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Blueback and the Year 5 Ocean Experience

Semester 1 was full of for our class. One of them was completing work we began in Term 1.

Our Literacy focus was the novel Blueback, by Tim Winton. The story is about a young boy, Abel, who lives in a place called Longboat Bay with his mother. One day Abel meets Blueback, the biggest and most beautiful fish he has ever seen. Abel is keen to ensure Blueback is protected from fishermen by helping to protect the area.

As a class, we decided that we would like to create an underwater experience to share during Edu-Dance that students would be able to engage with and feel like they were under the water in Abel’s world. Unfortunately, because of Covid-19, we weren’t able to have a concert and had to wait a while to put our ideas into a display.

We discussed recycling and creating things from unused items around our homes. We thought about how the ocean moves and discussed how to create this feeling from the items we had to use. Students researched sea creatures and their features and set out to create each one. We made stingrays from coathangers and fish from bottles. There was no stopping the imagination of all the children! We glued and taped, coloured and painted until we had so many creatures we didn’t know where to put them.

We then set about working on how we were going to create this world. How did we want to show depth? What were the different features of each level in an ocean? We discussed the smell, the feeling and what touching things would be like.

Once we had a plan, we collected all of the remaining necessary items. We even found an inflatable boat!

Construction took place in the Wilson STEAM Room using our display fencing. We spent two days refining our idea and building the ocean. We hung fish, made waves, installed fairy lights and even Mr van der Kooy helped with lighting and the sound of the ocean.

We decided to create a beach on the side of our display so when our visitors came (other classes) we could inform them of the story. We sat on towels, wore shorts and t-shirts, bathers and beachy things to mimic the beach. Mrs Ferguson popped up a beach shelter too! We were ready!

We had tours of 5-7 children each time. They would enter the darkened room and we would tell them about our book. Then they were invited to enter the ocean and have a swim. Each group had to watch out for the divers (three boys, with snorkel and masks on, ‘swimming’ in the display) and they were allowed to touch the display ‘carefully’.

We saw wonder and amazement on the faces of the children who visited our display. Some said, ‘It was the best thing ever!’

We had a wonderful day performing for the school and then showing some of our parents. Please watch the video to get an idea of what the experience was like.

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