Life Cycles: Ocean
written by Sean Callery
Source: Orange County Library
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When I teach life cycles, it's easy to turn to the obvious. My class made butterflies on Friday and will write about their life cycle this week. There is a ton of material on the Internet about butterflies which makes it easy. That's why books like Life Cycle:Ocean are important because they make you think beyond the comfortable and try something new in your teaching. Sean Callery has written a whole series about life cycles in different habitats. I was lucky to find this book since all of the others were checked out from my local library. In the introduction, Callery discusses the parts of a food chain(producers, primary consumer, secondary consumer, top of the chain with no predators). Throughout the book, readers will go "through three food chains from oceans" and learn about the life cycles of 11 different animals. I find the combination of life cycle and food chain information an intriguing mix and a great resource. For example, coral is the first part of a food chain in warm ocean waters. A two page spread explains the life cycle of coral. There are extra fun facts about the animal included in the spread. On the bottom right hand corner of the second page is a great tease where an ellipse calls for the reader to predict what is going to eat the feature animal. A small piece of a photograph adds a visual clue to the mix. What we find on the next spread is a starfish that eats the coral. Beautiful photographs accentuate each spread of information. In the back matter you find a terrific food web that connects all of the featured animals in the book.
Dare to go beyond butterflies! Be bold and teach about other life cycles that are not as familiar. You can start by checking out a couple of Sean Callery's books and compare life cycles in different ecosystems. What is similar and different about life cycles in the ocean and in polar regions? If you are teaching children to map information, these books are quite valuable in that regard as well.