STEM Sailing & 4th Graders – Transformational and Transcontinental

Experiential sail-based STEM programs launched by the Treasure Island Sailing Center in 2013 and Sail Newport in 2017 are transforming the learning experience, respect for mother nature and the lives of 4th graders in California and Rhode Island.

The TISC Set Sail Learn (SSL) STEM program has now passed the 6K “smiles” milestone.  Since the inception of the program in the Fall of 2013, 6,172 students from 46 schools representing all 11 San Francisco Unified School Districts have attended 240 classes on Clipper Cove. At Sail Newport’s new Marine Education and Recreation Center, 178 students from Pell Elementary School’s eight 4th grade classes have a few more weeks of “class” before their summer break. Each week, in September & October then again in May & June, Monday through Thursday, two of the eight 4th grade classes spends an hour on J/22 sailboats on Brenton Cove and an hour in the Marine Education and Recreation Center.

As we were launching Skipper’s Gift at Sail Newport, the first wave of Pell students was returning to the docks aboard J/22’s, the captain’s choice in Newport Harbor. How can you not get psyched about sailing on Brenton Cove!

LOOK CAREFULLY -those two cranes in the background were dismantling the super-successful One Ocean Exploration Zone during the Volvo Ocean Race Newport Stopover. One of the exhibits included the US Sailing Reach Initiative (more below).

While different in scope and approach, both programs create smiles, environmental ambassadors and kids in tune with the sciences via hand’s ON (the tiller) and hands IN (the water) programs tied directly to their respective accredited classroom studies.  These are not field trips; they are legit school days aboard classrooms that tack and gybe!

The last day of Spring ’18  SSL classes on Clipper Cove was May 21st, Ms. Roach’s McKinely Elementary class studied Ecology of the Bay.  Many topics were covered (experienced !) as shown in the photos below!

“Ms Pilar” leads the class in a game of “Ecology – air, food and housing” before delivering a chalk talk and gets into explaining the use of histograms.  Did someone mention data creation, sampling and analysis?

Identifying male/female crabs is part of the day’s study.

Workbooks, along with lesson plans to go with them, are provided by TISC in advance of SSL classes and are kept by the kids for post-trip follow-up.

Observations often require watching closely.

Set sail learn classes are taught in two groups.  One in the learning center and one on Clipper Cove.  The kids switch after lunch.

Safety first on the water begins with lifejackets.

Clipper Cove is bounded on three sides by land and protected from the strong San Francisco Bay wind and waves by a causeway that connects Treasure Island to Yerba Buena Island. A perfect environment (the only one like it in all of San Francisco Bay) for learning about ecology, wind power and marine history.

Kids smiles on the water don’t need much explanation. On Clipper Cove students sail either J/24’s on windy days or RS Ventures on gentler days.

6,172 SSL students have attended SSL classes at TISC since its inception in the Fall of 2013.  Kudos to St. Francis Sailing Foundation for their on-going support beginning in October, 2015 ( read more about their grant HERE).

During this most recent Spring 2018 session, 646 children from 17 schools attended 28 classes, mixing time in our learning center with on-the-water sailing.

Transcontinental STEM – for sure, with programs from east coast to west coast and thanks to US Sailing a couple dozen in between.

Transformational – yes again. Here’s one recent story about conquering fears: “The Power of the Wind ? – – – Life Changing“.

And many more from kids themselves “I am crabby, day had to end”, “Best field trip ever”, “On a scale from 1-10 – 1,000,000”.  And from teachers on both coasts who have seen kids living so close to the water in Newport and San Francisco, but were never able to touch the water, feel the wind on their face, and certainly not had the chance to sail – until their experience at Sail Newport or TISC.

Regards from On The Cove, Dave G.

In the wake:

You can read about REACH – a USSAILING STEM-based program no underway at dozens of sailing centers across the US to inspire sailing programs and schools to utilize sailing as a teaching platform.

And In case you missed the TISC June newsletter, you can read about it here.

 

The Power of the Wind ? – – Life Changing !

The firsts accompanying Leonard Flynn Elementary School kids to Clipper Cove paled by comparison to what we all considered a life-changing story. Credit TISC’s STEM-based experiential learning program – and our SSL team – for more than just smiles on that day.

Last Tuesday served up notable firsts on TISC’s docks. Our new Program Manager Laura DeFelice, shadowed our Program Coordinator Luxine Smith, witnessed and learned to teach her first class. The 26 4th and 5th grade students from Leonard Flynn Elementary reveled in their very first sailing experience. In many ways a day not unlike those experienced by the 5,526 SFUSD students, including three previous Leonard Flynn classes who have benefited from our Set Sail Learn program to date.

The April 17th conditions were ideal for a first-sail. The April morning sun shone through some light cloud cover and the warmth of the sun prevailed over the cool light morning wind. The students arrived as they often do, loud and full of excitement. Their energy is contagious.

The group met under our big top tent and divided into two groups: one that would begin their classroom lesson, The Power of the Wind, and another that would go sailing. Of course, everyone wanted to go sailing first. Or did they?

One student, 10-year-old Rosa, walked deliberately with her classmates and chaperones as they were guided to the docks. The girls and boys were so excited to get going, and TISC’s instructors kept a watchful eye until they were briefed, donned life jackets and allowed to board the boats. They stood at attention listening to each instructor’s direction before springing like horses out of the gates to get on the boats.

All but Rosa.

The first J/24 departed and then the second. While all the kids on boat 3 were ready to go, they had to wait while the chaperone and I comforted Rosa, whose eyes filled with tears but never spilled. Her hands shook and she breathed deeply as though preparing to take a deep dive into pool from which she was certain she’d never return. Her classmates pleaded with her to come aboard, and although she never demanded to leave, was never committed to going.

After a few moments of convincing, Rosa was encouraged to sit in the boat’s companionway halfway in the cockpit where she felt safe. The chaperone sat next to her and held her hand; as the boat finally left the dock Rosa uttered “I want to go back”. But it was too late! She was sailing.

I waited on the dock and prepared to scramble the safety boat, but Rosa stood fast and kept going.  Her sailing instructor, Bruce, shouted, “She’ll be OK in a few minutes. It’s always these ones who have the most fun.”

And he was right!

Before the boats could make one loop in Clipper Cove, Rosa was already at the helm. Bruce is an expert with kids and made sure he could instill the confidence Rosa needed to become strong and face her fear.

As she steered the boat downwind, it was apparent Bruce had done his job and Rosa had made a tremendous step forward. Her transformation was empowering for her classmates and everyone involved. 

Afterward, Rosa said, “Before I went sailing I felt nervous, scared and frightened. After sailing around the bay I felt happy, excited, and joyful.”

And check out the smiles from her classmates:

While this was certainly Rosa and her classmates’ first sail, it might also have been the first big step forward in learning to conquer fear.

Although they later enjoyed their Power of the Wind lesson in the classroom (who wouldn’t have fun building wind-powered land yachts), these kids will never forget the power they felt in that very light morning wind while sailing in the safety of Clipper Cove.

The Power of the Wind –  Life Changing ? – we think so!

Regards from On the Cove, Travis

 

In the Wake:

In case you missed our April newsletter, you can read about it here.

While the level of high school racing is a step above Set Sail Learn in terms of sailing abilities, these two activities share one thing in common – The life lessons, friendships and joy of sailing in the protected safety of Clipper Cove.  Below are a few photos from the 2018 Golden Bear regatta attended by 256 sailors and another 150+ parents, friends and coaches from 26 high schools.  What a scramble at the docks when 4 divisions switched teams in 64 boats !

Did I mention- THANK YOU VOLUNTEERS !

 

 

TISC Set Sail Learn STEM Program Tops 5,000 SFUSD 4th Graders

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DSC_0552Dianne Feinstein Elementary is no stranger to learning STEM at Treasure Island Sailing Center on Clipper Cove.  They’ve participated every year since the program’s 2013 inception. This week their class brought the 4-year total SSL smiles to over 5,000.

Just like many classes before them, these kids had a “crabby” day studying ecology of the bay.  Games featuring the food, shelter and oxygen needs of undersea creatures lead to a better understanding of what it takes to sustain life in the sea.

Learning about math, statistics and graphing always seems so much more in the TISC Activity Center !DSC_0422

DSC_0438Of course time on the docks checking out what’s in the water adds to the fun.DSC_0404DSC_0408

Set Sail Learn classes also provide every student with an opportunity to get out on Clipper Cove to experience the wind and water in a safe, protected environment away from the commercial traffic, high currents and large waves of San Francisco Bay.DSC_0535

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The Dianne Feinstein School  supplements a standards-based education by using hands-on practices and games to reinforce skills and make learning fun, differentiation to meet students’ needs, and enrichment programs that include science and arts.  The TISC SSL experiential learning approach is an ideal match for their kids.

Regards from On the Cove, Dave G

In the wake:

Along with the Growth in our Set Sail Learn program, other TISC programs or activities sponsored by TISC have also grown.  The graph below shows the usage of Clipper Cove by TISC students and sailors, kayakers and paddlers who use TISC as a Launching Point for New Horizons.

TISC Users on Clipper Cove

You can check out more of the 5,000 Set Sail Learn smiles in the posts below.

TISC Set Sail Learn Nears 5K Milestone as Ships Sink

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASet Sail Learn, our experiential STEM program for San Francisco 4th graders, passed the 4,800 “smiles” milestone during the Spring 2017 Session.  Students learned about history, ecology and renewable energy. And buoyancy (some ships floated, some sank) !

725 4th grade students attended one of the 28 Set Sail Learn classes at Treasure Island Sailing Center during our just-completed Spring 2017 session. These youngsters came from 19 San Francisco Unified School District schools.

Each class had the option of studying Ecology of the Bay, Renewable energy or Maritime History of SF Bay.  Along with each class students sailed in RS Venture sailboats.

Students from the McKinley Elementary School connected with crabs as a way to learn about the Ecology of SF Bay.IMG_1345 (2) IMG_1346

A class from the Paul Revere Elementary School built “land yachts” as part of their study of Wind Power.  IMG_1226 IMG_1332 (3) Racing was the most fun !IMG_1341IMG_1330

Argonne elementary school studied buoyancy then put their knowledge to a test when they experimented with “ships” that supported the weight of light (they floated) and heavier (those ships sank) objects.
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Class discussions on buoyancy discussed terms like “positive”, “neutral” and “negative”.  Lots of help here from Archimides and Newton.IMG_1360Then came the testing.

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Set Sail Learn classes alternate interactive discussions and study in the activity center with sailing on Clipper Cove.IMG_2536-crBig smiles from “hands in” (the bay) study as well as “hands on” (the tiller) experience driving RS Ventures.IMG_3051 IMG_8537Discussing the history of the Bay is more fun when sailing ON the Bay with the huge cranes from Oakland in the background.
IMG_8552 IMG_8656As the Spring 2017 Set Sail Learn session comes to an end, the focus at TISC and on The Cove turns to our summer programs. Registration is still open for selected summer sessions.  Check out the schedule and register HERE. Fun times are ahead, and scholarships are available.

Regards from On the Cove, Dave G

In the wake:

You can check out the smiles from last summer’s programs HERE.

Or see more of the nearly 5,000 Set Sail Learn smiles in the posts below.

 

JYC Elementary Smiles Set SSL Milestone On Clipper Cove

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John Yehall Chin Elementary School Students Mark the 4,244 SSL Milestone at TISC

Combine wind, water, sailboats, hands, straws, paper, tape and life-savers with 33 John Yehall Chin Elementary School students.  Add seaweed, mix well. Check out the results – smiles, creative seaweed math, and a major SSL Milestone: the 4,244 4th grader on Clipper Cove.

The docks are out and the winds are cool on Clipper Cove these days. As we wind down a year filled with kids smiles and progress on preserving much of the Cove for future generations, we also wanted to share additional smiles and fun times that marked the seventh Set Sail Learn session since we first launched the pilot program for this unique STEM experiential learning program four years ago.

Designed to meet 4th grade California core standards, SSL is a one-day exploration trip incorporating curriculum-aligned science and math learning along with sailing on San Francisco Bay. Teachers can select lesson plans featuring Renewable Energy, Ecology of the Bay or Marine History.  The JYC day featured wind energy.

The activity center hosts half the kids for the morning session.  It combines a little bit of lecture, with most time spent on interactive discussion, design challenges and of course “finals”.img_7392

The challenge – build the fastest (or perhaps “stiffest” in sailing jargon) craft using only paper, life-savers, straws and tape.  A great time for thinking, creating, engineering and fun. img_3709-cr-cr

img_3707Unique wind cars waiting for the start of their first race.  And after the start.img_3728 img_3770

Some times the kids “crash and burn” in the activity center.  Not that different from learning life lessons (such as self confidence) in our summer session progression program.img_3735-cr img_3739-cr

Team work is stressed during the design build phase of the competition.  Another life skill also learned on the water as well.img_3701

stern horizontalSame goes for communications, goal setting and leadership – direct parallels between STEM lessons learned in the SSL activity center and life lessons learned on Clipper Cove.img_3716

water flyingimg_3742-crimg_1526-enWhile half the students are building wind cars, the other half head out to Clipper Cove. RS Venture sailboats are ideal for our “hands-on-the-bay” programs – stable, sporty and roomyimg_7599-crClipper Cove always serves up views, water and wildlife. Students, learn and experience directions, scale and mother nature.  Never sure who (or what) will swim past or fly by, but something will.img_7559 img_7456 img_7505

Smiles and “hands-in-the-water” experiences on Clipper Cove are the norm, if you’ve seen our previous SSL Blogs.  As a kid on the water, likely for the first time, how can that not be.img_7655img_7703 img_7479

This day, however, something new appeared on deck.  A “new math” based on seaweed. I didn’t have a chance to interview the creative team directly, so not sure the rules for this new system. Whatever they were, I did sense interest, attentiveness and focus.img_7509-cr

Other boats were also exploring this new math.img_7639img_7625

Here are a few more of the smiles that reflected off the Cove.img_7481

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And speaking of the cove, some

NASH BRIDGES, Cheech Marin, Don Johnson, Serena Scott Thomas, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Jamie Gomez, (Season 1), 1996-2001, © Rysher Entertainment

NASH BRIDGES, Cheech Marin, Don Johnson, Serena Scott Thomas, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Jamie Gomez, (Season 1), 1996-2001, © Rysher Entertainment

parents or grandparents may remember Nash Bridges – the detective show back in the day just before TISC was founded – mid-1990’s.  Remember these guys?

Even if you do, you may not have known their headquarters was atop the TI administration building. Overlooking both San Francisco Bay and Clipper Cove.img_7789

And what a view of the Cove !img_7740 img_7755-cr

pano-chen-img-7742At the conclusion of the Fall 2016 SSL session, 4,244 SFUSD students attended 161 Set Sail Learn classes at TISC on Clipper Cove. They represented  35 schools over the last four years. The grant received from St. Francis Sailing Foundation last fall was a game changer for TISC and SFUSD 4th graders. It officially launched the program; enabling the jump from pilot to a fully staffed program that delivers 50+ classes per year – at no charge to the schools.

The StFSF grant funds about half of the classes. TISC raises the other half through public and private grants along with individual donations.  Each SSL class costs approximately $1,500. If you are able and inclined to make an investment in the future of our children, please consider making a donation to the TISC annual fund – every donation helps no matter how much you are able to invest. If you act by December 31, 2016 your donations, up to $12,500, will be matched dollar for dollar. You can DONATE HERE.

Regards from On the cove,  Dave G

In the wake:

Thanks and a tip-of-the-hat to the parent who took the excellent photos of the “wind racers” in the activity center – much appreciated.

Also – if you are a parent, relative or teacher of a child in Jonathan Cheung’s class and would like to see more photos of their SSL day at TISC on Clipper Cove let us know and we’ll send you a password-protected link to high-res photos with more kids’ smiles. Email:   daveg (at) onclippercove (dot) com

TISC Marks Milestone: 3,566 4th Graders on Clipper Cove

Tenderloin Elementary Class Marks 3566 SSL Students at TISC-IMG_2949-cr

Tenderloin Elementary 4th Graders Mark 3,566 SSL Students at TISC Since 2013 Launch

Treasure Island Sailing Center’s STEM Program for San Francisco elementary students reached a major milestone in May: Over 3,500 Fourth Graders have now learned, explored and sailed on Clipper Cove. The St. Francis Sailing Foundation was a major donor.

IMG_2378-cr-enIn 2013 TISC launched the pilot for a unique, STEM-based (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) experiential learning program called Set Sail Learn.  This program, designed to meet 4th grade California core standards, is a one-day exploration trip incorporating curriculum-aligned science and math learning, together with sailing on San Francisco Bay.

Last October the St. Francis Sailing Foundation announced a partnership with TISC to continue the program, providing San Francisco fourth graders with the opportunity for STEM learning while opening the door to San Francisco Bay, sailing and environmental stewardship at no cost to the schools. This StFSF Fall 2015 grant was a major milestone in reaching our Spring 2016 milestone of 3,566 kids through the SSL Program.

While referred to as a “hand on” experience, Set Sail Learn is really a “hands-in” program as you can see from these photos of 4th graders from Tenderloin Elementary School.IMG_3051IMG_2818 IMG_2825 IMG_3027 IMG_3071 IMG_3157The sailing part of the program is what makes it unique.  And connects the kids to Mother Nature while establishing them as stewards of “their”  bay.  The action in and around the activity center, however,  is also a big part of the lessons. Because no chairs, plenty of physical activity and a highly interactive curriculum makes for fun, memorable learning.class IMG_2437

class IMG_2365 class IMG_2434-en-crclass IMG_2769

And the lab just outside the door to the activity center is like nothing most of the kids have ever seen or experienced. A true window onto life in, around and below the waters of San Francisco Bay.class IMG_2556

IMG_3173It’s no wonder this program has been a huge win for teachers –   –   -:

  • “Set Sail Learn engages the different learning modalities of the kids, visual, kinetic, song, dance and sailing.”
  • “I saw this program touch every part of each of my children. Thank you so much for allowing my native San Franciscans to really experience the Bay.”

IMG_2989–  –  –  and a favorite for kids:

  • “The best day of my life.”
  • “I got to steer the boat.”
  • “I’m crabby, day had to end.”

Another star of the program is Clipper Cove itself.  Same rule applies here as with all sailing on SF Bay: “you can never be sure what you’ll see, however you WILL see something swimming, floating or flying that’s a keeper for your memory banks”.IMG_2536-cr

Along with the fish and wildlife, Clipper Cove also serves up curiosity-building views of San Francisco, Yerba Buena Island (its long-time-ago name is HERE), and the new Bay Bridge super-structure.IMG_2940IMG_2440-cr IMG_2799

And boatloads of smiles are always present whenever kids are on Clipper Cove.
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IMG_2544-crOf course a bit of excitement aboard an RS Venture sailboat always goes a long way to score big with 4th graders.  In fact a number of SSL graduates have signed up for summer sailing lessons at TISC.  Interested?  You can find out more and register here.IMG_3191IMG_2968Set Sail Learn Session 5, Spring of 2016, is in the log books; our focus has now turned to summer programs.  Teachers interested in registering for the next SSL session can use this Fall 2016 SSL Registration Form.

I’ll wrap up this blog with a few statistics on our Set Sail Learn program and the number of Bay Area residents who sail, kayak and paddle board at TISC on Clipper Cove.

  • 3,566 elementary kids from 31 San Francisco public schools have attended 135 SSL classes since the program was launched in the Fall of 2013. These kids came from all 11 SF school districts.
  • Last year TISC served approximately 3,800 sailors, kayakers and paddlers.  Most from San Francisco, others from all parts of the Bay Area. All walks of life.  Nearly 15,000 over last 5 years.

Regards from On The Cove, Dave G

In the wake:

Here are links to previous Set Sail Learn blogs with more smiles from San Francisco Public School kids.

 

St. Francis Sailing Foundation Grant Launches Set Sail Learn

Which blog title better says “Thanks!” while delivering kids smiles:  “The best day of my life” or “Set Sail Learn – Investing in our Children”?  How to choose between two winning teams: Lawton Elementary School and St. Francis Sailing Foundation?

IMG_9401I decided to lead with a big THANK YOU to St. Francis, recap Media Day’s events along with Lawton smiles and end with a few stats on TISC’s banner year.  So cool all this took place right here on Clipper Cove.  Even cooler – today’s blog makes a nice 2015 wrap-up given Clipper Cove is where we started back in January (Clipper Cove – Our Platform for Smiles and Self-Confidence).

On October 15th Carolyn Patrick, President of the St. Francis Sailing Foundation, announced a significant grant that officially launches TISC’s Set Sail Learn program. This unique and innovative program, first piloted in 2013, serves up core-curriculum STEM classes along with “hands-in” sailing on Clipper Cove. And it will now continue thanks to STFSF.Speakers-Carolyn IMG_9507_resize

You can read more about this major grant, the largest in STFSF history here: Press Release STFSF Grant for Set Sail Learn.   Details on the Set Sail Learn Program are here: Set Sail Learn Media Day-Fact Sheet.

There were smiles all around when excited kids from Lawton Alternative School showed up for their day at TISC. As with all SSL classes at TISC the kids are split in the morning so half can focus on the curriculum and half can sail.  After lunch they switch.Smiles arriving IMG_9387-cr-resize

Lawton chose the Renewable Energy curriculum.  Whichever course of study is chosen the teacher receives a workbook for review prior to class arrival. All classes work in math and science.TISC Curriculum IMG_9347_resize workbook IMG_9554_resize

With plenty of time for interactive discussion.  So rewarding to see fourth graders so “into” our environment.class discussion IMG_9567_resize class overview IMG_9559_resize

Action highlight for this module is always the “windboat” races.  Teams of two design and build their craft.windboat building IMG_9624_resize windboat building IMG_9627_resize windboat building IMG_9630_resize

The races are the most fun . . .windboat racing IMG_9635_resize – – – and exciting !windboat racing IMG_9640_resize

More smiles as the kids prepare to leave the dock.  A majority of SSL students experience their first time on the water here at TISC on Clipper Cove.IMG_9426_resize IMG_9434_resize

Feeling the water as it passes by is always the sailing highlight.  All part of creating passionate stewards to help care for San Francisco Bay for decades to come. A true “hands-in” experience for 2,940 SFUSD fourth graders so far.hand 2 in water IMG_9593_resize hands 1 in water IMG_9622_resize hands 3 in water IMG_9612_resize

More smiles from kids sailing out on Clipper Cove. 110 SFUSD classes from 27 schools have participated in SSL to date.   IMG_9546_resize IMG_9574_resize

Other key speakers at SSL Media day included Carisa Harris-Adamson Chair of the TISC Board of Directors, V. Fei Tsen Chair of the Treasure Island Development Authority Board of Directors and Sean Svendsen Commodore of the St. Francis Yacht Club.  If only I had recorded the laughs and excited chatter from Clipper Cove that backstopped our dedication speakers. Speakers- Carisa IMG_9496_resize Speakers- V. Fei IMG_9502_resize Speakers-Sean IMG_9514_resize

We never know which guests will join SSL classes, however “someone” always does.  On this day the kids saw pelicans and gulls.visitors - pelican IMG_9377 visitors - pelican IMG_9604_resize

Our RS Ventures framed by Clipper Cove with San Francisco in the back ground make a nice segue into our banner year at TISC. Notice the many (do you see all ten) hands in Clipper Cove !Three RS V on Clipper Cove IMG_9473_resize RSV framed by SF IMG_9445_resize

Today’s many smiles added to our 2015 totals:

  • TISC awarded over $160,000 of scholarships to under-served Youth and Adaptive Sailors
  • Our team delivered over 25,000 hours of instruction spread over 2,300 class spaces.  The break-down of kids attending each segment of our programs was:
    • 1338  Set Sail Learn
    • 596    Group Orientations
    • 123    1 Week Summer Camp
    • 167    2 Week Summer Camp
    •  87     Adaptive Sailors

“The best day of my life” or “Set Sail Learn – Investing in our Children”?  Happiness is being able to have the flexibility and space to use both 🙂IMG_9645_resize SSL Banner IMG_9349_resize

Regards from On The Cove, Dave G

In the wake:

As we end 2015 our team is conducting a fund raising drive for 2016 scholarships. Here is the link, and we appreciate all donations no matter how small. Learn More or Donate Now.

Here are links to previous Set Sail Learn blogs with more smiles and lessons learned.

 

Gordon Lau Elementary Maps SF Bay History

Gordon J. Lau Elementary school fourth graders from Chinatown studied canoes, schooners and container ships at TISC on Monday. And mapped SF Bay mystery spots using compasses.  Hands-on-the-tiller of a real sailboat created big smiles – no surprise there.compass IMG_5037

smiles-MG_4952Last year eleven hundred fourth graders from SFUSD spent a Set Sail Learn (SSL) day at Treasure Island Sailing Center.  You may have read the stories from Francis Scott Key, Cleveland & Feinstein, and John Yehal Chin schools.  By the end of 2015, 3,000 students will have benefited from this unique experiential learning program, selecting a choice of three curriculums: Ecology of the Bay, Maritime History or Alternative Energy.BB tower-IMG_5049

Half the class spent the morning sailing on Clipper Cove in the shadow of the new Bay Bridge Eastern Span, the other half in our activity center.  After lunch, they switched. Teachers love the fact curriculum is provided in advance and each student is given their own workbook.

Those in the activity center studied boats of all sizes and learned how they fit into the Maritime History of San Francisco Bay.  Some were tiny, some huge. The container ships in Oakland appeared closer than they really were.

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tall-ship IMG_5058cont-IMG_4941Another topic – compass navigation. Students identified five “mystery spots” around the bay, always setting a course from Clipper Cove.  For example: Steer a course bearing 320 from Clipper Cove.  During the mid-1940’s, when America was involved in World War II against Japan, this was the place where many Japanese people were forced to stay.plotting IMG_5144

Wildlife abounded during the day. The Western Grebe welcomed the morning classes.  After lunch sea gulls were constant companions.  A seal was also reported.Grebe welcome IMG_4914 seagull-IMG_5111

boat-barge-IMG_4944The kids sailed past a barge bound from Pt. Richmond heading south and watched a trimaran sailing west into Clipper Cove anchorage. Full disclosure: not every future sailor was able to point to each of the five “mystery points” after the morning compass lesson, however 100% were excited to return to Clipper Cove. Our “no kid ever denied sailing lessons” philosophy encourages all SSL students to sign up for one of our summer sessions,boats-barge-IMG_4942 boat-trimaran-IMG_5095

crown princess-IMG_5081Views from all points of the compass opened up new vistas – majestic cranes, more container ships, San Francisco skyline and the shadowy details of the new Eastern Span of the Bay Bridge.  Those with sharp eyes were treated to a view of the Crown Princess in town for the day.cranes-IMG_5045 container-stern-IMG_4995

container ship-IMG_4948transamerica frames j24-IMG_4915IMG_5118Crown Princess IMG_5147Mentioned here last but always stressed first: SAFETY. Every student in each of the 64 SSL classes to-date has always been briefed on boating safety and equipped with a life jacket on the docks and in the boats. We use J/24 and RS Venture sailboats – safe and ideal for this program.safety IMG_4895 boat-j24-IMG_4920 boat-rsv-IMG_4981

TISC Launched SSL in 2013 with support from the America’s Cup Organizing Committee and Mayor Ed Lee’s office.  The program provides an experiential learning opportunity open to every fourth grader in the San Francisco Unified School District at no charge.  Our objective: open a door to the Bay and the world of sailing using hands-on lessons while teaching 4th grade core standards.

Based on the smiles we saw Monday the kids from Gordon Lau Elementary enjoyed the dose of STEM mixed with their hands-in (the water) experience.touch-IMG_4958smiles-IMG_5012smiles-IMG_5014 smiles-IMG_5087 smiles-IMG_5138 smiles-IMG_4954 smiles-IMG_4991Regards from On The Cove, Dave G

In the wake:

Hi-resolution downloads of the pictures above – and more – are available for sharing with school representatives and parents.  If interested please contact the TISC office.

By the way, thanks and a tip-of-the-cap to our excellent instructors who are vital to the success of the SSL program. inst-IMG_4985-cr

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