A turtle theme for your classroom brings in multicultural folktales, biology, and shapes. Start with a bulletin board.
There aren’t any large ready-made turtle bulletin boards right now, though Carson-Dellosa has turtle note pals, novel notes, and colorful cutouts. These are different sizes and designs of turtle cutouts. We like them for manipulatives, Big Book projects, centers, and also for bulletin boards with things like turtles (write the kids’ names on them) racing to the finish line for learning their alphabet or multiplication tables.
Also from Carson-Dellosa, the Amazing Turtle tie-on shows a turtle winning a race. There’s a hole to string the turtle on a shoelace, backpack cord, or string to hand around kids’ necks.Use these on bulletin boards to decorate student work, with slogans like these:
- “Slow and Steady Wins the Race”
- “Finish Strong”
- “We’re Winners”
- “Sticking Our Necks Out”
- “Coming Out of Our Shells”
Safari’s Incredible Creatures Sea Turtle is a super-realistic plastic turtle. For a quick and dramatic bulletin board, attach a fishnet to the board and tuck the toy turtle artistically into its folds.
There are plenty of turtle books for your reading table. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories, by Dr. Seuss
- Old Turtle, by Douglas Wood and Cheng-Khee Chee
- One Tiny Turtle by Nicola Davies and Jane Chapman
- Thirteen Moons on Turtle’s Back, by Joseph Bruchac
- And Still the Turtle Watched , bySheila MacGill-Callahan
- Interrupted Journey: Saving Endangered Sea Turtles, by Kathryn Lasky and Christopher G. Knight
- The Turtle and the Monkey, by Joanna and Paul Galdone
- Minn of the Mississippi, by Holling C. Holling
- Turtle Splash!: Countdown at the Pond, by Cathryn Falwell
- Turtle Moon, by Alice Hoffman
Your library will have most of these. There are also plenty of folktales online with turtle characters (some of the books listed above are folktales, too.) Here is a nice international sampling:
- “The Jealous Bragging Turtle,” a Gullah tale in your choice of HTML or flash
- “Urashima Taro” is a Japanese tale.
- “The Feast” is Hausa tale from West Africa.
- “Turtle’s Race with Bear” is a Seneca (Native American) story.
Once your classroom is turtled up, you might like to try some turtle-themed printables:
- Here is a racing turtle toy from The Toymaker. This is fun for a rainy recess, and gives you a chance to talk about friction, too.
- Here are some funny turtle coloring pages, each with an informative sentences. Take time to explore the links at this page!
- A more realistic coloring page from National Geographic.
- Here is a math and following directions worksheet with a turtle theme. There are ads and popups at this page, but it can be printed clean.
- Make turtle bread, or follow the same directions with clay.
- A sea turtle maze gives visual-spatial practice.
- Here is a nice printable report form.
- Franklin the Turtle bookmarks show the storybook turtle carrying books.
- Here is a printable reading sheet of “I had a little turtle.” It’s a classic fingerplay that goes like this:
I had a little turtle
And he lived in a box.
He swam in the water
And he climbed on the rocks.
He snapped at a minnow.
He snapped at a flea.
He snapped at a mosquito.
And he snapped at me.
He caught the minnow.
He caught the flea.
He caught the mosquito.
But he didn’t catch me!