Some Kindergarten students at Theodore Jones Elementary School end the year with a day they'll never forget.
Teacher Nathan Howse took his whole class on a fishing trip last week.
Howse,an outdoorsman and nature lover, says he started this tradition seven years ago when he discovered that many of his students had never experienced one of life's simple childhood pleasures.
"Our class was reading a book about frogs and tadpoles and I asked the students how many of them have ever seen tadpoles or frogs, and many said they had not," said Howse. "I asked how many students had been fishing; several students said they had not. I started looking at our curriculum and I quickly realized that I could include a ton of standards, ranging from writing to math into a fishing trip. I am a firm believer that learning should not be limited to our classroom."
Howse and his students walk from Theodore Jones to nearby Courtway Middle School for their annual Fishing Trip.
He says the students always feel like they are going on an outdoor expedition.
"The candid conversations the day of the fishing trip are phenomenal. The trip is always towards the end of the year so we get to experience a solid years’ worth of friendships in the purest form."
"Every year the first fish caught receives roaring cheers from the other kiddos. We have caught catfish, bream, bass, and even a plastic bag! For seven years straight, any student who has wanted to catch a fish has caught one."
The kids are also treated to a "happy meal/kids meal" lunch, thanks to one of Howse's personal friends. He heard about the trip and wanted to make the day even more special for the kids, so his company has donated lunch for the kids every year.
After spending the morning fishing, the class spends the entire afternoon doing follow up work from the trip. They compile all the data from the trip (how many fish caught, who caught the most, length of the biggest fish compared to the smallest fish, which bait caught the most fish, etc.) and they turn a lot of the data into easy to read charts and graphs. The students write in their journals their opinions of the fishing trip.
Howse says the students write ferociously about all they experienced that day. It is their best journal writing of the year.
"You can literally see the students smile as they write about catching that fish. I have had students who struggled with writing and sitting still in the classroom who excel on this fishing trip and even ask for more time on their writing because they wanted to add more details about their fish. Students become learning sponges and they absorb everything, because they think we are just fishing."
"On the last day of school I ask all of my students to describe their favorite memory of Kindergarten. 9 times out of 10 they mention the fishing trip. Parents have also fallen in love with this magical trip. I have several dads that have continued to help even after their kids have left my class. Our principal’s dad has attended every trip, playing a vital role in assisting the students crossing the street and baiting hooks. Other people have offered to help financially and with their time. It is a phenomenal day!"
Conway Public Schools News
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