Mirry, Jan and Ali were the first to get to school on the first day of the new term. As the classroom was a little untidy, they busied themselves straightening the desks and chairs, and then cleaned the blackboard. They put some red hibiscus flowers into a jar with water to welcome their new teacher, and sat down to wait. When their teacher arrived there were 15 excited children in the little schoolroom.
“I am happy to meet all of you,” Miss Hall said to the children.
“We have many lessons to learn and many interesting things to do together, so let us get started.”
After the lunch break, Miss Hall looked at her class.
“I said we would do many interesting things together. Let us go for a walk along the beach. We can collect shells and pebbles and driftwood,” she said.
“Maybe there will be other pretty things we can use in our art and handicraft lessons.”
Miss Hall led the children out through the back door of the school along a short path to the beach. The children ran to and fro and soon there was a large collection of things lying in a pile on the sand.
They all sat down on a fallen coconut tree to discuss what they had found. There were some rather strange items in the pile along with the driftwood and shells, which the children had collected. There were plastic and glass bottles of many shapes and sizes, some of them broken. There were empty, wet soap boxes and some pieces of blue and green rope. There were squares of new fishing net in different sizes as well as many plastic bags.
“Where did those come from?” asked Miss Hall.
“Oh, all along the beach, as far as you can walk,” said Ali.
“My father says it comes from ships that sail past,” said Mirry.
“I think that many of the people who come to spend the day here at the beach leave things behind as well.”
“I think some of it comes downriver. People throw garbage into the river and it floats down to the sea,” said Terry.
“Then the sea washes the garbage back on to the shore.”
“You have to be careful when you walk along the beach now,” said Amos.
“My brother got a big cut on his foot, from a broken bottle that was half buried in the sand.”
“My grandmother says that when she was little, our beach was as clean as a whistle,” said Jan.
“What does clean as a whistle mean, Miss Hall?”
“It means, children, we have a lot of work to do, before this beach is once again as clean as a whistle,” said Miss Hall. “I’ll take the broken things,” she said. “Divide the rest and you can all bring some to the classroom.”
Some easy questions for you to answer
How many children are in Mirry’s class?
Why did the class go to the beach?
Name some of the things they collected on the beach.
How does garbage get into rivers?
What do you think ‘clean as a whistle’ means?
What is driftwood?