Students in Judy Haskin’s kindergarten class at Fletcher Elementary School had an opportunity to explore the wonders of marine wildlife.
On Tuesday, families came to watch their students participate in an ocean-themed event in a culmination of the class’ language arts unit, entitled “Under the Sea.”
According to Haskin, the unit was utilized as a component of the new Common Core Learning Standards, which requires the implementation of more nonfiction reading material in the classroom. She said “Under the Sea” has been used by Jamestown Public Schools as the final unit for its kindergarten language arts program in previous years.
“This was a perfect opportunity, when they’re really excited about it, to bring in that nonfiction text,” she said. “One of the trends of the Common Core is to have (students) start learning some of those scientific words and that more involved language.”
The unit provided students with knowledge of a variety of different marine wildlife species, including: jellyfish, seahorses, crabs, octopuses, orca whales and sea turtles. In conjunction with their lessons on the species, the students then created art projects specific to each sea creature as they learned about them. During their “center time,” essentially a free period, Haskin said the students used a variety of art techniques such as sponge painting and marble painting to create imitations of the sea creatures-which then went on to serve as decorations for Haskin’s classroom and Fletcher’s kindergarten wing.
For the family event, the classroom was decorated to appear as an underwater environment, featuring the artwork created by the students throughout the unit. The students then sang a number of songs for their parents, finishing off the show with an instrumental accompaniment to the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine.”
“I think it’s important to have the parents, grandparents and siblings come into the classroom to see what’s going on, and to share in the learning, too,” said Haskin. “And (the students) did learn a lot, more than I would have expected. It was great.”