Our Teaching Tidepools® program is in full swing for the 2014 school year and 5 classes in Reedley recently made for a big day for both our educators and animals.
Visiting this city of 25,000 about 30 minutes southeast of Fresno for the afterschool program at Washington Elementary, our traveling tide pool wowed students from preschoolers to 5th graders as many were introduced to ocean animals from the California coast for the very first time.
When the 2nd graders were asked if they had ever visited a real tide pool, only two hands out of eighteen went up. When asked who had ever been out of Reedley, about half raised their hands and mentioned Fresno shopping trips as the most common answer.
Many students reported that they had visited the beach, but when asked for specifics, they admitted to only visiting Reedley Beach on the Kings River. While it is certainly a connection to a natural waterway, such visits don’t necessarily come with any sort of contextual information. None of the students could name the San Joaquin Valley as their home, let alone its namesake the San Joaquin River – California’s second-longest river.
The 5th graders had a good grasp of the water cycle, which is a requirement of 5th grade standards for the last time this school year. In the 2014/15 school year, curriculum pertaining to the water cycle moves to 6th grade (Middle School) as a result of the implementation of the new Common Core standards in California.