Monday, February 09, 2015

Way Down Deep in the Deep Blue Sea

Some people asked me to make a revision of this post. Thank you for your interest!

Long time ago I had the chance to hear Beatriz Caballero (a wonderful teacher in the Autonomous University of Barcelona) telling this story to a group of English teacher trainers.

It was a Magical Moment full of sea animals, great pictures, language repetition, droning, popular children plays and a surprising ending... It has everything a primary school teacher could desire from a picture book.

Some time later, I found this book in a small second hand book shop in Barcelona and I was happy to introduce it to my Y2 students in my new school. 

With a little preparation of new vocabulary flashcards, with the book on my knees, the students sat on the floor, and taking benefit of the extra motivation that always means talking about animals, I told the story.

My surprise was when, at the end, THEY propose me to do something else: “Why don’t we do a play? Why don’t we make a book? Why don’t we draw the illustrations? Why don’t we ...” (you know sometimes children are such a pain in the neck!)

And off we went! We found some empty boxes in the box room of the school (where else?) and they decided (with a little help!) to make some dioramas. They painted the inside boxes as the deep blue sea (colours, tones, waves). They took some photos (movements, poses, right and left...). They drew, coloured and cut out sea animals (sea horse, starfish, octopus, swordfish...). They added sand, shells, seaweed and coral.   They imagined a pirate treasure with marbles, bracelets and chocolate coins... They stuck everything and we hung all the dioramas in the school corridor in a big display. 

But, it wasn’t the end! As the other children in the school asked what was that, they wanted to tell them the story. So, they needed to practice a lot. We used an mp3 voice recorder and Audacity to “polish” pronunciation and intonation. They organized themselves and, for one day, they became storytellers.

Finally, they wanted to show to parents through the school blog. So, It was my turn to make a short video (Windows Movie Maker) with the photographs of the dioramas and the children voices, and I uploaded in Vimeo.

And that’s all! Hope you enjoy it!

Way down deep in the deep blue sea from Enric Calvet on Vimeo.

Do you know what are these children plays?
"Do si do", "Giddy up", "Hitch a ride", "Touché", "Gimme eight", "Sing along"


  1. fantastic, great, excellent, marvellous!!!!

    You are a good teacher! I can tell you because I have had the experience! thanks, teacher!

  2. Wow! Fantastic! Awesome! I really think that you're a very good English teacher.
    I told this story last year and I remember how my pupils loved it.


  3. I have no words to say how good teacher you are Enric (I can tell from my own experience!)...
    The project you've done with that story is awesome, I take it!


  4. Thank you all! I think exploiting stories and picture books is the best way to keep children in the real language... And I learnt a lot from you to do so!