October 13, 2010, was the first day of lighthouse visits for students from New London Public School's SEMI (School Enrichment Model Initiative) classes—launching an exciting, new, three-year program/partnership between the pubic schools and the New London Maritime Society. This year, eighty students in grade 4 and grade 5, who have met or exceeded grade level expectations, will be exposed to enrichment programs in the sciences dealing with inner space (oceans) and outer space. These ‘Lighthouse Kids’ will learn their science lessons by visiting with instructors from the Custom House every month.
In October, students visited New London Harbor Light, learning about sound and light waves, weather and geology through discussions about lighthouse design, the Thames River harbor and New London maritime history.
In November, the students came to the Custom House Maritime Museum. They examined a deep-sea diving suit, tools for sailors and aids to navigation—and in the process came to understand the Core Curriculum lesson of how man makes tools to better one's life.
In December, teachers from the Custom House will go into the classrooms. Future subjects will include Stonington's Captain Nathaniel Palmer, the Amistad incident; the ‘Awesome Oyster’—including the bivalve’s history, habitat & culture; nautical knots, and studies of other shoreline flora and fauna. Every lesson will use elements of maritime studies to illustrate a principle of science.
Guests at the October 13 conveyance ceremony included last year's SEMI prize-winners from Nathan Hale (now attending Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School last year's SEMI students are shown at right.) They made a gift to the light on October 24.
Click on the image, above, to see The Day's panorama from atop the lighthouse lantern.
Below right: Nathan Hale SEMI Grade 4 discovers refracted light
Nathan Hale 4th-grade SEMI students discover light refracted through the lighthouse's Fresnel lens (shown below).
Monday, October 24, 2011, saw the year's first Lighthouse Kids visiting New London Harbor Light. Lighthouse Kids is an exciting partnership where the New London Maritime Society provides year-long enrichment experiences for New London Public School's SEMI (School Enrichment Model Initiative) students--the students in each class who meet or exceed grade-level expectations--in the City's ten 4th grade and ten 5th-grade classes.
Today these students learned about New London's Thames River harbor, aids to navigation, area lighthouses, Fresnel lenses & fog horns, and then they got to climb up to the lighthouse lantern! (See photos below.)
Meanwhile, earlier this fall super SEMI instructor Jody Barthel visited with Jill Paciorek and the Fishers Island School 4th & 5th-graders to plan for these students to join the program (right).
See what more photos of what happened in 2010-2011, the first year of Lighthouse Kids -- Click >>> HERE.
11.24.11 Nathan Hale and Harbor Schools' 4th graders visit the lighthouse lantern (above). Winthrop's 4th grade is below.
10.25.11 The 5th grades visit the Custom House Maritime Museum, learning about whaling and the Amistad. Winthrop visits below.
10.28.11 Jenning's 4th grade Lighthouse Kids discover refracted rainbows in the lighthouse lantern.
10.31.11 HALLOWEEN - Nathan Hale's 5th-grade Lighthouse Kids came to the Custom House and visited the 1812 privateer LYNX.
Jenning's 5th-grade Lighthouse Kids visited the Custom House on Friday, November 4.
On November 11, 2011, four Lighthouse Kids-with-a-parent atended our One Big Table dinner with food writer Molly O'Neill.
Students were asked to research a home recipe drawn from their ethnic heritage and present it on a board with a written description, recipe & picture. Four students were selected at attend the dinner, on the basis of their work. The winners are Xavier Garcia- Jennings Gr.4 with grandfather John; Lucy Driscoll Harbor Gr. 5 with dad Jeremy; Tahjee Galberth Harbor Gr. 5 with mom Juanita Owens; and Milan Patel Harbor Gr.5 with mom. The Lighthouse Kids program wiht Molly O'Neill was sponsored by the Connecticut Humanities Council and the dinner participation sponsored by Sound Insurance Services. See the pictures, below.
December 2011 - In December, Harbor School Lighthouse Kids got together with the Fishers Island Lighthouse Kids for a field trip to the Fort Trumbull Museum.
After visiting the Fort, the Harbor School students walked back to their classroom. David & Ian got to visit New London Harbor Light, followed by luch at Captain's Pizza!
In March, 2012, Lighthouse Kids got to learn about sea work songs-or sea shanties-with singer Geoff Kauffman.
Below, fifth-grade students from Nathan Hale work with Geoff to learn shanties and songs about ecology and the environment.
In May, 2012, we started afterschool classes on maritime history with sea shanty chorus practice. Twenty six (of 100 Lighthouse Kids) participated in the program, held once a week.at the Custom House Maritime Museum. Students learned about maritime alphabet flags, more about knots, got to sing, and also had snacks
The Chorus had its first performance at the Hope Week festivities on the Parade Plaza, May 19.
Towards the end of the school year, each school's Lighthouse Kids traveled to Stonington. There they visited the house built by Captain Nathaniel Palmer, walked the .9 miles into the Burough, visited NESS -- New England Science & Sailing, where they manned small boats in Stonington Harbor to take slgae samoles, which they later examined in the labs.
2010-2011 School Year
The New London Maritime Society's Lighthouse Kids partnership with the New London Public Schools started in October, 2010, on the same day the Society took ownership of New London Harbor Light. The intent of the program is both to provide enrichment and to teach science and math to students through local history lessons and experiences.
In addition to the monthly Lighthouse Kids classes during the school day, in May we started an afterschool history class & chrus practice that meet weekly thgouth the end of the school year.
The Lighthouse Kids Sea Shanty Chorus performed for Hope Week, at Mystic Seaport's Sea Music Festival, at Fort Trumbull for Connecticut Open House Day, and at Fish Tales, Tugs & Sails.
We also invited the Lighthouse Kids out to tour Ledge Light as a part of the first 2012 Sentinels on the SOund - New London Lighthose Heritage Weekend.
7.17.12 The sad news today is that we learned the our Lighthouse Kids partnership with the New London Public Schools will not continue in the coming year, due to flat funding of the school budget.