A Living Textbook

Friday, February 17 2017

Ava, Deckhand Educator

This week aboard the Roseway has been jam-packed with learning adventures and fun as we kicked off the week with students from Complex High School. It was great to work with this smaller group, sometimes even teaching one-on-one, and really finding out what makes each student get inspired about music and history as we sang and wrote sea shanties.  It’s especially rewarding to me to hear the students talk about how the shanties not only help us to haul the sails by setting rhythm or communicating instructions, but how it makes them feel positive about accomplishing something when they sing.

Then we were into full swing with a new group of 5th graders from Ricardo Richards, middle school students from Reading Rainbow and two new classes of 6th grade from Pearl B. Larson. It’s a lot of names to learn, but the crew thrives on the energy and excitement the students bring when they come aboard. Some of my favorite moments include the laughter following our attempts to name the algae that lives symbiotically with coral polyps three times fast: zooxanthellaezooxanthellaezooxanthallae (go ahead, try it!) and the students calling us out for rigging tug-of-war with a pulley system in our simple machines lesson. There’s a lot we can tell the students that they don’t know, but I love to see them figure it out before we even have a chance. Our boat is a living textbook, and watching the students build confidence in their reasoning skills and leadership abilities as they work together to plot courses in navigation, collect and analyze data during the speed test, and belay each other climbing the rig is an awesome way to test and apply their knowledge.

Of course, as one of our resident shanty singers, I live for the last day with the 5th graders when we get to sing the song we wrote together during our shanty lesson as we haul up our two largest sails. This week’s Ricardo Richards students were particularly musical and even led their own new verses to “Roll the Old Roseway Along” as we set the jib and jumbo too!