PrintOne Thirty-Minute Class Period

The learner will:

  • identify and describe the behaviors of the characters and describe how Rainbow Fish felt at the beginning, middle, and end of the story.
  • discuss how sharing helped solve the problem.
  • identify characteristics associated with good citizenship.

The art lesson will need:

  • Water color paints
  • fish outline for students to trace -- two mirror images to staple together after painting
  • Foil
  • Glue
  • Stapler
  • Cotton for stuffing
  • Pfister, Marcus. The Rainbow Fish. Translated by J. Alison James. English Translation, New York: North-South Books Inc., 1992. ISBN: 1558580093.


  1. Read aloud the book The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister. As you read, activate prior knowledge, talk about the artwork, and call attention to the sea environment. Ask children to describe what they see.

    • What may happen next? How do you think the character felt? When have you felt like that? 
    • How is the sea like a community?
  2. Discuss:

    How does giving something actually make you feel like you have more?

    What do we have to give? Sometimes giving isn't a thing but an action or an idea? Can we give someone a smile from far away? Can we teach something? 

  3. Art Activity: Construct a rainbow fish using the materials above. The children will paint a fish (either pre-designed or of their own creation), cut out two sides and attach with the teacher's help. They will then stuff the fish with cotton and attach a piece of foil to be the shiny scale. Display fish by hanging them from a string in a central location for all of the students to enjoy along with a sign of the sharing principle.

  4. Follow-up: Teach science lessons that explore ocean life habitat. Explore images and diversity of ocean life. Students may research one type of plant or animal life, or even the geology of the ocean floor. Discuss similarities and differences between ocean habitats and land habitats. What are things that humans and sea creatures all depend upon?


Students may write or dictate a sentence about something they can share to make the community better.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark E.2 Discuss why some animal colonies work together.