Miltona Elementary

by Kathy Beaulieu and Amy Revering

April 2008

student ice fishing Elementary school student fishing on Lake Minnewaska. photo by Tim Douglass, Pope Co. Tribune Publisher

In December, I traveled to Miltona Elementary to give a training workshop. Since some of the teachers hadn’t done much fishing on the ice before, we took some time to head out on the lake and try our hand. Although some caught fish right away, the teachers stood in solidarity until each one had caught at least one fish! I interviewed teacher Amy Revering, to see what they had been up to since that cold day.

How did you hear about the MinnAqua Program? What made you want to attend a training workshop for the MinnAqua Fishing: Get in the Habitat! Leaders Guide?

I attended the MAEE conference in Alexandria last fall, and I went to this break out session with Roland Sigurdson. I was extremely excited about it and brought the ideas back to my staff. We decided this would lend itself perfectly to our magnet and could possibly turn into a Peer Teaching day out at Miltona.

You scheduled a training workshop for December of 2007 at your school. Tell us a little about your school and the teachers that attended the workshop.

We are a Science Magnet School with a focus on the Environment. Our staff at Miltona still teaches the objectives that all district 206 schools teach, however, we use Environment-Based Education. We integrate environmental studies into our core subject areas for hands-on learning opportunities. Students become aware of their impact on the environment and are challenged to rethink decisions about their world. The teachers that took the training were K-5 teachers along with our school naturalist. We are all dedicated to our magnet and love to learn about the environment ourselves so we can bring this knowledge back to school and share it with our students!

At our lunch break during the workshop, you showed a video of your school on the local news station. I remember something about teachers sledding in their shorts?

This was actually for a school fundraiser. Our 4-6 grade students built an ice-fishing house. If they sold all 1,500 raffle tickets, the incentive was that the teachers would sled down hill in their summer clothing!

What did you like about the training workshop? How did you use the information?

I loved having the opportunity to try the activities myself. We teach through hands-on learning, so the training workshop lent itself to our teaching strategies!

  • We will be having a Peer teaching day for our District. Our 4/5 multi-age class will become experts in the MinnAqua lessons and will then teach to other 4 or 5 grade classes across the district.
  • We hosted a “Fishing Fun for Everyone” day at our school. Local communities were invited to bring their children to our school. They learned how to tie fishing knots, made their own jiggle sticks, learned about ice fishing safety, and participated in fish identification activities. They wrapped up the day by getting bussed out to Lake Miltona for ice fishing! We had over 250 participants.
  • We also integrate many of the lessons into our science curriculum. We are trying to use the lessons to fill some of the gaps in our District curriculum to align it with the State Standards.

How will your school be using the MinnAqua Fishing: Get in the Habitat! Leaders Guide in the future?

Because of the overwhelming response to our “Fishing Fun for Everyone” day, we plan to do this year after year, but with changes every year to keep people coming. Although we have not done the Peer Teaching day yet, we are hoping this will be a success as well, and will be able to offer this to 4th or 5th grade classes yearly.

Now that you have had an experience using the guide, is there any additional training that the MinnAqua Program could provide?

Our staff loved the training and we love the Leaders Guide! I guess our only additional training that we could ask for at this time is for you to teach us any additional lessons that you create. We are also trying to find ways to adapt the lessons for younger children.


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