Between the Lines

June, 2013

More than 32 Boston Public Schools and 2,866 students have visited the island this spring as part of our Connections program. The impact of this program can be measured in many ways, but this month we provide special insight through the words of the boys and girls themselves. I’ve asked Communications Manager, Jaclyn Parks, to be the guest blogger and highlight some of what the Connections students have written about their experiences on Thompson Island. – Paul Lamoureux, Vice President Programs

Between the Lines
by Jaclyn Parks, Communications Manager

“When we were testing the water in the hydrometer and looking at different animals in the water, I was learning and having a good time, at the same time.” Alexus, Boston Teachers Union (BTU) Pilot School

This week we received an inspiring package of student thank you letters from the BTU Pilot School located in Jamaica Plain, who came to the island for a Harbor Connections experience. Every child’s letter paints a picture of their unique hands-on learning activities and its lasting impact. We thought, what better way to help you visualize a Harbor Connections program than through the words of the students who were in the field, getting dirty, exploring science and nature all while having fun?

The quotes below are from BTU Pilot School 5th grade students, however, the pictures are a combination of the 32 different schools we have served thus far this year.

A typical Harbor Connections expedition goes a little something like this…

Thompson Island instructors visit the school’s classroom to collaborate with the teachers and engage the students with the vocabulary, scientific instruments and outdoor environments they will experience.

After an exhilarating 20 minute boat ride, students arrive on our Island Classroom to participate in the Connections program. Connections integrates Massachusetts curriculum frameworks into hands-on field experiences for students in order to make learning fun, memorable and impactful.

Traveling around the island and experiencing many ecosystems connects children to nature and helps them grow an appreciation for the natural world.

At the end of their excursion, many students declare they never want to leave! They treasure their new memories and are thankful for the Thompson Island Outward Bound instructors and National Park Service rangers who have taught them so much. Both at home and in school they excitedly share their new wealth of information.

We would like to tip our hat to BTU Pilot School teachers Betsy Drinan and Erica Welch for having their students write the letters as a way to extend the learning experience as well as inspire our instructors and rangers to see up close and personal the impact of Boston’s Island Classroom.

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