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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Google Earth

Can I announce to world and cry from the rafters how great Google Earth is? An amazing free program that is easy to download and shows satellite images of the entire earth. There's even Google Mars. In our classroom, we use it a lot when we're talking about different areas or countries.

Yesterday, after we got over the thrill of seeing our houses here in Frenchboro, we went looking for deserts all over the world. We saw sand dunes, even an oasis or two, and were amazed by just how much of the land on earth is covered with deserts.

Stealth Tooth Shot

Notice anything different? Yup. Front tooth has exited the building. Cadin's been working on that tooth for a week and yesterday I managed to get a shot of it. Every time I tried to get a photo, he'd cover his face and giggle, so I had to sneak this one in when he didn't notice the camera was pointed at him. The slight lisp and constant tongue peeking through the gap is so endearing. What a great age.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Halloween Art

Ohh, how I love Halloween. What's not to love? Candy, candy, candy. Costumes. More candy. Bobbing for apples. Haunted hayride. And still more candy. Games. Have I mentioned the candy? Unlike my brother, who hoarded and stored his candy til, like, New Year's, I ate mine the first night. Back then there was no such thing as too much sugar. Considering Mr. Finn and I just polished off an entire bag of candy bars, apparently not much has changed. Here in Frenchboro, the candy haul is particularly impressive. Since there are, how many? Maybe 50 people here, including the's like everyone just goes crazy and buys fifteen bags of candy to hand out. The kids use pillowcases. Multiple pillow cases. We're wondering if we could perhaps rent a child out to trick or treat for us. Okay, enough about sugary goodness. I also love Halloween because of the art. It's so wonderful all of the creative things you can find on the internet, my favorite website being where I found a great watercolor/marker project. Before we went out for gym, we painted our backdrop and by the time we returned from soccer, our projects were dry, which allowed us to finish up the tree silhouettes replete with spider webs.

Dissecting a Squid

You know, I talked earlier about island 'gifts'. I said that they often come in the form of people, but in this case, it came in the form of a squid. I know it would have been pretty amazing had the squid survived and swam around in our indoor saltwater tank, sucking the conchs out of their shells and creating havoc for the periwinkles, but alas, it died in the bucket, enroute to the school. Wyatt got it in his trap and handed it off to Ski to bring to the school, but it perished. Trash? I think not. Since we have an 'in' with an ER doc, we have lots of tools of the trade...scalpels, tweezers, suture kits. We layed out Mr. Squid and proceeded to examine him thoroughly. You've no idea how their irridescent skin glints rainbows in the sun.
Then the cutting began. Mr. Finn had to keep telling the kids to move back as they were crowding in so closely. Look at them. Complete and utter fascination. I thought they might be grossed out. I thought for sure they'd be squealing or turning away. No, no. They were absolutely riveted. So was I. Helllooooo, people...did you know squids have beaks? Seriously, Mr. Finn cut around the mouth and there was this beak. It was hard and very sharp. I was amazed. The kids couldn't stop touching it. That, and the tentacles, which kept suctioning onto their fingers.
It was a little smelly. But that didn't deter them. Can we touch the eyeball? Can you pop it? Yes. And yes.
I love this picture. Look at them with their hands on their chins. And Johnny, can you get any closer?
Yes, apparently.

Then...we hit the guts. I wish I had the voice over to go with Cadin's face. He was groaning like he was in deathly pain. But laughing simultaneously. Everyone thought the poop shoot was immensely funny. Potty humor, alive and well in Frenchboro School.
Cadin, disgusted. Johnny? Delighted.
Elijah? Positively giddy. In fact, when we found fish vertebrae in the intestines, not only was Elijah not grossed out...he wanted to touch it. Yup. Let's just say, everyone was doing a thorough hand washing that afternoon! Have I mentioned lately that I love this school?

Installing the Outdoor Composter

As part of our grant from MDI YMCA and Healthy Acadia, we got an indoor composter, composting buckets and now an outdoor composter,which we installed beside the school. We already have bucketfuls of compost from our indoor composter and now we can start composting larger portions in our outdoor composter. The kids all took home a green compost bucket with a filter to help keep odors at bay and some of the kids have already reporting that their buckets are almost full. I'm looking forward to reducing some of the compostable waste in our dumpsters, as well as having some great compost for our community garden!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Island Gifts

Frenchboro has a lot of special things about it...the natural beauty, the location, the unique island history. The gifts also come in the form of people. Here's one we'd like to call 'ours' all year, but can settle for a few months. Timur is not just our visiting soccer coach. He's also a painter. Now, when I say 'talented', I MEAN talented. Like super-talented, make your mouth gape talented. I think he's 24. Uggh. What was I doing at 24? Certainly not anything like this:
Or this:

Or this:

Monday, October 19, 2009

Cross Country Invitational

For a detailed post, we have a guest blogger today...check out this link to a great article on the first ever Frenchboro Cross Country meet!

Scroll UP on this one after you click on the link.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Guest Art Teacher

Miss Becky came in yesterday to do a Halloween art project with the students. They chose from Halloween examples like ghosts, vampires, bats, pumpkins or tombstones. Taking newspaper, they cut out the shapes and then stapled it all, pouch-style. The kids then filled the shapes with newspaper and painted them. Big thanks to Becky for providing all the materials and a great project!

Circus Ship Flashback

Seems crazy that the Circus Ship tour was a whole week ago today. I found some pictures on my other camera that I wanted to share. My absolute favorite time during Island Readers and Writers visits is when the author signs the books for the kids. Honestly, the kids light up like it's Christmas. They love to see their own name written on their books, and even though the story has just been read to them aloud, they rush back to their seats to explore their own copy. It is SO endearing.

Comic Life

The other day during tech class, I introduced a few new concepts. The first thing the kids had to do was take take pictures from an external drive (zip, or pen drive) and transfer them to their iPhoto. They had to learn how to use the Apple + A keys to highlight all the pictures, then they had to drag and drop the pics. They also had to properly eject the drive. Then, the fun started, as we could use Comic Life, a wonderful program on their MLTI computers. They experimented with captions, different background and crops, as well as fun titles and fonts. Pretty soon, the kids will be able to create their own comics to pass standards in different content areas.

Circus Ship Art Projects

I'm a huge fan of Eric Carle, the wonderful author/illustrator of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, so when I was thinking of projects to do for our presentations during the Circus Ship tour, I thought we could do some collage art. The kids chose what animal they wanted to create and then we painted two big pieces of splatter art that was in keeping with the colors of our animals. After they dried, on the second day, I gave them templates to use in order to cut out all the different sections of their animals. Lastly they glued the animal parts together to create a nice collage. They all did a terrific job.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Lumberjack Finn

Soooo, today I learned how to use a chainsaw. Here's my illustrious husband who prowess with power tools knows no bounds. He showed me the ropes. There was a time when I was very comfortable around a table saw, even a sawmill, but then I witnessed an unfortunate accident and, though the person ended up fine, I was a little gun shy ever since. But, the community garden needs some raised beds and one thing Frenchboro has a lot of is downed trees, so, problem solved. We're hoping the raised beds will solve some of the washout issues we had during the past summer's monsoon season. We'll keep you posted on the progress!

The Circus Ship comes to town

On friday, Frenchboro was gifted by a visit from our old friends at Island Readers and Writers. Jan Coates always brings fabulous writers and illustrators to the island schools, but this time she really outdid herself! Chris van Dusen is a popular author/illustrator and has recently written a book based loosely upon a true event that happened along the Maine coast back in 1836. A steamboat carrying a full circus caught fire and sunk off the coast of Vinalhaven. Though a tragic tale, Chris changed the story to a child friendly version that is whimsical and touching. Accompanying the group was Judith Jerome, from the Stonington Opera House, who shared her gift for storytelling with the students and community. The Frenchboro students had prepared their own stories and got to read their creative accounts of what might have happened had the circus ship crashed near Frenchboro. Hint: a lot of mom's would be screaming, and a lot of monkeys would turn into pets. After the school presentations, Ruth Davis presented for the community over at the Frenchboro library, followed by another presentation by Chris and Judith. It was a great day and a great turnout! Thanks to everyone for showing up and for cooking lunch for the IRW team.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Soccer Videos

Soccer Pics

Saylor and Bradley going after the ball.

Tammy leading the stretches.

Timur leading a warm up lap around the field.

Johnny getting ready to whack that ball!

Guest Coaches: Soccer

Thanks goes out to Tammy Desjardin and Timur Ahkriev, our two guest coaches for Phys. Ed.! In a small community and a small school like ours, we don't always have the luxury of a trained P. E. teacher like most schools. Instead, we have to rely on our own skills. When it comes to soccer, these skills are few and far between. In fact, the only time I've ever played soccer in my life was in 7th grade when I got put in as a sub during a game. I wasn't on the team. They told me to play wing or something like that. I had no idea what they were talking about. Isn't it against the rule to use subs that aren't actually on the team?

Well, luckily we found out that Timur (who recently became an officially U. S. citizen! Wahooo!) plays in a league down south and THEN we found out what Tammy's been hiding from everyone for years...she was ATHLETE of the YEAR when she was a soccer star back in high school. After a little begging and pleading, she agreed to help as long as Timur was there as a co-coach.

So, yesterday during gym, we all went up to the ball field for an AWESOME soccer practice. We started with basics, like how to kick the ball properly (and avoid breaking all your toes). Then they moved on to more difficult things like passing to a team mate, 'heading' the ball, and faking in order to score. It was great!

I retrieved the soccer balls, therefore avoiding inevitable humiliation by competing with first graders more adept than myself.

We are so grateful that Tammy and Timur will be heading up this soccer unit for the next couple weeks. Our community may be small, but we got skills!

Tidal Flat Ecosystems

Frenchboro girls being the fancy dressed digging in the dirt gals that they always are. My heros!
Myron showing a little left dominance in his eye choice on the microscope. We were checking out everything from cross sections of seaweed to gull feathers. It's a magical world under the lens.
Perhaps it's because I grew up in South Addison and spent my entire childhood hanging out down by the shore, but tidal flats are my favorite ecosystem to study! Maybe I don't REALLY want to know what was in all that sea water that I inadvertantly ingested over the years, but peeking through the seaweed to find hidden crabs is right up my alley! This microscope picture illustrates the reason why we peel the tail back on a lobster before eating it.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Harvest Dinner

So, I'm officially still full from last night. What a great harvest dinner. The kids set up and cleaned up, but next year, they're going to do all the cooking! After baking two pies, a quiche, a ham and a side dish of roasted veggies, I'm all cooked out. Thanks goes out to all those who donated delicious items (a lot from our own gardens!) and for those who showed up to eat! We appreciated the turn out and it was so nice to sit and talk. Even those who couldn't come either sent a donation or cooked something to share. We raised over $300, and $200 will go towards the project the kids are working on, which is raising money for a new bike rack, and the rest will go toward the community garden. Yay!