These days, when getting on a plane, I greet the people squished up next to me, but then get out a book and read. I can talk nonstop so this is really a test for me.
That said, one time last year I did speak with the woman next to me. It always gets out that I’m a teacher and thus I’m asked quite a few questions.
This mom talked about her third-grade son who is passionate about fishing. He fishes with his dad and literally it’s all he talks about and wants to do. When asked, she said this was more than a passing fancy but a life-long passion.
Basically, this mom didn’t know what to do with her non-soccer-playing son. “There is nothing for a kid who likes to fish.”
So I responded.
“Start a fishing club. It’s early December so spread the word and find three or four other kids who are interested in fishing.” I then continued.
1) Starting in January, have the club at your house the first Saturday of every month from 10:30-12 noon…at least in the winter months.
2) At the first meeting, have students make up a cool name for their group. “Fish Club” will not do it. Then, help them outline some things they want to do. Obviously it will be indoor things in the winter and actual fishing at other times. Have them decorate their “club house” area with fish nets.
Art: Have students design a fish t-shirt with their club name and an image they made. (Use help from an illustrator.) They could even sell fish-t-shirts (without the club name), start a business, and learn how to run it. They could also create a flag for their club logo.
Music: Yes, there are some great folk songs about fishing and the sea. If the students are musically talented, have them combine guitar, violin, hand drums, and keyboard for some great folk music and perform.
Food and Cooking: Club Snacks: Serve fish crackers. Club Lunch: Tuna salad with fish-shaped bread. (I used the recipe below all the time when my kids were young.)
Fish-Shaped (or any shape) Bread
- 2 pkgs (or 2 Tbs) yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cup warm water
- 4 cups flour
- 1 Tbs. sugar
- In a bowl, mix the yeast and water. Add sugar, salt and 1 cup or so of the flour. Knead the dough on the counter and add the rest of the flour bit by bit.
- Put a little bit of oil in the bowl and set the dough in it and cover with a cloth. Let it rise about 45 minutes in a warm place.
- Take the dough out of the bowl and punch it down. Divide the dough and have students shape their piece into different kinds of fish. Brush the tops with water and sprinkle with salt.
- Bake 425 for 12-15 minutes. Slice lengthwise and put in a bit of cheese to melt.
Cooking: Learn to cook fish in different ways: pan fry, breaded, grilled etc. Make fish chowder or make fish soup to give to a local soup kitchen if that’s allowed.
The World: Investigate fishing and “sustainability” with regard to feeding the world. (I put sustainability in quotes since the practice in reality doesn’t exist.) Watch the video “Cowspiracy.” Make a poster that explains why fish is better to eat than chicken or beef. What’s the difference between wild caught and farm-raised?
Native Americans: Investigate how they fish for salmon. Take a hike near a river in the fall to see salmon try to get back to where they were spawned.
Museums: Visit aquariums to investigate marine life. Understand bi-catch and how it relates to saving sea turtles, for example. Volunteer at a museum.
Safety: Take a Coast Guard course (or study two survival skills chapters in my book Exploring the U.S. Life-Saving Service) to learn about boat safety and outdoor adventure survival skills. Learn to use a compass.
History: Compare fishing on sailing ships in the 1800s to fishing today. Examine shipwrecks.
Reading: Read a true story that involves fishing at each meeting.
Writing: Collect fishing jokes. Have each student write about a funny or interesting incident that happened to him/her. Make a club newsletter that goes out one time a year or design a web page.
I think I ran out of ideas at this point.
At first, the mom next to me had her mouth hanging open, but then she started writing things down. (This is what people get when they sit next to me on a plane.)
I do hope she really did start a fishing club for her son. Kids’ interests often change. Fishing today; Egyptian archeology tomorrow. The joy is just watching them follow their interests.