Angela Greene: “And So the Love Story Begins… “ April 25, 2013

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Angela Greene
(Almost) Aboard NOAA Ship Gordon GunterApril 29-May 11, 2013
Mission:  Northern Right Whale Survey

Geographical Area of Cruise:  Atlantic Ocean out of Woods Hole, MA
Date:  April 24, 2013


Personal Log:

I am quite certain I am about to fall in love with a whale, as I embark upon a journey that will surely change me forever.  My name is Angela Greene, and I have had the honor of teaching middle school in the Tecumseh Local School District for the last twenty-five years!

Tecumseh Middle School: “Home of My 8th Grade Scientists!”

I care deeply about my students, and I am committed to providing them with amazing science experiences in my classroom!  I love my job, my students, and learning.  I am a NOAA Teacher at Sea!

I applied for the NOAA Teacher at Sea program because I believe the best way to develop myself, as a professional educator is to seek out field experiences that will enable me to work side by side with leaders in the scientific community.  I can’t think of a better way to efficiently expose my students to careers in the field of science as well as the scientific issues that will directly affect their lives than to “walk in the shoes” of highly trained scientists.

Kristin and Me
“Walking in the Shoes of a Scientist”: Me with Dr. Kristin Stanford, Lake Erie Water Snake Recovery Plan Coordinator

The purpose of this blog is to tell my family, students, friends, and colleagues a story, a love story, if you will.  I hope to share my love of teaching, my love of wildlife, and my insatiable love for learning.

In only a few hours, I will fly to Boston, Massachusetts, take a bus to Woods Hole, and board the NOAA Ship Gordon Gunter.  The ship will take me, as well as a group of ocean scientists, into the Northern Atlantic to search for the critically endangered Northern Right Whale.

Gordon Gunter
NOAA Ship Gordon Gunter (photo credit NOAA)

At this point, I know very little about this mammal, so I enlisted the help of my 8th grade scientists using a technique I called “Teach Your Teacher”.  Together, we brainstormed a list of questions about Right Whales, the Gordon Gunter, and marine research.  Each student selected a topic, complied a summary of their findings and wrote me a quick “good bye” note.  I collected the pages and promised not to read them until I was on the bus to Woods Hole.

Whale Biopsy
Tecumseh 8th Grader Researching Whale Biopsy

I also wanted my students to have an understanding of the actual size of Northern Right Whales and other North Atlantic Whale species.  We celebrated our new learning and my incredible opportunity to sail with NOAA by having “Tecumseh Middle School Whale Day”.  For one day the concrete campus of our school became ocean habitats to student-created “chalk whales”.  We calculated the actual size of four whale species using the scaled measurements of sketches found in our research.  This data enabled us to create over forty whales using sidewalk chalk!  We were amazed at the size of our whales, and the chalk models enabled us to compare the external anatomy among the species.  Our local news channel, WDTN, stopped by to film us for the evening news!  We determined that 14 middle school students could fit head to toe along the length of a fin whale.  We had a terrific day!

My preparation time is coming to an end.  I need to finish packing, say my goodbyes to my family and dogs, and focus on the journey that’s about to begin.  One of the most important lessons a teacher can learn from rare field experience opportunities is that this time will quickly end.  I promise to enjoy every second while I am falling in love with a brand new world.

14 in Fin
Fourteen Tecumseh Students Fit Head to Toe in a Chalk Fin Whale
Northern Right Whale (Photo Credit NOAA)

11 Replies to “Angela Greene: “And So the Love Story Begins… “ April 25, 2013”

  1. I hope you arrived safely at your destination. Do you spend any time at Woods Hole? When do you set sail? Will we be able to map the course the ship takes? can’t wait to hear all about your adventure!

    1. Hello! (not sure who you are, but you are my first person to comment on my blog, so thank you!) Right now, It is Sunday morning and I am in a hotel room in Boston. In a few hours, I will catch a bus to Woods Hole where my lead scientist will pick me up and take me to the ship. I have internet in my hotel room, but I received an email that said my ship, Gordon Gunter, is having “technical difficulties” and we may not have internet capabilities during the mission. My blog may be in jeopardy… Due to the difficulties, the departure date of the ship has been delayed. Instead of leaving Monday, we leave Tuesday. I’m beginning to understand why flexibility is an absolute necessity while researching at sea! I believe the best way to watch the course my ship takes would be to use the NOAA ship tracker. The code letters for my ship are GU. Here is the URL: Keep following! (fingers crossed on an internet connection!) Angela Greene

      1. Hope you got to board this morning! This sure sounds like it will be a great adventure and can’t wait to see your pictures. Have a safe and exciting trip!siegde Mrs. Nolan’s class.

    1. Hi Deb!
      Thanks for following! I should be able to post again tomorrow night. I am trying to learn how to do my job, while being seasick. There is so much to learn and I need to be firing on all cylinders! No whales yet… very foggy…maybe tomorrow! Angie

  2. Your enthusiasm is infectious girl! I love all the adventures you go on and you are an AMAZING teacher! so glad you are getting this experience! Hope you have gotten your sea legs!

    1. Thanks Amy!!!! Good to hear from you. I am feeling MUCH better today and I am having a blast! Found a Sei Whale momma and calf today!!! Thanks for following. Angie

  3. It is exciting to follow you and reflect on my Teacher at Sea in the North Atlantic many years ago. As I remember it is a little chilly. I don’t think I was ever without long underwear. I am hoping for many Right Whales in your future.

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