You are on page 1of 2

Jaylene Reitsema

Introduction to Waste in Our World Cross-Curricular Lesson

Flotsam by David Wiesner 2006
Tracking Trash Flotsam, Jetsam, and the Science of Ocean Motion by Loree Griffin Burns 2007
What do you imagine when you go under the sea? Do you see Ariels palace? David Wiesner takes us
underwater in his fantasy picture book, Flotsam while Loree Griffin Burns provides a realistic look at the
worlds oceans in Tracking Trash.
Flotsam won the 2007 Caldecott Medal and many other honours including Best Illustrated Childrens
Book from the New York Times, Best Book of the Year from Publishers Weekly, and Editors Choice by
Flotsam is a fantasy picture book of the world beneath the ocean. A boy finds a camera washed ashore.
As he examines the camera, he discovers it has a film canister and is ready to be developed. What the
boy discovers astounds him.
Tracking Trash by Loree Griffin Burns won Boston Globe-Horn Book Honour Award in the non-fiction
category, the IRA Childrens Book Award, and has been listed as an American Library Association Notable
Book for Children among many other awards.
Tracking Trash: Flotsam, Jestam, and the Science of Ocean Motion also examines what can be found in
the ocean. But as the title suggests, the scientific findings are not as pleasant. Our oceans are filled with
garbage. Tracking Trash explains how Curt Ebbesmeyer began tracking running shoes that were washing
ashore and has gone on to discover that are oceans are full of trash and the effect they are having on
the environment.
The grade 4 science unit on waste in our world would be a wonderful way to highlight Tracking Trash. I
would include Flotsam in an art unit, having students create images that take realism and change it
slightly, much like many of the illustrations in this book. Another activity would be to have students
slowly go through the book as a large group, guided by the teacher, and asked questions at every page.
Students would tell the story as we went along. At the end, students would be given copies of some of
the images from Flotsam and asked to write short stories to go along with the pictures. These could
then be made into an anthology. An excellent beginning to each short story would be the same words
David Wiesner wrote on the inside cover:
Something that floats.
If it floats in the ocean,
it may wash up on the beach,
where someone may find it
and be astonished,
and share the discovery
with someone else
Page 1 of 2

Jaylene Reitsema
as David Wiesner (or students name)
shares it
with you.
Learner Outcomes:
Grade 4 English Language Arts
1. Students will listen, speak, read, write, view, and represent to explore thoughts, ideas, feelings,
and experiences.
a. Students will discover and explore.
i. Express ideas and develop understanding.
1. Share personal responses to explore and develop understanding of oral,
print, and other media texts.
b. Students will clarify and extend.
i. Consider the ideas of others.
1. Use talk, notes, personal writing, and representing to record and reflect
on ideas, information, and experiences.
4. Students will listen, speak, read, write, view, and represent to enhance the clarity and artistry of
a. Students will enhance and improve.
i. Expand knowledge of language.
1. Use an increasing variety of words to express and extend understanding
of concepts related to personal interest and topics of study.
Grade 4 Science
4-5 - Recognize that human activity can lead to the production of wastes, and identify alternatives
for the responsible use and disposal of materials.
Students will:
2. Identify and classify wastes that result from human activity.
3. Describe alternative methods of disposal, and identify possible advantages and
disadvantages of each.
4. Distinguish between wastes that are readily biodegradable and those that are not.
7. Identify kinds of wastes that may be toxic to people and to the environment.
Grade 4 Art
Component 10 (i) - PURPOSE 2: Students will illustrate or tell a story.
B. An original story can be created visually.
Component 10 (i) - PURPOSE 5: Students will create an original composition, object or space based
on supplied motivation.
A. Outside stimulation from sources such as music, literature, photographs, film, creative
movement, drama, television and computers can be interpreted visually.
Component 10 (ii) - SUBJECT MATTER: Students will develop themes, with an emphasis on personal
concerns, based on:
D. Fantasy
Page 2 of 2