Snail and Turtle are Friends

Exploring the 2015 CBCA Short List: Early Childhood

Snail riding Turtle encircled by a pattern of green

Author: Stephen Michael King

Scholastic | ISBN 9 7817 4362 0236

Themes: Friendship, similarities and differences, diversity

Years:  Australian Curriculum: English, Foundation to Year 2; Mathematics, Foundation (NSW Early Stage 1 and Stage 1)

From the publishers synopsis: Snail and Turtle are friends. They are different from each other. Sometimes they like the same things, sometimes not. But they always like doing things together.

Codes: AC – Australian Curriculum: English. History, Mathematics | EN – NSW English syllabus for AC (ENe – Early Stage 1)  |  MA – NSW Mathematics

Unit writer: Amanda Nicholls

Building field knowledge

  • Explore the concept of friendship. What makes a good friend? Take photos of students displaying friendship, such as playing a game together, sharing a toy, playing on the monkey bars, reading a book together and comforting someone who is upset, and make a display. Include key words of things friends do together, such as ‘sharing’, ‘fun’, ‘playing’ and ‘learning’. Map these concepts onto your school’s values framework.
  • Do friends always have to like the same things? Think/pair/share some things that you like but your friends do not.  Discuss.  Does this mean you cannot be friends? What does this mean in the playground? Do you always have to play with the same friends? What do you do if you cannot find a friend to play with? ACELY1784   ENe-1A
  • Using puppets, role play ways students can show friendship. There are lots of ideas in programs for schools such as Bounceback or Kids Matter. ACELY1656  EN1-1A

Exploring the context of the text

  • Get pictures or toys of creatures that will be featured in the book on the book: snail, turtle, dog, frog, grasshopper, bee, butterfly, dragonfly, ant, bird, spider and ladybug. Place them in a basket and introduce each one.  What makes these creatures similar or different?  Explore ways that they could be categorised:  big/small, walk/fly, legs/no legs, fur/scales. Get students to group themselves into categories, such as boy/girl, 5yo/6yo, names starting with a vowel/consonant and so on. Elicit idea that you can be friends with peers both in and out of each category. ACMNA005  MAe-5NA

Responding to the text

  • Before reading, examine the first two pages, where Snail and Turtle are in and out of their shells. Introduce the term ‘in common’. What do they have in common? ACMNA005  MAe-5NA
  • Examine the double page spread of Snail and Turtle with the frog, grasshopper and bee. What noises do these creatures make?  How are they unique to these creatures? ACELY1670  EN1-4A
  • Make a list of the different and similar things that Snail and Turtle like to do. ACELY1650  EN1-1A
  • Introduce the term ‘compromise’. How do Snail and Turtle compromise when they are painting?  What makes their painting special?  Elicit idea of diversity and that we all have different ideas and that all contributions are valuable when we are working on a project together. What might have happened if one had insisted on the other painting in the same style? ACELT1582  EN1-11D

Exploring plot character and setting

  • Introduce the term ‘setting’. Read some books with various settings, such as garden (Peggy), city (I’ve an Uncle Ivan; Knufflebunny), home (Go to Sleep, Jessie!), beach (Magic Beach) or farm (A Year on Our Farm).  What is the setting of each text? How does the setting influence the story? If we changed the setting, would it change the story? How? Invite students from other countries to bring in and share picture books set in their country. ACELT1589  EN1-4A

Creating texts

  • Would you like to be friends with Snail, Turtle or any of the other characters in the book? Why? Write a letter to them explaining why you would like to play with them. ACELT1593  EN1-2A
  • Make a classroom display of Snail and Turtle’s garden. ACELT1580  ENe-10C

Examining text structure and organisation

  • The text begins in the morning, and ends at night. How do we know this? Display an analogue teaching clock, and give each student a toy clock.  What time might it be when they wish each other ‘Good morning’ and ‘Good night?’ Invite students to make the time on the clock and justify their reasons. What time of the day do we wish each other a ‘Good Morning’ and ‘Good afternoon’? Why do we do this? Can students make the school start and end times on their clocks?  What other significant times of the day could they make on their clocks? ACMMG007  Mae-13MG

Examining grammar

  • The text uses points of ellipsis (…) on several pages to create a dramatic pause. Introduce the term and ask if students have seen these punctuation marks before. Read the text with and without the pause to demonstrate. What sentences could students create using points of ellipsis? For example, ‘I opened my eyes and …’ or ‘All of a sudden he …’ ACELA1449  EN1-9B

Examining visual and multimodal features

  • Some pages of the text are bordered with foliage, and draw the eye in through a peephole into a small world, while others are more open and create a feeling of space and freedom. Can students identify how the borders, or lack of, create a feeling of cosiness or open space? Make a photocopy of one of the foliage borders, cut out the inside and overlay on one of the un-bordered pages to illustrate the effect. ACELA1453  EN1-7B

Additional resources and links to other texts: Find further notes and teaching ideas (.pdf) for Snail and Turtle are Friends from Scholastic.

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