Monday, June 2, 2014

Craft an entire school of "Rainbow Fish" from paper plates!

"The Rainbow Fish" by Pfister.
      The Rainbow Fish is an award-winning children's book drawn and written by Marcus Pfister, Swiss author and illustrator, and translated into English by J. Alison James. The book is best known for its morals about the value of being an individual and for the distinctive shiny foil scales of Rainbow Fish. Decode Entertainment turned the story into an animated television series of the same name, which has aired on the HBO Family television channel in the United States since 1999. Read more...
      I designed my own versions of rainbow fish for my preschoolers from extra thick, large, white paper plates. Because I am working with preschoolers, I will need to assemble the project up to the point of coloring for these little ones.  However, 1rst and 2nd grade teachers may choose to teach every step to their students over a period of two to three sessions.     

Supply List Per Student
  • scissors
  • white school glue
  • magic markers
  • stapler
  • glitter or metallic paper for scales
  • pattern (below)
  • two large white paper plates
  • white typing paper
  • white string
Step-by-step Instructions:
  1. Print and cut out the pattern. Cut the body first and then trace it onto the inside of a large, white, paper plate. Then flip the pattern over and trace it again to the inside of an additional large, white, paper plate. Cut out these two fish and staple them together with the fins facing fan out.
  2. Cut out the face pattern and trace around it twice onto a piece of white typing paper. Then cut these two faces out and staple them both to the correct position on top of each side of the paper fish.
  3. Draw both the fins, eyes, and mouth onto each side of the dimensional paper fish.
  4. Paint or color the fish on both sides
  5. Cut additional fins (circles) from metallic paper and glue these between the fish face and body. 
  6. Then paste down the edge of the fish face to the paper fish body where the scales meet the fishy cheeks.
  7. Staple a long string between the two fish bodies to hang your school of rainbow fish from the ceiling.
Left, I cut and traced my xerox paper pattern onto a paper plate and cut this first fish to trace around for all of my other fish. Don't forget to trace this same fish in the reverse also in order to have both a front and a back fish. Center, See how the fish fits easily into the large paper plate so that students or teachers can duplicate this version's shape. Right, Students may then draw their own fins and face onto the assembled pattern. The face of the fish must be traced twice and cut from white typing paper. You will need to staple one on each side of the fish body.
I stapled two paper fish plates together to give my rainbow fish a bit of dimension and strength. In fact, this paper plate version could stand up to paint if teachers should prefer to use it. I took care not to staple the face onto the body near the edges of the fins. This will make it simpler to glue in the metallic fins.
The blue side of my teacher's sample.
This is the back side, orange version of my teacher's sample.
Print, cut and trace the fish body template and head both. Remember to reverse and cut/trace the body on a second paper plate. You will need to cut and trace two fish heads on regular paper in order to make both the front and back side of this rainbow fish craft. Because teachers will likely hang these paper fish from the ceiling, both sides of the fish should be colored.
More "Rainbow Fish" Crafts:

By Marcus Pfister. Read by Ernest Borgnine.
"The Rainbow Fish is an award-winning book about a beautiful fish who finds friendship and happiness when he learns to share. The book is best known for its morals about the value of being an individual and for the distinctive shiny foil scales of the Rainbow Fish." Visit Storyline Online for more videos.

Are there such things are real rainbow fish? The rainbowfish are a family (Melanotaeniidae) of small, colourful, freshwater fish found in northern and eastern Australia, New Guinea, islands in Cenderawasih Bay, and the Raja Ampat Islands. The largest rainbowfish genus, Melanotaenia, derives from the ancient Greek melano (black) and taenia (banded). Translated, it means "black-banded", and is a reference to the often striking lateral black bands that run along the bodies of those in the Melanotaenia genus. Read more...

More activities and lessons used with "The Rainbow Fish"

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