Besides the sea, on Mr Peffer’s place, there lived a cow, a donkey, a sheep, a pig, and a tiny little mouse. One warm sunny morning, for no particular reason, they decided to go for a row in the bay. Who sank the boat? This is the premise of the text Who Sank the Boat by Pamela Allen.
This text can be used to teach across the domains of the VELS curriculum and disciplines.
In Prep (or Foundation) level students are working towards the level one standard. Students at the end of Prep should be able to understand the directional sequence of a text, retell the main ideas in the text, make predictions about the events in the text from the illustrations, they should be able to write simple recounts about familiar topics to convey ideas or messages, ask and answers questions for information and clarification and contribute relevant ideas. They should also be aware of simple punctuation, know concepts about print such as left to write and top to bottom, use convention letters, groups of letters and be aware of the sound system and the relationships between letters and sounds when spelling.
When using this text the teacher would read the text, stopping periodically to ask questions so that the students may make their own predictions about who sank the boat. The first task undertaken by the class would start with the class discussing and listing the characters then drawing the characters and writing their names above. This task shows that the students are able to recall information from the text and have an understanding of the characters using multi modal means.
In the next couple of lessons the teacher would re-read the text and have the students’ complete activities where the students could demonstrate that they can retell the story. The teacher at this time would introduce and model to the students the concept of what a recount is and words such as who, what, when, where, why, how. For these activities the teacher could use different methods using Gardener’s multiple intelligences so the students get the most out of their learning. Students who the teacher has observed to be linguistic, spatial or mathematical smart might have a copy and paste activity where they arrange the pictures from the book in order, they might even write in their own words what happened. Students who are Bodily-Kinesthetic Smart, Spatial smart, Musical smart might make puppets to retell the story or act out the story, this could be recorded to incorporate ICT and allow it to be shared with the class and parents at home. The teacher can also use the story to look at what rhyming is and what a question is, how do we use a question mark?
The book is useful in the area of mathematics as well. At the end of Prep students are expected to be able to use descriptive terms and compare length, area, capacity and mass of pairs of familiar objects, count to 20, use ordinal numbers, use materials to model and recognise and orientate shapes. It is also useful in humanities and science where students learn about the different animals, habitats (the students could discuss where the animals live, a farm?).
One activity that students could do in this area are compare how things sink or float, they could collect materials from the playground such as sticks and leaves- which would appeal to students who are nature smart. The teacher would then get the students to make predictions which models questioning skills and scaffolds their learning about what will happen. Then after you test the materials to see what floats you can show the students ways to graph what they have learnt.
After these activities students should draw and write about what they did, this brings it all back to the recount genre as they are writting a form of recount. The teacher can link this learning about recounts to the diary entries that students do in class.
Students could also make their own boat and see how much they can fit in there, or how much weight it can take before it sinks. This activity incorporates science as the students can investigate this using different materials to build their boat.
Music can also be incorporated by having students sing songs such as 'Row Row Row your boat' while looking at boats as a means of transportation.
This book can also be used in higher year levels of VELS but this post was originally for an assignment therefore it is looking at Preps.