SSLearn is in full swing at TICS. Spring classes started in April and continue through May. Fourth graders from Cleveland School and Dianne Feinstein School each spent a day at Treasure Island Sailing Center recently. Experiential learning looks like fun!
Thanks to the San Francisco America’s Cup Organizing Committee and Citry of San Francisco’s ONESF:Celebrate the Cup program every fourth grader in San Francisco will be able to spend a day on the bay learning about the ecology of the bay and Dungeness crabs, San Francisco maritime history, or renewable energy. And go for a sail at Treasure Island Sailing Center on Clipper Cove!
What makes TISC’s SSLearn experiential learning program unique is the curriculum and how it’s delivered. Each day is split into two parts: inside and outside hands-on activities sharing ideas, learning about bay creatures and history, and reinforcing what’s been learned through open discussion; and time in a sailboat driving, touching the water, grabbing seaweed, and experiencing the effects of wind, tide, currents.
San Francisco Unified School District 4th grade classes are split into two groups for their SSLearn day at TISC. While 15 kids pilot RS Venture sailboats the other group learns about crabs, ecology, math and the environment through open discussions. After lunch they switch.
Our activity center is for learning and exploring; we never refer to it as a classroom. No chairs – sometimes the kids stand for open discussion, other times they’re on the floor listening to group presentations.
Playing “The Oh Crab Population Game” provides a chance for outside “energy burn” while gathering statistics which the kids graph, analyze and discuss. Our ecology curriculum teaches kids about what’s needed to survive, like oxygen, food and shelter.
Kids line up representing either the environment or crabs. With backs turned (OK, some prefer to “peek”) each decides on oxygen (holding nose), food (hands on stomachs) or shelter (hands over heads). A match means more crabs – population increases. If what the crabs decide they need is not available in the environment crabs die and their population decreases.
Each student receives a workbook they fill out and take home with them for post-trip study. Other land-based lessons include, crab finding, compass study, and discussions about rising or falling tides. Our SSL curriculum meets California State Standards; the lesson plans identify how the materials support reading, writing, math, graphing skills, and communication to name a few.
We keep the activity center stocked with pictures and posters from sailing on and around the bay. Reference materials and “eyes on” equipment are also readily available.
Students get to experience the wind and water while in sailboats on Clipper Cove. Some get to steer the boat if they want to. Notice the break in the eastern span of the old Bay Bridge.
While taking pictures I always challenge them with questions about the wind and compass directions -“Point toward Ohio”, or “Which way is West”? By the way, the Golden Gate Bridge is almost perfectly aligned north/ south, and can be seen from most points on Clipper Cove.
When asked “what was your favorite part of the sail?” one student answered “I put my feet in the water.” Others were excited to find “mermaid hair” on the cove and by the dock.
My favorite pictures from these SSL days are the kids smiles – whether on or off the water. Can never be too many of them!
These classes are provided at no charge to SFUSD fourth graders. Bus transportation to/from Treasure Island Sailing Center is also included.
Regards from On Clipper Cove, D-
In the wake:
You can read another post about the John Yehall Chin Elementary School fourth grade kids who attended an SS Learn class at TISC last fall.
Go to the registration page to sign up for the few remaining Spring Classes. If you have questions about the SS LEARN program or would like to register for the Fall 2014 session send an email to email@example.com.
You can also download a brochure with more information about SS Learn at TISC.