SUNY Geneseo’s Fish In A Tree Activity

This is an activity that the SUNY Geneseo teacher candidates created for chapters 38-40 of Fish In A Tree. This activity would be appropriate for upper elementary students. The activity entails creating a campaign slogan, speech, or poster.

SUNY Geneseo Activity – Fish in a Tree

Screen Shot 2015-11-08 at 8.07.15 pm

Fish in a Tree, the Chapter!

If the author chose the name of this chapter (29) to be the title of the book, it had to be an important chapter! We were alert for Reading Signposts from the start!  Here are some that we spotted:

  • Again and Again: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Ally running out of rooms
  • Memory Moment: remembers swinging with grandpa
  • Tough Questions “Why can’t I read?”
  • Kiesha’s Words of the Wiser: “Hunched over and silent is no way to meet the world.”
  • Albert Einstein’s Words of the Wiser:  “Everyone is smart in different ways.  But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life thinking that it’s stupid.”

Character Hot Seat gave us a chance to ask these characters the hard questions we have been wondering about.  After making a Character Wheel, texting in character for a couple of weeks, and much discussion as we read, we were ready to become Ally or Shay or Albert…or a Halloween character, perhaps!

Character Hot Seat!
Character Hot Seat!
Questions for the Characters


5SK – Skyping with Miss Wagenhauser




We were super lucky this morning to Skype with Miss Wagenhauser in New York State. She read chapters 30 and 31 from Fish in a Tree and participated in our Character Hot Seating. Both Miss W and the students asked many deep questions that really made our ‘characters’ think about how they behaved in the story towards others.

5SK and I look forward to Skyping again in Week 6 with Miss Wagenhauser.

Fish in a Tree: Chapters 25 – 33

Tricky_chair_preview_featuredCharacter Hot Seating

You have been in Ally’s world for a few weeks now and have learnt more about her and some of the other characters in the book.  In a classroom students often have different opinions on why or what motivates a character to do and act a certain way. This activity allows you to form opinions about a character.


1. In pairs choose a character you would like to ask specific questions to.

2. Create a list of 5-10 questions.

3. Have one child at the front of the room sit in a chair.

4. This child assumes the identity of one of the characters from the text.

5. The class then asks the character questions.

6. The child in the seat answers questions in character.

“Texting” in Character!

Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 2.28.01 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 2.19.00 PMScreen Shot 2015-10-22 at 2.27.42 PM

This week, we paired up with some students in New York to “text” back and forth in the role of some of the characters. We had a Mystery Skype with them earlier.  Now our students are matched up with assigned characters, in groups of three.  Each one has to imagine actually being the character and “texting” (on a Padlet) about what is going on in the story.  We plan to continue this throughout the rest of the book.