By Lynn Fordin, Grade 2 teacher
Days spent on the Hudson River in early autumn reward us in many ways. It is a time to revel in the warmth of the sun, feel the morning chill, and drink in the many shades of blue and green that surround us.
For our second grade class, this year’s early trips offer us opportunity to soak in the broad strokes of passion and possibility. As our year progresses we revisit and expand upon these early experiential moments.
Our visits encourage us to make observations and ask questions.
Recently, with educators from Scenic Hudson we scoured the beach front and find many treasures. Examples include small crab exoskeletons, a jaw bone of yet unknown origin with lovely small teeth still in place, beach glass and driftwood.
Seining the river invites us to imagine the possibilities of a haul and identify banded killifish with a key system created by the Clearwater Organization. We read a child’s version of Conservationist Magazine that expands our knowledge of fish parts. And happily compare our lungs to a fish’s gills, and begin to understand the delicate importance of fin variety.
With care we paint rubber fish replicas representing a variety of Hudson River fish. We note fish attributes including a variety in fin designs, length and shape, and facial structure. We delicately place muslin on top of our now colorful rubber fish, and rub color from fish to cloth. Voila! We now have beautiful fish prints.
Our station rotation also includes the use of our well honed knowledge of the water cycle while playing a gathering game. We use a variety of beads in a multitude of colors, placing them on a pipe cleaner. These beads represent the location of water on Earth and shows us how water moves from place to place.