Success Story

Gage Elementary, Rochester, MN

FISH! is a Way of Life

Amy Amsden – Kindergarten Teacher, Gage Elementary, Rochester, MN

As I reflect on my very first time of hearing about FISH! I am so amazed of what I thought was the impossible. I heard about this program that could certainly make our school and classrooms more fun and energetic. I thought to myself this is so not practical to bring to my classroom with all the challenges that I face each day. I don’t need one more thing on my plate, plus it is already the middle of the year and it is too difficult to implement this sort of a program. I didn’t feel that my kindergarten students would “get it.” . . .

Today, I am so proud to say that The FISH! Philosophy is so alive and thriving in my kindergarten classroom. . . . FISH! has changed my classroom and my young learners more than I ever thought was possible. It is really true to say that five- and six-year-old children understand the four concepts of FISH! They are living it each day we are together, and they are living also in their homes. . . .

Each day we review The FISH! Philosophy and what we will do to make it happen in our classroom. We all complete the FISH! Journal daily, myself included, as well as sing the songs from our hearts and lungs!

I find great joy when visitors and guests come into the classroom and ask the students what all the FISH! are about! The students shout it from the bottom of their hearts what each concept means. One of my favorite examples is when Ann Clark came to read to the students and she asked, “What does it mean to be there?” One student replied, “To make sure that no one is ever alone.”

I have had parents comment on what a positive change in attitude their child has had at home. Families are very excited about FISH! and are celebrating the successes their child is having at school and at home as well.

A few weeks ago I presented what FISH! was doing in my classroom and in my life to my colleagues at a staff meeting. It was a very emotional presentation as FISH! truly is a reflective journey for many educators. . . . We are in a profession that is demanding, stressful, and sometimes heartbreaking. In the midst of all the pressures in the classroom, educators need a way to find joy back in their lives. I am a firm believer that The FISH! Philosophy is the way! FISH! in the classroom allows friends to “be there” for each other and the whole class takes responsibility for one another, not just the teacher!! In the concepts of FISH! there is joy, passion, and a love for learning!

“Fish! allows classmates to “be there” for each other. The whole class takes responsibility for one another, not just the teacher! In the concepts of FISH! there is joy, passion, and love for learning!”

– Amy AmsdenTeacher, Gage Elementary School

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