Total Pageviews

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fall Art With Watercolors

Ahhh, to have good art supplies makes my heart glad. Nice watercolor paper, paired with camel hair brushes and liquid watercolor can really showcase the kids' talents! We're getting ready for our art fair coming up soon, so there was a lot of care involved in making their paintings.

New Guidance Counselor

We'd like to introduce and welcome Ursula Hansen. Ursula was hired for the guidance position and she came out last year to introduce herself to the kids, but last friday was her first official day. She played some great games with the kids, read books based on friendship and self-esteem, and had a great visit. The kids liked her activities and her personable nature, so we're looking forward to more of her visits!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Circus Ship Tour

We are lucky enough to have the opportunity to welcome the Circus Ship Tour, sponsored by Island Readers & Writers. Chris Van Dusen, a popular children's book author, has recently written a book based loosely upon a historical event that happened on the Maine coast. In 1836, a large ship, called the Royal Tar was making it's way from Canada to Boston. On board was an entire circus, because back in those days, traveling by boat was more common for a big show like that. Well, a storm came up and the ship ran aground off the coast of Vinalhaven with all those circus animals aboard. Chris's book postulates a different outcome than what really happened, but it is a sure winner for kids. The tour will be here on October 9th when Chris and a story teller will be sharing some historical events as well as the new book. In response to the upcoming event, the students were writing their own stories, but imagining the ship running aground here by Frenchboro. They wrote up their graphic organizers first and then started telling their own tales. So far, there are lots of crazy animal encounters!

Forest Ecosystems

We've been studying ecosystems in science class and we've moved on from pond to forest. We took some samples out in the the woods and looked at them through the microscopes and with our hand lenses. Who would have thought a mosquito's wings were covered with hair? And the proboscis? Yikes. Nightmarish. We talked a lot about the actual components of the coniferous forest ecosystem here in Frenchboro and listed the most important parts such as the trees themselves and then less significant parts such as sundew plants. The kids began construction of their own mural.
Cadin, Johnny, and Bradley get the background ready.

Saylor displaying her insect examples.

The finished product, complete with moose and deer tracks.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Skype Call

This is a screen shot of our Skype call with Dr. Rob yesterday. You might remember Dr. Rob from his visit last year. He's an E.R. doc in NYC and he brought lots of gear to show the kids. They left the encounter replete with casts and splints, so it was memorable. He called in on Skype to see the kids and say hello. We could see him and he could see us, which is the bottom corner picture. Video chats are great, especially when they're free! Hopefully we can talk Dr. Rob into coming for a visit again this year.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Wool Rug Braiding

I need another hobby like I need a hole in the head, but I just couldn't resist learning how to rug braid. My mom's neighbor, Cora, has been teaching the skill for many many years, and, at 87, she's an expert. So, the other weekend my mom and I walked through the woods to Cora's house to get me started on my rug. Yes, it was like a throwback to the 1800's...walking on a path through the woods to get together with the neighbor for some good 'ol fashioned rug braiding. Luckily, we didn't do it by candlelight.

More IIE pics

At Isleford, the students had made an Earth Loom out of timbers. All the islands brought things to add to the loom, such as bark, grasses, sea weed, etc. The kids were encouraged to write on a piece of bark about the theme 'friendship' and what it meant to them. Ashley Bryan, a famous children's book writer/illustrator lives in Islesford and he opened our potluck dinner by reciting poems. We all joined in with gusto. On the ride home, we had to take the small boat from Islesford to Great Cranberry in order to take the Sunbeam, which couldn't dock in Islesford due to the winds.

Inter-Island Event 09

Here are some photos from this year's IIE, held in Islesford (Little Cranberry).
We got picked up by the Sunbeam, tented out across from the school. Did paper marbling, digital photography, woodworking, hiking, capture the flag, and lots of other great activities.
As always the kids had huge fun, and were extremely polite and great Frenchboro representatives!

Flat Stanley from Australia

Years ago, when I was graduating from high school, I spent 6 months in Australia as an exchange student. Well, thanks to networking sites like Facebook, I'm in touch with some of my old friends that I knew over there as a teen. Of course things have changed: mainly...they're all married with kids. Seeing that I'm a teacher, one of them had her daughter send us a Flat Stanley that she made. If you don't know the great children's book series about a boy who is 2-D and gets sent in the mail, it is a common activity to recreate the story with young children. The idea is to send him out to have adventures and get information and pictures of him visiting the world. Here he is in Frenchboro, at the town dock. Stanley had a great time and is getting ready to be sent back home this week after we add some details about our lives here in Maine.


You never know what Frenchboro kids will bring in for 'share' on Fridays, so it was with trepidation that I responded to Brody's announcement: "My share is outside the school. It was too big to bring in." I'm thinking, "Alligator?" So we all tramped outside to find this:

Seriously...what were those paper wasps thinking? Luckily, Jay's gear was not heading back to the ocean and he cut out the nest from the trap and donated it to the school. In Maine, we'd say this was a 'wicked cool' share.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Beach Cleanup

Many thanks to Terry Towne and Maine Coast Heritage Trust for helping us organize and pull off a great beach cleanup this year! We managed to hit Big, Middle, and Little Beaches. We're very to the point here in Frenchboro. We have the Low Road, the High Road, Dump Hill and we have Little, Middle and Big beaches.
Terry came equipped with gloves and garbage bags. Here's Johnny modeling.
Cody, Cadin and Elijah gathering garbage on Middle Beach.

Boy, what a haul! We threw the garbage we found into bags for Terry to haul off in his boat, and the kids tried to return buoys to the fishermen that we knew they belonged to. We left the lobster traps as they can be sharp and, technically, it's private property and shouldn't be removed.
Here we are posing for a shot on Middle Beach with most of the full bags. Great job kids for helping keep Frenchboro beautiful!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Lego Robotics Club

After school, the 4th, 5th, and 7th graders have been involved in Lego Robotics, a state wide tournament with a math/science focus. Last year, our group won "Most Innovative Design" at the Northern Maine Castine tournament. This year, it's being held in Augusta and the entire state's teams will be represented, so it should be a big turnout.

So many Legos, so little time.

Cody broke his arm, so he's using his teeth. How "innovative"!

Service Learning

As part of our social studies unit, we've been focusing on service learning. Last week, the kids compiled a large list of things that they thought could be improved upon in our school. Today we filtered through the list, and basically came up with four different categories: Building, Buying, Cleaning, Repairing. We sorted the list into the categories and voted on each category, coming up with four or five things from each. They voted by using their sticky notes and then we counted what got the most votes. We decided to focus on the 'buy' list because it might take the longest in terms of planning and fundraising. Their number one? A new bike rack. The one we have doesn't hold children's bikes, and since everyone rides their bikes to school, we literally have a pile of bikes out front all day. We did some research on the web and can I say that there are some crazy weird bike racks out there? Anything that said "custom racks" looked like some strange modern sculpture, so we're sticking with a low slung circular, galvanized rack that will hold 12 bikes, of all different sizes. We came up with some fundraising ideas, too. We'll keep you posted on our progress!

And THIS is why we don't drink pond water.

Well, today we continued our unit on ecosystems, but this time we collected new water samples from the fire pond and brought them back to school. We used our eyedroppers to take drops of water to add to our slides. We saw some amazing and rather alarming things. Here's Bradley using his eyedropper to get his slide ready.

Myron getting his first view through one of the microscopes.

Any guesses? Ant legs. mmmm.

This one was hard to get focused in the viewfinder as it kept zipping around.

Can you see the worm? It's eating a dragonfly larva. Okay, I know it's not very teachery of me, but: YUCK! This gave me the willies. Luckily, I've not been sipping any of this savory beverage.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ecosystems: Ponds

Some eyes were opened today when it comes to what is actually in pond water. Kids...this is why we don't drink pond water. For all the things you can see with your hand lenses, there are millions of other little creatures you can't see. Next up: using the microscope. Await some mind blowing.

After school we had our very first cross country practice. This might have been the only practice that's ever happened here on Frenchboro. We have two meets planned, one with Isle Au Haut and one with Islesford. Today, we ran up the ingloriously named Dump Hill. Johnny, first grade, huffing beside me, yelling "MY LEGS! THEY'RE BURNING!" Down to the gravel pit and around the beaver pond where Jayde, Kindergarten, saw her very first (in her 'entire life') lily pad, then up to the graveyard with Johnny calling out, "I'm STILL RUNNING!" We rested under the horse chestnut tree, panting, looking around at the red faces (MY FACE IS ON FIRE! Johnny again...and then "I think my rib is BROKEN!") I could have passed out from laughing whilst running today, but luckily I lived to run another day. Perhaps I'll calling it wogging, sort of a walk/jog on my part, though Elijah and Dylan literally ran circles around me. I've gotta get out there more if I'm going to keep up with those kids!

Reading Class

Look at these little worker bees! It does my teacher heart good to see them hard at work, using their knowledge of good reading skills to summarize, support their answers with examples from the text, and clarify words they don't know.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

First Day of School

The first day of school is so exciting, especially when it involves new laptop computers! Here's Mr. Finn talking about responsibe usage, and highlighting some exceptional perks.

For P. E. we played our old standby: Kickball. One parent joined us and she ran the bases in flipflops...very impressive. I was tagged out at third by this little one in the blue dress and Mary Janes. Never trust those cute Frenchboro girls...they're deadly on the field!