Whether I travel far or near, my students are in my mind wherever I go. Because my husband is a professor and he gets to go to conferences sometimes, I have gotten to take a few fun trips. I have also gotten to go to some fun places with my family in the past 5 years, as my kids have become adults. I have been able to bring a few things back to make some connections to our learning. No matter what kind of teacher you are, you can use your travels to make some wonderful connections and help bring the learning to life.
A few years ago, I, my husband, daughter and youngest son got an opportunity to visit South Florida because my son had spent two years there and wanted to show us around. I loved the relaxing sounds and feel of the beach, especially early in the morning. I loved picking up the shells and saved many for my kindergarteners.
In kindergarten, we sing a song called, “Seashells”. It is how we begin thinking of high and low and steady beat. We go on a “trip” to the beach by saying the Rhyme, “Engine, Engine, Number Nine” as we beat the steady beat on our laps. We do vocal play as we pretend to be dolphins or whales at the beach, making our voices match our hands as we go up and down. We pick up shells on the beat, high and low as our voices go high and low. We eventually make our bodies go high and low. I am amazed at how the kids really can hear the high and low and they discover whether their bodies should be up or down. Kids do solos using tiny shells to pick them up on the beat as they sing. When every student has done a solo with the shells, I give each one of them a shell that I picked up on the beach in Florida to take home. During this process, I show them my beach picture of me picking up the shells, and seeing a dead whale on the beach. I also let them see my huge conch shell and “listen” to the ocean. For many of them, this is new and many in my low income title one school have never been to a beach. The fact that I picked it up for them and they can see the pictures of me on the beach makes the learning come to life and is so magical to them. We use this song in first grade as we make our beat books. Get my free beat book for “Engine Engine” here.
A Dead Whale we saw on the beach