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Tools for Sailors - Ahoy, Mate!

School: Capital City Public Charter School

City/State: Washington, DC

Grade(s): 2

Format(s): Children's book

Subject(s): English Language Arts, Science and Technology, Visual Arts

Project Overview

This book was created by 2nd grade students from the Capital City Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. As part of a larger Learning Expedition on sailing, students researched the tools sailors use, such as navigation equipment, the Beaufort Scale, knots, and the signal system of flags used on the high seas. As part of an expedition that included fieldwork with local experts and actual experience sailing, students created a handbook of sailing for young readers.

Ahoy, Mate! has several parts, each of which covers the above topics and varyingly includes hand-drawn illustrations, digital photographs and student-written text. The book begins with an in-depth look at navigational tools used by sailors: each entry contains a colored-pencil illustration with accompanying text. The second section shows student learning about wind tools – different means for measuring wind speed – and also includes writing and drawings about each item. Students explain the Beaufort Scale next. In the final sections students, though a combination of drawings, writing and digital photographs, students describe knots and knot tying and the international system of flag signaling used by sailors.

During this project, students also learned how to tie knots related to sailing; the digital photographs show students from this class demonstrating their ability to tie these knots.

How This Project Can Be Useful

  • Strikes a good balance between professional formatting and student-style artwork
  • Effectively incorporates drawings, writing, and photographs
  • Shows students actively displaying content knowledge – digital photos of students tying knots and displaying the flag signals
  • The overall format is charming and pleasing to view, due to layout, student-style illustrations and binding choice
  • Clever binding that continues the theme of the product (not shown in the digital image): a piece of rope threaded through holes along the binding
  • Some examples of strong illustration and writing. See drawings of a Sounding Line (page 4) and Beaufort Scale Force 11 (page 30)

Common Core State Standards

Standard Long Term Learning Target
  • I can explain how images help a reader make meaning from informational texts. (e.g., a diagram showing how a machine works)
  • I can participate in shared research projects.
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