Anacostia River Mussel Power: Mussel Poems!

Anacostia River Mussel Power: Mussel Poems!
February 19, 2019 by: Maddie Koenig

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If you've been following our series of Anacostia River Mussel Power blog posts, then you are aware that we are engaging K-12 students in our mussel restoration work!  At seven different schools across the watershed, students are actively caring for and monitoring the growth of twenty juvenile mussels.  These mussels were brought to classrooms by AWS educators, who provided students with an introduction to freshwater mussels and the Anacostia River.  Our educators also provided teachers with suggestions and ideas for student involvement with the mussels; however, the depth of student involvement in the classroom ultimately falls to the students' classroom teacher. 

We were delighted when Jon Leavitt, a 2nd grade teacher at School-Within-School @ Goding (DCPS), shared with us that he was engaging his English Language Arts students.  Most of our education programs have been designed to correspond to national science standards at various grade levels (the Mussel Power program is aligned to 5th grade NGSS standards), so it was really a wonderful surprise to learn about a teacher's efforts to engage his students in new and creative ways beyond "just science".

Over the past few months, Jon's 2nd grade students have observed the mussels in their classroom and done research to further their knowledge on the subject. They've been exploring animal life in the Anacostia River and learning more about the habits and life cycles of freshwater mussels.  Check out their word wall below; as well as this neat photo of their tank that shows mussel "tracks" (the mussels are buried below the surface of the sand)!

1.2019 SWS mussel word wallmussel tracks in the sand

They've also been studying both poetry and non-fiction writing.   Combining all of this into one project, Jon's students have created non-fiction poetry about freshwater mussels!  The final drafts of the poems and accompanying artwork that you can view below are OUTSTANDING.  We are so proud of the work Jon and his 2nd graders have accomplished and hope it inspires other educators and students around the region!  We are also grateful that Jon has shared his students' work with us, making it possible for us to share with you!!  

Please enjoy and join us in congratulating SWS 2nd graders on their hard work!  

Maddie Koenig

Maddie Koenig

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