A boy and his grandfather watch as a baby seal is born on the rocks near their home, and from that day, a special friendship is created between them. Despite his disability, the boy is a keen surfer, and he enjoys many afternoons surfing with the seals. One day, however, he gets into trouble in rough seas, and the young seal saves him. Their friendship brings happiness and meaning at the important stages of the boy’s life.
Teaching Ideas and Resources:
- Can you write your own story, which has different events taking place in each season?
- Retell the story from the boy’s point of view.
- The seal ‘basked’ in the warm sun. Can you think of other words that have the same meaning?
- The seals ‘twist’, ‘turn’ and ‘corkscrew’ into the depths of the water. Can you find any synonyms for these words?
- Could you plan and write a new story about an animal who saves a person in danger?
- Look at photos / videos of seals and write words / phrases to describe them.
- The author uses lots of different verbs to describe movement in the story. Can you find them all?
- Why do we have seasons? Can you find out and teach somebody else about them?
- One paragraph in the story begins with ‘As the spring days lengthened?’. What does this mean? Why does it happen?
- Find out about seals. Can you create a report to teach others about them?
- The young seal learns ‘the lessons of the sea’. What might these be?
- The seal in the story grows older and has a pup of her own. Think about life cycles of different types of creatures.
- Why are there waves in the sea? Why does the tide go in and out? Can you find out the answers to these questions?
- Make an animation of a seal swimming in the water or a person surfing on the sea.
- Draw / paint your own seaside scenes.
- Look at the different shades of the same colour in the illustrations (e.g. the greens in the sea and blues in the sky). Could you try to mix different shades of the same colour using paint, or blend them together using pens / pencils / crayons?
- The music of Beethoven plays on the radio in Grandad’s old pick-up truck. Can you listen to any music by Beethoven? How is it similar / different to other types of music? What are your opinions of it?
- Listen to the sound of waves. How do they make you feel? Could you compose a tune that includes the sound of waves?
- Describe what the weather is usually like in each of the four seasons.
- Look on a map and find places where the story might have been set.
- Find out about different geographical features that you might find along the coast.
- Write a set of instructions to teach somebody learn how to surf. Watch this video for some tips.
- Watch videos of people surfing. What skills do you need to have to surf well? What parts of your body are used?
- The boy uses crutches and a wheelchair to get around. Why might this be? Use this as the starting point for discussions about disability.
- Find out about animal charities in your local area. Can you make a poster to advertise what they do, or plan an event to support them?