Meet Rej a Salmon Institute teacher!
The 2015-2016 school year brings continued expansion of watersheds education for my 4th grade students at Hesperian Elementary. Hesperian Elementary is a designated Title I school in the San Lorenzo Unified School District. More than 85% of our students are eligible for free/reduced lunch. My students are culturally rich and have primary languages such as Spanish, Vietnamese, Tagalog, and Russian.
2013-2014 marked the beginning of my integration of watershed education with the introduction of the Trout In The Classroom project. The Mission Peak Fly Fishing Club supported us with high quality presentations on watersheds and trout life. East Bay Regional Parks’ Mobile Classroom added to our learning and allowed us to share a little of our TIC experience with the rest of our school. EBRP brought their mobile aquarium to our campus and led grade-level activities and presentations for a school-wide learning opportunity.
2014-2015 included our TIC, Mission Peak Fly Fishers, and EBRP involvement from 2013-14. I took part in the Salmon Institute, offered by SPAWN and quickly expanded the depth and breadth of our watershed experience. I engaged my students in the Winged Ambassador – Cordell Bank unit offered by Oikonos.org (I adapted for 4th grade). I also engaged my students with a webquest I adapted from Karen Staffen (http://zunal.com/webquest.php?w=86211). This became a part of a culminating, end-of-year research/presentation project that integrated our learning in collaboration, technology, research, watersheds, trout, and presentation design and delivery.
2015-2016 ushers in a new level of expansion in our watershed education experience, and SPAWN will be an integral part of what we do. I’ll refine and replicate what I offered in 2014-15 and will include a Lagunitas to San Lorenzo watershed experience. I plan to engage SPAWN in expanding my students’ classroom learning through an excursion to the Lagunitas watershed for hands-on learning experiences. I’ll seek SPAWN’s support in creating a watershed experience near our school in San Lorenzo where I plan to engage my students in water and habitat analysis, culminating in an ongoing stewardship program of that watershed.
Our students at Hesperian Elementary are culturally rich and primarily experience their world through an urban environment. Our community is on the edge of San Francisco Bay marshland and coastal watersheds that are traditionally omitted from their educational experience. Our local watersheds have immense historical and current significance. My charge as a teacher, dedicated to social and environmental justice, is to include the richness of our local, natural environment and to build understanding, respect, and activism within my students.
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