and discuss their ideas.
2. Next, explain to students that a make-believe story in which un-realistic things happen--like a car flying to the moon--is called a fantasy. Fantasy stories are special because they take realistic characters or settings and give them characteristics that are not (generally) possible in the real world. Other examples would be a cat singing opera at Carnegie Hall or a cow eating spaghetti in a diner.
3. Tell students they are going to watch a video segment about some unusual looking sea creatures. These animals live far below the surface of the sea and although they have strange looks, they are real and live in a real setting. While watching the video, ask students to come up with a make-believe name for the underwater world they are going to see. Play “Sea Creatures."
4. Ask students to share the names they have come up with. Next, tell students they are going to write a fantasy story about the sea creatures and the underwater world they just named.
5. Distribute the Sea Creature Fantasy Graphic Organizer to each student. Review the information on the graphic organizer. Be sure to make note of the category that describes the sea creature’s real characteristics and to let students know they can also add additional realistic features.
6. Next, direct students’ attention to the column that describes the creatures’ non-realistic characteristics. Tell students to give each sea creature non-realistic characteristics, special abilities or features that don’t exist in the real world.
7. Play the video segment again so students can become more familiar with the sea creatures in the segment. Students complete the Sea Creature Fantasy Graphic Organizer by filling in the third and fourth columns where appropriate. Distribute the Writing a Fantasy Rubric so students know how they will be evaluated.
8. Ask students to think about what they’d like their characters to do in the stories they are going to write. (This section can be assigned for homework.) The Sea Creature Graphic Organizer can be placed in student’s portfolio to show skill acquisition.
For Students Who Need Additional Help:
- Place students in a small group. Play the video again. Ask students what they think of when they see the sea creatures.
- Students jot down their ideas in the fourth column.
- Brainstorm the setting, main characters and what happens in their underwater fantasy story. Remind students to give the sea creatures special features they would not normally have.
Part II: Assessment
1. Students review their Sea Creature Graphic Organizers.
2. Distribute the Fantasy Story Planner. Review the handout.
3. On separate pieces of paper, students write a draft of their story. Students exchange papers and check for spelling, capitalization and punctuation. They return the essay to the original writer.
4. Students make changes and create a clean, illustrated draft to be turned in for their final grade.