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The Ocean Calls: A Haenyeo Mermaid Story

The Ocean Calls by Tina Cho

In the classroom, often times student struggle when trying to differentiate fiction from nonfiction. Sometimes, I will give students a group of books that they have to sort into two groups: fiction or nonfiction.

A similar activity can also be done with informational fiction titles. “Informational fiction presents facts and information within a fictional story.” In The Ocean Calls by Tina Cho, the grandmother and the main character, Dayeon, are fictional characters. But as Dayeon learns to face her fear of the ocean, readers learn about the haenyeo tradition which centers around elderly women diving “in deep waters up to thirty meters.”

After the fictional story arc, Tina Cho includes nonfiction back matter about the haenyeo tradition. She uses quotes from her interview with various haenyeo to organize the information in the back matter.

So, another way to help readers learn the difference between fiction and nonfiction, would be to give them an informational fiction title such as The Ocean Calls and ask them to read the whole book including the back matter. Then, ask them to identify whether Dayeon’s story is fiction or nonfiction and explain why. After explaining that the story is fictional because it has made up characters, ask readers whether the back matter is fiction or nonfiction and to explain why. In the back matter, readers can identify the quotes from real people and learn the facts about the tradition and the dangers these brave women face every time they dive deep.

For those of you who wish to learn more about the author, Tina Cho, who is also a kindergarten teacher in Iowa, you can listen to me interview her on my podcast Chalk and Ink: The Podcast for Teachers Who Write and Writers Who Teach.

Season One Finale: Top Ten Summer Writing Tips Chalk and Ink: The Podcast for Teachers Who Write and Writers Who Teach

Believe it or not, the school year is wrapping up. For teachers who write and writers who teach that means more time to write. To celebrate the end of Chalk + Ink’s first season, I’ve compiled the top ten writing tips from the first season’s collaborators to help get listeners psyched up for a creative, productive summer. Tip Number Ten: Set Your Summer Goals Now From @HannahStarkNYC http://www.hannahcarinastark.comTip Number Nine: Get Current From @LisaLJRogers http://www.lisarogerswrites.comTip Number Eight: Learn the Craft Moves From:@RobSandersWrite http://www.michelleschaub.comTip Number Seven: Strengthen Your Word ChoiceFrom @Schaubwrites http://www.michelleschaub.comTip Number Six: Know Your CharactersFrom:@Jodyjlittle http://www.aliciadwilliams.comTip Number Five: Find Your VoiceFrom:@RobSandersWrite http://www.jenniferswansonbooks.comFrom @HannahStarkNYC http://www.hannahcarinastark.comTip Number Four: Be VulnerableFrom @mstewartscience http://www.melissa-stewart.comTip Number Three: Write In Your UnderwearFrom @Author_Cisneros http://www.ernestocisneros.comTip Number Two: Find the Heart Before You StartFrom @kmoorebooks http://www.katrinamoorebooks.comTip Number One: Decide Someone Needs to Hear Your Story@storiestolife http://www.aliciadwilliams.comDon’t let nothing stop you Chalk + Ink listeners. You got this! There are so many more invaluable writing tips in each episode of season one. I hope you’ll listen to each interview and take advantage of the invaluable knowledge each creator shared. Chalk + Ink will be back on August 27th with the top ten teaching tips from the first season to get us psyched up for the 2021/2022 school year.Before I say goodbye and begin what I hope will be my most creative summer yet, I do have a favor to ask. If you enjoy listening to this show, if it’s given you ideas to take back to the classroom or tips to improve your own creative process, please leave a positive review on Stitcher, I-tunes, Google or wherever you download your podcasts. Positive reviews will help other listeners find us.Finally, I want to give a shout out to author/illustrator Sarah Brannen, @SarahBrannen  for creating the art for Chalk + Ink. Sarah’s newest book that she illustrated, Summertime Sleepers is now available at your local bookstore. As for me, @KateNarita, estivation is not part of my summer plan but digging deep into my heart is.  I look forward to chatting again on August 27th. Until then, happy writing!
  1. Season One Finale: Top Ten Summer Writing Tips
  2. Interview with Newbery Honoree and Instructional Aide, Alicia D. Williams
  3. Interview with Author and Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Sarah Lynn Scheerger
  4. Interview with STEM Author and Middle Grade Science Teacher, Jennifer Swanson
  5. Interview with Author and Third Grade Teacher, Hannah Stark

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