Essays communicate importance of class kayaking trips



Parents, teachers and school administrators learned something from a batch of essays written by a Wrightsville Beach School third-grade class.

After Jennifer Williams’ class came back from its second kayaking trip of the year, led by school counselor and marine science coordinator Cissie Brooks, Williams asked her students to think about why the class missed two hours of math class for kayaking.

“We’re really fortunate to have this program. I want the kids to realize how fortunate they are. … There’s probably not another third-grade class in our state that’s doing kayaking. They need to treasure it,” Williams said.

The students had 30 minutes to write the essays, titled “Why kayaking is important,” in class May 29. Many students said the kayaking trips help Wrightsville Beach students perform well on end-of-grade science tests in fourth and fifth grade.

“Why we are kayaking we see crabs, fish, hermit crabs, birds, and snails. And that’s why we get high grades on our science end of grade tests,” Jace Rivenbank wrote.

Carly Green agreed with Rivenbank.

“Kayaking is science, too. Kayaking is a fun way of learning about sea-life. My favorite part is discovering new animals,” Green wrote.

Samuel Felton explained how the kayaking trips prime the class to be stewards of the beach.

“W.B.S. goes [kayaking]so we can learn and pick out trash in the water, also we fish and explore islands,” Felton wrote.

Katie Speaks noted that kayaking trips help the class learn to work together.

“Kayaking is also important because you learn how to work as a team with a partner,” Speaks wrote.

And for Riley Westover, sharing the experience with parents taught a lesson bigger than science tests and schoolwork.

“Our parents take off of work to come out and help us that means that we are more important than money,” Westover wrote.

Williams hopes an early understanding and appreciation of the dynamic beach ecosystem the kids call home will foster a sense of lifelong respect.

“This is where they get that whole life lesson of the environment and need to respect it,” Williams said. “We live at the beach. We should know that stuff.”

Brooks developed a marine science curriculum for each grade at Wrightsville Beach School, taught by weekly class visits and hands-on learning experiences like the Kayak Rodeo, an annual event for fifth-grade students combining academic review, teamwork and kayaking skills.

The 2014 event will take place June 12 at 9 a.m. in front of the Blockade Runner Beach Resort.



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