Print version of this lesson plan.

By Ann Mariel Flores

Elementary School Educator, Juan M. Guerrero Elementary School, Guam

About This Lesson

The following lesson plan was developed as part of the Culturally Sustaining Education: The Micronesian Context professional development workshop held 24-26 July 2018. The workshop was held in Guam and made possible by the Center for Pacific Islands Studies at the University of Hawai`i at Mānoa in partnership with Chaminade University of Honolulu’s Center for Teaching and Learning, the Department of CHamoru Affairs and the Senator Antonio Palomo Guam Museum and Educational Facility, the College of Micronesia, Alik Translation Services, and Guampedia. All lesson plans developed as part of this series were authored by a Guam-based educator with contributions from workshop facilitators.




Elementary, 3rd Grade

Time required

90 minutes

Materials required

Related resources

  • Taimanglo, T.C. Sirena: A Mermaid Legend From Guam. Bloomington, IN: Authorhouse, 2010.
  • Ramirez, T. Folktale: Sirena, n.d. Retrieved 22 November 2020, from 

Common Core Standards

  • ELA-LITERACY.RL.3.2 Recount stories, including fables, folktales, and myths from diverse cultures; determine the central message, lesson, or moral and explain how it is conveyed through key details in the text.
  • ELA-LITERACY.SL.3.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 3 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
  • ELA-LITERACY.RI.3.6 Distinguish their own point of view from that of the author of a text.
    • Students will be able to compare and contrast their culture with Sirena’s.
    • Students will be able to work collaboratively with others.
    • Students will be able to tell the central message, lessons, and morals of the story and share it with others.
    • Students will be able to express their own ideas and understanding during small group and whole class discussion.

Lesson Plan


Students will explore the historical background of the story of Sirena, a well known legend in Guam. Students will also draw personal connections to the cultural aspects in the story of Sirena.


  • Students will demonstrate understanding through group discussion and presentation.


  1. Have students gather in front of you for story time.
  2. Teacher will provide background information on the author, illustrator, and history of Sirena. Refer to for background information.
  3. Before reading the story aloud, teacher will explain the importance of thinking about the story before actually reading it to help us better understand the story. One way we can do that is by looking at the illustrations and making predictions.
  4. Teacher will display the illustrations in the story and ask students to turn to a buddy and share what they think the story will be about.
  5. Another way is to look for words or phrases in the story that we are not familiar with. Show the students examples of CHamoru words in the story and discuss the meanings of each.
  6. For each word, write it on the board with their definitions and give examples of how to use the words.
    • Neni (noun) baby, infant, child, kid
    • Azure (adjective) bright blue in color, like a cloudless sky.
    • Yearn (verb) have an intense feeling of longing for something
    • Neglect (verb) not pay proper attention to
    • Croon (verb) him or sing a soft, low voice
    • Manu na gaige hao: Where are you? 
    • Tun: respectful way of referring to an older man.
  7. Begin the read aloud of Sirena: A Mermaid Legend from Guam by Tanya Chargualaf Taimanglo.
  8. While reading the story, refer to the meanings written on the board when the word/phrase comes up.
  9. Break students up into 4 groups. Hand each group a discussion question.
    • Question 1: What lessons can we learn from the story of Sirena?
    • Question 2: How is the river and ocean important to our culture and island?
    • Question 3: What roles do the females in your life have?
    • Question 4: Compare and contrast Sirena’s life to your life now.
  10. Provide each group with a piece of chart paper and markers or crayons.
  11. Explain to students that each group will share what they have talked about with the rest of the class. They may write or draw out their thoughts on the chart paper to help them with their presentation.
  12. Have each group present on their small-group discussion.
  13. Homework: Assign students to write a reflection (at least 1 paragraph) on the story of Sirena. Did they like it? How did they feel about the mother or Sirena? Do they have a Godmother? Can they relate to the story? What did they learn?