Guide on the Side

Thinking about being a “guide on the side,” what was a success, challenge and what might it mean for future lessons?

I have just completed my first solo-week of teaching here at IslandWood. I will admit that, as a newbie, I was primarily caught up in logistical matters and concerned about cooperative discipline throughout much of the week. That said, I witnessed a few moments where I felt the lesson was being further instigated by the students themselves!

While at Blakely Harbor, I presented Team Pond with an opportunity to write their very own perspective story.  I had allowed for 15 minutes of exploration time at the beach in the beginning, and during which time the kids had made their very own crabitat.  I hadn’t planned on a crabitat lesson, but here it was in the form of a circular depression made in the sand, complete with a bottle cap full of water, some seaweed, and a few decorative feathers.

After the 15 minutes were up I gave them the prompt to write a story from the perspective of a crab. They were instantly attracted to this form of imaginative thinking.  I hadn’t seen them so focused until then! I prompted them further with questions like, what are some of the characters in your crab’s story? How does your crab feel about humans? One kid likened us to “titans,” I asked why, and he said well just imagine how big we are to those crabs!  If I noticed a student finishing up the story I gave them some markers to illustrate their crab story.

Overall, I believe the crab perspective story that I presented encouraged them to use some emphathy that they had already gathered from their experiences with their crabitat and to think about the environmental factors that affect crabs. As I listened to the stories I was very impressed by how creative the students got, and how willing they were to share and listen to one another.  I will definitely use the power of perspective in other lessons, as I believe kids really enjoy having an opportunity to use creative writing and science together.


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