"Put me back in water. I am Paddle to the Sea." These words are the start of a great adventure written by Holling Clancy Holling in the classic tale, "Paddle-to-the-Sea."
In "Paddle-to-the-Sea," a young American Indian boy carves a small wooden canoe complete with a paddler.
On the bottom are engraved the words, "Put me back in water. I am Paddle to the Sea."
The second-grade students in Stacie Lakatos’ Read-Aloud class at West Branch School recently read the Holling Clancy Holling book, “Paddle-to-the-Sea.” While reading Holling’s story, the students decided they would like to craft a small wooden canoe like the character in the book. When the students’ research was complete and Paddle was ready to go, the students traveled to the Greevy Boat Launch in Loyalsock Township and released him, Lakatos said.
The boy, who lives in Canada, north of Lake Superior, sets the canoe free on a journey to the sea through the Great Lakes, up the St. Lawrence River to the St. Lawrence Gulf, and on to the Atlantic Ocean.
This Paddle-to-the-Sea, as he is named, undergoes great adventures on his journey, which lasts four years.
The second-grade students in Stacie Lakatos' Read-Aloud class at West Branch School know how to bring a book to life.
While reading Holling's story, the students in Lakatos' class decided they would like to craft a small wooden canoe like the character in the book.
"My students wanted to create their own Paddle to set out on a journey to the sea. They were thrilled to learn that the Susquehanna River leads right to the Chesapeake Bay," Lakatos said. "We researched the river, tracing its path on maps. We learned about the various dams in the river and its entry into the Bay.
"One of the students' father created the small wooden boat for us. The students painted and varnished it. We had a plaque engraved with our school name and contact information, and dated it 2010," Lakatos said.
"I created an e-mail account for our Paddle-to-the-Sea and included that e-mail address on the plaque. If anyone discovers Paddle, we hope they will e-mail us and notify us of Paddle's location. We also hope they return him to water to continue his journey."
When the students' research was complete and Paddle was ready to go, the second-grade students traveled to the Greevy Boat Launch in Loyalsock Township and released him, Lakatos said. The students stood on the shore waving and watched Paddle float out of sight on his journey to the sea.
Holling's story provides a rich literary experience with the author's language, syntax and vocabulary, as well as his extensive use of simile, metaphor and symbolism. The book provides opportunities for learning in other areas, as well.
"We refer to a map constantly throughout the story to identify Paddle's location and to learn the geography of the area," Lakatos said. "We also keep a laptop on hand to access the Internet to extend our learning while we read. This story is engaging and exciting in its own right. We extend the learning by using other resources."
"Making learning meaningful is what we are all about," Lakatos said. "Bringing a book to life makes reading even more meaningful and memorable. Children love to learn!"