deep blue sea

Engaging Children With Literature: The Deep Blue Sea

Engaging Children with Literature

The Deep Blue Sea
by Audrey Wood
ISBN-10: 0439753821

Grade Level: 1st
[Adaptable to Kindergarten]


  • Sing Sol-Mi-La patterns from icons.
  • Perform beat accompaniment (chord bordun) for a pentatonic song using appropriate mallet technique.
  • Use instruments to represent characters or special words in a story.
  • Dramatize a story with movement; use creative movement to represent characters.


  • Read story to group. Review sequence of events with class or summarize story.  (Be sure to point out the cloud’s progress on each page.)
  • Teach song “In the Sea” 1) by rote, or 2) use the following process using fish icons to represent Sol-Mi-La on a two-line staff:
    • Present a visual such as below:

    • Fish icons contain text of song
    • Teacher sings/plays first melodic phrase, students move fish to notate melodic contour. (The Smart board is perfect for this activity or you can make your own by using pre-cut fish and writing the text on fish.)
    • Add steady beat chord bordun accompaniment on D and A.

in the sea

  • Add melody on the recorder for the A1 Students explore swimming through space like fish.  Extend to using fish finger puppets (different colored scarves would work great too).  Perform A A1A.
  • As a class, practice experimenting moving to demonstrate each color word, i.e., “How can you move to show the sea?” “How can you move to show the sea differently?” Explore all colors, and then proceed to next step.
  • Add the following props, puppets, and special unpitched (for storm and colors) to the story:

“Blue”       – blue and white scarves wave/ocean drum

“Red”        – red scarves pop in the air/rocks click together once

“Green”     – flutter green scarves/wind chime

“Brown”    – brown scarf circles/woodblock plays one time

“Purple”    – purple scarf “swoops” down/voices swoop high to low (or use slide whistle)

“Orange”   – using orange scarves, move through space like a butterfly/cabasa

“Black”      – gong or cymbal

“White”     – Use a two-sided “cloud on a stick.”  It begins by moving across the space taking small sideward steps.  It continues across the space during story, with the cloud flipping over to the gray side on the word “gray.”  (In the classroom, use two pieces of white card stock, cut out a cloud shape and attach to a ruler “popsicle” style.  Color one side of the cloud gray.”)

“It’s raining on the rocks” – rainstick (or ad lib notes played on SX/AX in D pentatonic)

“Ocean/sea”  – Ocean drum (3x)

Final Performance:

  • Begin with song (Form: A=song, A1= recorder plays melody/fish swim, A=song) followed by three “waves” conducted by narrator/teacher.
  • Read story. As each new color is introduced in the story, the correlating scarf, instrument, or prop performs each time it occurs in the story.
  • Song is performed on the pages where the following text occurs: 1) “The fishies come up to play,” and 2) “It’s raining on the rock.”
  • On last page as accompaniment plays, students hum melody of song. Students with scarves gather around fish, hold hands up high (with scarves in hand).  The cloud is in middle of circle held up over fish.
  • Coda – Ocean drum plays 3x.


  • Consider adding more instruments to create a storm such as a bass drum, temple blocks, thunder tubes, etc.
  • Allow students to choose the instruments to represent the special words.
  • Add a creative writing/arts element after the final performance; students can write about their experiences performing the story and then draw/color a picture to illustrate the performance. Another possibility would be to provide questions such as “My favorite part of the story was when ______________.”  “My special job in the story was ________________________.”


Mimi Hamilton

Mimi Hamilton currently teaches at Willow Oaks Elementary and has taught urban children for 29 years as an Orff Music Specialist in the Memphis City/Shelby County Schools system. National Board Certified in 2010, she has served as co-chair of Memphis Orff All-City Concerts, presented professional development sessions, served as president of the Memphis Chapter, AOSA and as LCC of the Nashville AOSA PD Conference.

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  1. J on March 30, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    Are there any videos of this lesson?

    • Mimi Hamilton on April 7, 2017 at 7:37 pm

      I did this session at the 2011 AOSA PD Conference but don’t think they videoed it. I regularly video it with my students. Do you have a specific question regarding this activity?

      • Sofia on February 12, 2018 at 2:51 pm

        Hi, where can I find the the story sequence?

        • Mimi Hamilton on February 15, 2018 at 8:01 am

          I’m not sure what you’re asking, but if you get the book, it’ all in there. Let me know if this doesn’t answer your question.

  2. Lynn Osborne on April 4, 2017 at 7:10 pm

    Love this! Hey if Memphis can do a show about the sea then I guess we can too here in NM (Landlocked We Are!)

    • Mimi Hamilton on April 12, 2017 at 6:58 pm

      Too true. Glad you enjoyed it. My students love this book.

  3. JACK BARNES on April 5, 2017 at 8:13 am


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