Classroom Activities

Here are ideas for activities related to Fish in a Tree:

We have spent a lot of time talking about the metaphors and similes used in this book. Students had the opportunity to choose one and draw a representation of it. They did a great job! You can view some of these posters by clicking this link:

Marlene Hignell

Using FIAT in a class for students with language-based exceptionalities as a read-aloud. We pull up a list of traits each time we read and students love coming up and highlighting traits they think Ally shows. They are only allowed to highlight a trait if they have specific evidence from the text!

Laura Curtis

As a way of creating an opportunity for each of my students to connect with Ally Nickerson each is going to write Ally a friendly letter. In their letters they will offer her words of friendship, encouragement, support, and advice. My students have come to empathize and care for Ally very much

Jillian Lisa Hicks

We would love to win a signed copy of your book! It would mean a great deal to our students. You can check out for the many activities we participated in as we read the book for #GRA15. My students are truly able to relate with Ally and made many connections while reading!

nicole korten

Imagine a deleted scene or a scene that is not explicitly told in FIAT. (E.g Mr. Daniels' talks w/ Ally's mom requesting to test Ally for dyslexia or conversation between Shay & her mom when they see Travis' broken windshield wipers & pickle car). Use Google Story Builder to record the dialogue.

Karen McQuinn

Experience what it would be like to have dyslexia at, research decoding strategies at, and write a letter of advice to Mr. Daniels or Ally's mom about how best to help Ally.

Kif Corcoran

We are a Leader in Me school at Westside in Leander ISD. We have been reading Fish in A Tree with the global read aloud. What I love is that we have used twitter @HiveLeaders1516, Padlet, and Google classroom to connect with thoughts within our classroom and around the world.

Lara B. Heine

Have kids design T-shirts that encompass them or illustrates something important to them. Just like Albert's FLINT shirt :-)


My students chose a character and created a character scrapbook using the app Book Creator on our iPads. Each page illustrated something different: character trait word collage description; talking pictures; personal reflections!

Julie Yandell

We created caricature collages using magazines. Students created a caricature using pictures/words from magazines and did not tell the class. They had to present their caricature and explain why they chose what they chose, and then the class had to guess the character from FIAT. Creative and fun!

Maryann Hilton

While learning more about Empathy and Compassion, we (grade 4/5) made connections to FIAT ... first discussing the different examples of compassion in the novel, then displaying one of those examples in an image. (Tweeted on @mrsboltonsclass)

Lilliana Bolton

We adore your book so far and really appreciate your taking time to answer questions each week and read to us! So, recently we created a tree on our bulletin board, added the Albert Einstein quote to its trunk and each created our own fish which showed how we were each special, unique or different!

Janette Ray

My year 5 class in Australia made pop-art inspired cans of soup and named them after a FIAT character (e.g. Ally Soup) Students then wrote a list of "ingredients" that represented the chosen character. I love the colour! ??????????

Shaun Michaeil

We LOVE FIAT and the GRA in our sixth grade ELA class! I have invited our principal, librarian and other adults in our school community to participate in the GRA by making videos of themselves reading FIAT. These will be shared with the students either during class or via Google Classroom.

Lori Skoller

My fourth grade class LOVES FIAT! We are participating in the #GRA15 and have connected to other classes around the globe! We have Skyped with these classes and are also blogging our thoughts and questions about FIAT via Kidblog. What an awesome experience!


My class created "mind movies" where they illustrated something random & creative & entered the pictures onto a Google Slide presentation, then had to write & narrate the story on a screencast.

Jason Bonavita

We read just the beginning paragraph of chapter 14, and then had students paired in 4 groups. We had 4 boxes with objects in them (similar to the idea described in this chapter): a slingy taped to the sides of the box, a ball of yarn, a glue stick, an empty box. We gave each group 2 minutes to guess

Mariana Psenicnik

We have talked a lot about having a growth mentality. We discussed Ally's attitude at the beginning of the book and how she could change her thinking to have a growth mindset. We are finding out that support can be necessary in developing new thoughts, mindsets....

Lara B. Heine

Each of the children drew one character from the book that they had the best visual image of. (anyone) Around the character the student put words they thought described them. They then discussed with another student and gave evidence from the book on why they chose the words they did.

Kathy Iwanicki

I think the Global Read Aloud is a fantastic idea and selected Fish in a Tree for my 4th grade class because it has so many incredible lessons and is wonderfully written. We discuss, kahoot, and share padlets. I created this Novel Guide for students and shared on Twitter.

Matt Peebles

Working with our art teacher, we're doing a book-making project for our own Sketchbook of Impossible Things. We have a bulletin board of powerful quotes. We're also tweeting important lessons we learn, sharing our thoughts on WriteAbout, and Skyping with class in another country!

Stacy Maehling

Freeze Frames: Students choose an event from the book to portray as Freeze Frames- their partner class guesses the event. Lines that Resonate: Students choose a line from the chapter that resonated with them, explain why, respond to their partner class lines. Hot seat characters

We made webs for each character, and wrote first impressions. Now we are adding evidence that supports or contradicts our assumptions. We hope Shay will learn to be nice!

Jessica Lawson

This could be a 1-time activity or something you do throughout the book. Have students write letters to a character in the book giving advice, words of encouragement, even warnings related to character's particular problems. At the end, have students BE the character and write back to themselves.

Maryann Molishus

We have used FIAT to discuss growth mindset. I gave my students some starter fixed mindset phrases and they had to brainstorm in groups to change them to more positive growth mindset phrases.

Katrina Ling

My school (grades 4 & 5) is doing Fish in a Tree as a school-wide read aloud. The bulletin board in our main lobby is dedicated to our theme for the year - "Great Minds Don't Think Alike." Each student has written a strength or talent on a fish that is displayed for all to appreciate!

Kristen Picone

Hi Lynda, My class is enjoying your book for the GRA! I found that they listened to me read to them better when I asked them to use our current reading strategy being practiced : visualizing and draw as they listen. The pictures are fabulous! I've posted them @SyVanaselja Thanks!

Sylvia Vanaselja

For GRA we each made unique bracelets to send to our GRA partners in Austin Texas. These bracelets represented a character trait of friendship and these bracelets were FREE!!

We are focusing on all reading strategiest hroughout the book. As I read the students jot down their ideas. We just finished the "making connections" strategy from chapters 1-12. After making connections, they choose one to elaborate on and write about every day. Next up, visualizing!

Rabaab Namazie

Our advisory groups focus on three words: respect, accept, persevere. While reading FIAT, students find evidence of these three concepts throughout the book. We hold discussions and write about them using evidence found in the text.

Lori Davis

Our character council hosted a Little Free Library takeover featuring "Fish in a Tree" as our chapter book choice for this year's Global Read Aloud. This short video explains it all!

Jan Tell

Fish in a Tree characters are so rich that they work perfectly for a character traits lesson. Assign your students a character and have them take notes as you read. Group ideas together to build enough evidence to support different character traits. Watch the characters change before your eyes!

Jason Lewis

We are creating PicCollages showing student in an environment in which they "shine". Students choose backgrounds and insert pics of themselves into scene. Each student shares their own story and how they shine. We will share all pics ad stories in a Places We Shine Video or use Shadow Puppet .

Brenda Morrow

Students will be creating book trailers for FIAT; a trailer per character/perspective; along with a "movie poster" highlighting the character. Students are enjoying learning more and more about Ally but also the people in her life; both negative & positive! Will share shortly after GRA! @zeliamct

Zelia Capitao-Tavares

I have my students act as detectives searching for clues as we read. The students identify character traits for each character and then search for text evidence (clues) as we read. They write the trait and evidence on a post-it, and then place it on our big poster right outside our classroom.

Lauren Betterton

I love how we have connected with so many classrooms from around the globe. Using Kidblog to share our thoughts with others while reading the book has been amazing. My fourth graders created a Padlet Wall asking others what they think Fish in a Tree means.  

Monica Evon

Students close read the lyrics to Echosmith's "Cool Kids" and wrote connections to Ally in Fish In a Tree.

Students spot and analyze the wealth of analogies in the novel. They use a two column page to copy the analogy, infer its meaning in their own words, then explain how it gave depth to understanding, and compared it to stating plainly. Journal-entries related to themes

We are using Padlet. Our most recent query was "Ally may not be a very good reader, but she is very talented at other things. What are some of her talents? Now describe a talent that you have that other people may not know about." We've enjoyed discovering our many hidden talents.

Diana H. Saunders

SHARE YOUR IDEAS (Please DO NOT post questions here. I cannot answer them through this)