Ocean Unit

As the end of another school year creeps upon us, I know a lot of us teachers like to go out with a bang. My team decided to finish the month of May with an "Under the Sea" unit. We would teach our students all about different sea creatures, as well as creative writing about the beach and a small section on Pirates for the final week. After doing a lot of research on what I wanted to teach, visiting my public library to check out almost 50 different sea life books, I set to planning my lessons.

Now I am a teacher who cannot stand reading long lessons that others have written. Instead I work best with photos, so I have documented my lessons in photos with descriptions. Enjoy!

Graphing our favorite whales.

Writing about coral reefs on the back of paper plates. 
The fronts contain colored pictures of different coral and fish.

Close up of the coral reef writing.

Graphing our favorite coral reef animals.

Writing about sea turtles

Our sea turtle writing was stapled to the back of paper plate turtles with a shell pattern. Even got the kids to understand that turtles travel through the ocean by currents (thank you Finding Nemo), so we hung them from the ceiling in a mesh net to symbolize the EAC, East Australian Current.


Writing about Killer Whales.

Display of student made books.

Jellyfish with facts inside them.

Our giant killer whale with facts written on the back.

One activity I really wanted to do with my kids is teaching them about personification. I found a great ocean-themed book at the library to help with this lesson. It's called "The House Takes a Vacation". Summary: A family packs up their car and leaves for a vacation, so their house decides to go on vacation too, to the beach. I read the book to my students and we discussed what they noticed the house doing that seemed real or something that humans did. Then we made a circle map all about where we would have our house go on vacation. The students picked their topic and wrote about it, then drew their house in that location. Finally I gave each student a speech bubble for them to allow their house to say something about their vacation.

One really great project we did was to write about what we would do if we got to have a vacation by the sea. We voted and I took photos of the kids in 3 different scenarios that they would then paste into their books. Below is how the book turned out.


I am posting links for some products that took me some time to develop, but were whole heartedly inspired by this unit. Next time I have the resources and a stocked library, I will be kicking my Ocean Unit up a notch!

Click Here for the Ocean 10 Frame Games

Click Here for the Ocean Pick and Mix Sentences

Click Here for the Ocean Syllables Counting Activity

Click Here for the Ocean Sorting and Classifying Activity


  1. Wow! You do go out with a bang! Looks like you had a fabulous ocean unit! Love, love, love all the pictures! I used to teach Kinder and after looking at all of your photos, it made me miss it a little. Don't get me wrong, I love first grade too. I've seen the scuba diver on several blogs, but I can't seem to find a template anywhere. Can you help me? My students are currently doing a research project about an ocean animal. Then they will be writing a nonfiction book with the notes they took. I would love to do the diver when they are finished.

  2. You must be a recognized teacher. I was a lot like you with ideas but rules got in the way and curriculum guide books. Boo! Your must be a recognized teacher and I applaud you!!!!!! Keep up the creative juices....kids learn from teachers like you. not set agendas and guidebooks!!!! God Bless You!

  3. I am retired and loved looking at all you ideas! You must teach somewhere
    that you are free to be creative. Go for it!

  4. This is just amazing! I am working on an ocean unit right now and I am probably about to pin every single one of your photos! haha. THANK YOU so much for posting! :)

  5. AWESOME STUFF!!!! Thank you for sharing.

  6. Hello! These are such cool and creative decorations, I love the graphs and penguins! :D

  7. I am just amazed at all that you do! Could you please tell me more about the mesh net that you used for the current? Where did you get it and what kind? Thanks!

    1. I second that! Super cute idea but I'm not sure exactly what you used (I think I have an idea).

  8. Is this unit available for purchase?

  9. I'd love to see what your "Living Things Need" Book is like. Thanks! :)

    1. I would too! Is there any activity you do in particular to teach students about what ocean animals need to survive?

  10. Amazing!!!! Speechless! Love all of it!!!

  11. Love your ideas ! My room is decorated in an ocean theme and this year it will be our overall school theme ! My desk is a tiki hut lol ! Thanks for ideas !

  12. This is great, in all subject areas!


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