Ideas for Educators & Organizations

By sparking people’s interest in and concern for the world’s oceans, the Sea Stories Project will contribute directly to your work in a wide range of educational or organizational settings.

Using Sea Stories in the Classroom

From our perspective, the main purpose of the Sea Stories Project is to use writing to help foster a broader appreciation of the importance of the sea in everyone’s lives, motivating people both to appreciate and to care for the world’s oceans. At the same time, we at BOI also understand that educators may have a different set of specific pedagogical goals as well – improving student writing, teaching basic concepts of ocean biology and ecology, engaging students in historical, environmental, or civic issues – and we encourage you to use the Sea Stories concept and materials in whatever ways can contribute to your overall teaching success. Whatever you teach – writing, science, literature, art, philosophy/religion, history, social studies – using Sea Stories to help students to reflect on and to express their personal connection to the sea can serve as valuable motivation and can nurture a more powerful engagement with the course material. Feel free to use Sea Stories in whatever ways are most beneficial to you and your students:

1. Post or distribute copies of the Sea Stories guidelines and writing suggestions in your classroom, department, or school, or disseminate information on the project through school publications, e-mail, or internet; this will allow students to participate in the project on their own.

2. Encourage students to write their Sea Stories as an optional or extra-credit assignment in your course

3. Use the online Sea Stories journal as reading material in your course, allowing contemporary voices from the world’s oceans to speak directly to your students

4. Utilize the Sea Stories essay as a stand-alone assignment within your course

5. Going beyond the single essay, find ways to incorporate students’ personal experience of the sea into an extended unit or even an entire course

6. Sea Stories may be of use outside of the classroom as well, in a variety of extra-curricular activities – student newspaper or literary magazine, science club, religious or political groups, community event or public reading, etc.

7. For professional development and/or personal sanity, take the time to write your own Sea Stories! You might also consider sharing your writing with other teachers, perhaps as part of a school or departmental retreat, professional development activities, etc.

Sea Stories and your organization

In your work and in your life, you already are surrounded by stories of the sea – stories of beauty, wonder, discovery, community, concern, and hope. The goal of BOI’s Sea Stories Project is to help harness the power of these stories in the service of ocean conservation worldwide and, in particular, for the benefit of your own organization’s work, vision, and public outreach.

But how can you participate? That depends on your own and your organization’s interests, capacities, and needs. Consider any of the following:

1. Write your own story: We begin by inviting you to close your eyes, take a breath, and let your own memories of the sea arise within you – and then put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) and begin writing your own stories of the sea …

2. Disseminate information about the project within and outside of your organization: Post the project Submissions Form on your office bulletin board, place a stack of them in a public space in your building, e-mail our website address to whomever you think might be interested, send a notice about the project to your local newspaper, or include publicity information on the project in your own print or electronic newsletters or other communications with colleagues, constituencies, and the general public.

3. Plan an in-house meeting, writing group, or weekend retreat for your organization: Sharing your sea stories can be a perfect way to get to know your co-workers more deeply, or can serve as an important adjunct to organizational capacity-building and long-term planning efforts. For example, you might enliven your weekly staff meeting by asking someone to volunteer to read her or his story, followed by time to discuss whatever memories or ideas are sparked by the reading. Or, schedule a special afternoon or evening meeting for people interested in the project, perhaps giving rise to a regular writing group where participants read, discuss, and comment on each other’s stories. For a more extended immersion in each other’s memories and visions, include a workshop on Sea Stories as part of your annual organizational retreat or planning process. To share your colleagues’ stories with each other and with the larger community, consider posting them on your website or including them in your newsletters – along with, of course, submitting them to the Sea Stories Project for possible inclusion in the Sea Stories journal.

4. Use Sea Stories in the community: If you offer educational, interpretive, or outreach programs to the general public, think about including Sea Stories as another way to interest your local community in ocean conservation and in your work. You could sponsor a writing group to help community members work on their own writing, or organize a reading event where members or your organization and/or the public read and discuss their sea stories. The Sea Stories essay can be incorporated into any existing workshops or courses where it would be appropriate; or, if you want to help your constituents explore their connections to the sea in more depth, consider developing new workshops or courses on these themes. If you do work in local schools, consider asking your students to write a Sea Stories essay, or bring the project to the attention of teachers with whom you have contact. To further adapt Sea Stories to your own needs, you may choose to encourage your constituents to write about a specific topic or place of local concern – a beloved place in your area, or an issue directly affecting the local community. Find ways to publicize these stories through public readings, letters to the editor, special community meetings, or other venues; along with general community outreach for your organization, such sessions might serve as a way for the community to voice their concerns about specific ocean conservation challenges they may be facing in the present or the future.