45 minutes

Students will engage in a whole-class shared reading of the book, Sharing a Shell by Julia Donaldson.


You will require a copy of the Julia Donaldson book, Sharing a Shell (see Related Resources).

Each student will require a copy of Student Worksheet: Sharing a Shell – order the story.

The Lesson: Sharing a Shell – Fact or Fiction follows on from this lesson.


    1. Discuss the cover of the book with students.  Ask leading questions such as:
      • What do you think the book will be about?
      • What do you think the creatures on the cover of the book are?
      • Where do these creatures live?
      • What other creatures live in that environment?
    2. Engage students in shared, whole class reading of Sharing a Shell, written by Julia Donaldson.
    3. At the end of the story, engage students in a discussion about the animals in the story and what happened between them.  Introduce the concept of symbiotic relationships in the marine environment.  Ask students if they can think of any other organisms in the marine environment that live together in a symbiotic relationship.  Examples may include – coral and their photosynthetic algae – zooxanthellae; clownfish and anemones; bluebottles; cleaner fish and larger fish (on land, an example may be bees and flowers).
    4. You may also choose to enter into a discussion about the language used in the story, in particular the rhyming of words.
    5. Provide students with a copy of Student Worksheet: Sharing a Shell – order of the story. Read the sentences on the worksheet together and work either collaboratively as a class or in pairs to order the sentences correctly as they are delivered in the story. Ask students to cut each sentence out and glue onto a new piece of paper in the correct order. Students may then like to draw a picture to accompany each sentence.


Symbiosis, zooxanthellae, rock pools

Linked External Resources

Sharing a Shell