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Lesson Plans
I am the Walrus
Overview Procedures for Teachers Organizers for Students


This lesson is divided into three sections:
Prep -- Preparing for the Lesson.
Steps -- Conducting the Lesson.
Tips-- Managing Resources and Student Activities.


Prep

Bookmarks
Bookmark the following sites for your students to use for research.

NATURE: Previous Features
http://www.thirteen.org/nature/grandcanyon/html/prev.html
This site provides links to many of the sites listed below and could serve as a "jumping off" point for students.

Ravetch Underwater Films
(http://members.aol.com/ravetch/frames.html)
Download the Walrus & Bear movie. (There is a link to the Apple QuickTime plug-in, if needed, from here.)

A Walrus' Life
http://www.thirteen.org/nature/toothwalkers/html/1life.html
This site contains a wealth of background information about walruses. Online resources include the following sites related to this essay topic:

Walrus: Physical Characteristics
http://www.seaworld.org/walrus/walrus.html



Computer Resources
You will need a computer with Internet access to complete this lesson. While many configurations will work, we recommend:
Modem: 28.8 Kbps or faster.
Browser: Netscape Navigator 3.0 or above or Internet Explorer 3.0 or above.
Macintosh computer: System 7.0 or above and at least 16 MB of RAM.
IBM-compatible computer: 386 or higher processor with at least 16 MB of RAM, running Windows 3.1. Or, a 486/66 with at least 16 MB of RAM running Windows 95.

For more information, visit "What You Need to Get Connected" in wNetSchool's Internet Primer.


Steps

  • Introduce the assignment to the students and discuss how a fictional first-person essay is to be constructed using accurate details gathered from research. Discuss first-person narrative, using the example of Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Students should understand that they will construct an "identity" that is based on the factual information found in their research. Descriptions of locales will be written as seen through a "walrus' eye view".



  • Students will research walruses, using library and Internet sources. They will investigate the walrus' habitat, food, biology, and relationship with humans. (For library resources, check out the bibliography on the Sea World site.)



  • Students will write their essays using factual details and images from their research.

    Optional:
    Watch the NATURE video: "TOOTHWALKERS OF THE ARCTIC."

    Extensions and Other Activities:
    - Study other examples of fictional first-person short stories. Examples include: "I Am a Camera" by Christopher Isherwood and "Metamorphosis" by Franz Kafka.

    - Build Web pages using HTML or a Web page application such as Claris HomePage or Adobe PageMill. Students can learn how to build and post their own pages at Create Your Own Web Page (http://www.smplanet.com/webpage/webpage.html).

    - Have students research other species and have each student write about a different species, creating a menagerie of essays.

    Tips

    Working in Groups
    If you have access to one computer in your classroom, you can organize your class in several ways. Divide your classroom into two groups. Instruct one of the groups to do paper research while the second group is working on the computer. Bring in books, encyclopedias, etc. from the library for the group doing paper research. Lead the group working at the computer through an Internet search or allow the students in the class to take turns. (It may be efficient to have a set of bookmarks ready for the students working before they start working on the computer.) When the groups have finished working have them switch places.

    Look for Web Resources Together as a Class
    If you have a big monitor or projection facilities you can do an Internet search together as a class. Make sure that every student in your class can see the screen. Go to the NATURE Web site and review the information presented there. Bookmark the pages that you and your students think are helpful. Go to a search engine page, allow your students to suggest the search criteria, and do an Internet search. Again, bookmark and/or print the pages that you think are helpful for reference later.

    Using a Computer Lab
    A computer center or lab space, with a computer-to-student ratio of one to three, is ideal for doing Web based projects. Generally, when doing Web-based research, it is helpful to put students in groups of three. This way, students can help each other if problems or questions arise. It is often beneficial to bookmark sites for students ahead of time and make suggestions. This way, you can be sure that students have a starting point.

    Submit a Comment: We invite your comments and suggestions based on how you used the lesson in your classroom.


    Overview | Procedures for Teachers | Organizers for Students