Every school year I visit local schools in my area to talk about lighthouses. Most are elementary level, and second grade is popular, primarily because Keep the Lights Burning Abbie is a second grade level book. Nothing is more fun than a group of exuberant second graders learning about lighthouses!
I enjoy the school visits for many reasons---I once taught elementary school and miss hanging out with the youngsters, I'm the education guru on the board of the U.S. Lighthouse Society and education chair for the American Lighthouse Council, I know that the citizenship attitudes needed for tomorrow's lighthouse preservationists start young, and kids need to rub elbows with passionate people. I tell them everyone needs a passion in life, something to get excited about, learn about, share with others, and work to save and appreciate. They quickly see that for me it's lighthouses.
I visited Wolfe Elementary School in Kingston, Washington last Thursday for a day of fun with the second grades. We met in the library and shared a PowerPoint about lighthouses, learning that they are all different shapes, sizes, and colors and that they stand watch all around the globe. Then I headed to each classroom and helped the students build their own paper cup lighthouses. (You can find my video on You Tube about making the lighthouses here:
We learned all about lighthouse signals too, including optics and the daymarks lighthouses wear to differentiate themselves during the day. One class lined up their lighthouses on a windowsill (photo above). To quote their teacher, Mrs. Johnson: "This was such a fun activity, and they're adorable!" (Both the lighthouses and their builders, I think!)
Adorable, yes!....but even more, the fun experience of learning about lighthouses and building them was cemented in the kids' minds in a place I call the "Fun Center." With luck, that experience will remain with them for years, and they'll recall it whenever they see a lighthouse or an image of one, and as adults they'll want to visit lighthouses and take their kids to them. With even more luck, they'll someday join in the effort to save lighthouses. We always remember with pleasure the fun times in life. I know these kids will remember their day with me and the fun they had building their own lighthouses.
Here are a few more images from Wolfe Elementary--
These two second graders teamed up to build Abbie Burgess' twin lights at Matinicus Rock, Maine. They were quite creative in their method of joining the towers together. Abbie would be proud!
Here's a pleased, excited lighthouse builder!
Her lighthouse is finished. Now to make the island for the lighthouse!
She needed to glue the cupola on the lantern room! All the students loved the new word "cupola!"
He worked hard on the daymark so ships can see his lighthouse during the day!
Hey Mrs. DeWire, how does this look?
As always, I learn things from the students when I visit schools. Wolfe Elementary has a "quiet" hand sign--important when kids are gathered in large groups having fun. I saw the students making this sign to alert each other about being quiet--
They were quiet wolves from Wolfe Elementary, on the hunt for lighthouses!