Total Pageviews

Monday, March 29, 2010


So, the most recent conversation revolving around the dead moose went something like this.

"Hey, can we make a fort out of the moose bones?"
"Yeah! That would be so super cool!"

"Uhh, guys. So you'd be sort of inside a dead moose?"

"Yeah! Wouldn't that be great?!"

"Uhhh. Maybe a Leeetle bit stinky?"

"Oh. Right. Yeah." sigh. Whisper: that would have been awesome.

Drafting II

Working some more on perspective drawings...this time a cityscape.

We'll play around a little with putting the points in the top or bottom of the paper next to see the effect with a change in perspective.

Basketball Follies


We got started with our seedlings last week. Every family got some choices for what to start indoors. It will be another few weeks until we can add them to the garden plots, so it gives them a head start...really important here in Maine.
So, here they were when I came in this morning! Wowsa!
Holy cow...look at that summer squash! We might have to transplant that one into a bigger pot! The kids will have to choose which to keep and which to clip back since it's best to only have one plant per cube. We're going to be planting our aerogarden soon. That has it's own hydroponic unit with a timed light source, so it's very efficient. Last year I started mine so early that my plants were gargantuan, so I'll have to hold back for a few more days, though it sure is difficult to resist!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


At the beginning of this year, Mr. Finn and I talked about what we wanted to accomplish with the kids concerning all the subject areas. We mapped out roughly what the year would look like and worked on the schedule. Besides being on level for things like math and reading, both extremely important, we also wanted them to be physically fit and skilled in different sports, and to have the ability to sketch and draw things besides stick figures. We recently started playing around a little with perspective and doing three dimensional drawing and basic drafting. The kids are really enjoying themselves, and we're seeing some great improvements in their overall ability, but also confidence and enjoyment of art. They begged to take these home, saying they really "popped out" at them. I think I may have to take some art classes this summer!!


After our unexpected trip to see the moose, we came back to an abridged math class. Since we only had about 20 minutes left, we did a group exercise on place value. K-2 got a group of cards with number ranging from ones to thousands, while 3-4 got a group from thousands to hundred thousands, and 5-7 got anything from thousands to billions. They were instructed to put them in order from least to greatest. I tried to make it a little challenging with numbers looking very similar or being just one off from each other. To have all 13 students from 6 year olds to 12 year olds working simultaneously on a project is a particular joy of the one room schoolhouse. The hum of the kids talking to each other, and the 'arguments' that ensue whilst working is fun to observe. I've often wondered why we're grouped by age from the time we're very young. Is that truly preparing us for the 'real world' out there? It seems so narrow, and arbitrary an arrangement. And one that would create hindrances later in life to have a variety of friendships, or more openness to encounters. To watch us walking back from gym, I remarked the other day to a parent how wonderful it is to see that they group themselves differently every single time. Sure, kids have their certain friends, but I'm just as likely to see one of the seventh grade boys talking animatedly with the kindergarten girl as I am the fourth graders all walking together. I do think it's much easier as a teacher to only teach one grade/level, but I get a real sense of community in our little school, and in the long run, I think they benefit greatly by working and playing with everyone instead of just kids that happened to be born the same time as themselves.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Going Solo

So, on my first solo day without Mr. Finn, who's away at a conference, it comes to our attention through one of the moms that the moose has died. Well, what's a teacher to do? I asked the kids and they of course wanted to go see, so we followed Becky out to the site where we had recently seen lots of fresh moose sign. Becky had been crying, feeling so badly about the moose, and I also was feeling pretty sad. The kids? Not so much. I know they love animals, but they were handling death a heckuva lot better than us adults. In fact, they made up a song, to the tune of "Who Let the Dogs Out"..... Who Let the Moose Die. Seriously. If you're a PETA person (not the People Eating Tasty Animals folks, the other ones...) shield your eyes.

Right away the kids were asking if they could 'pry the mouth open' with a stick so they could see inside. "Where's the tongue? Are those the teeth?"
and on the other end came a shout of, "Look! Ms. Finn! I think it was pooping when it died. See?" oh man. yes, yes. I see. Moving right along. They were very hopeful that, in fact, we were going to take bones home with us. Never mind the stench. Never mind the liquefied innards. Let's just get right in there. Being a primitive skills gal, with moose and deer hides currently racked to the side of my house, I can honestly say that these kids are my peeps.

I happen to have a moose skull at my house that has been picked pretty clean, so I brought it down after lunch for the kids to look at. They were fascinated by how little is left of the nose and by the size and shape of the back teeth. And the eye holes are huge, Ms. Finn!
Sigh. I never did get to see the moose alive, though Mr. Finn and I walked practically every day, always keeping our eye out. It was a special thing that it swam all the way out here, to our tiny island and lived here for almost two years. It's still teaching us. As we left, one little boy turned to me, saying very seriously, "Ms. Finn, that's a level 4."

"Yes, Cadin, it is." Decomposers at work.

Digging in the Dirt

Now we're almost ready for planting! The raised beds are looking pretty good and our drainage ditch is working well. Since it's been so warm we even put in some peas. It will be great to have some green shoots working their way up toward the sun.

Wee Leprechaun

For Saint Patty's Day, we had a wee leprechaun visit. With cookies! Maybe even better than a pot o' gold.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Baseball Season Has Begun!

The weather has been absolutely gorgeous out here for the past week and a half, minus a little rain on Sunday and Monday morning, so we were pretty excited to break out the baseball gear. Since the ball field is dried out, we didn't have to worry about dastardly sinkholes and overall muckiness.
We even had a spectator! Here's baby Kohl, future Hall of Famer and his mum, Katie.
We started by practicing our batting and throwing techniques.
These baseballs, though a little softer than regulation, are certainly a far cry from the whiffle balls we've been using, so there was some getting used to 'committing' to the catch rather than ducking as it hurtled towards them.
Then we played a sweet game. I have to admit I was a little freaked by the metal bats, but guess what: NO casualties! And no, that's not an overly large boy in the outfield...Joe came and joined us as he often does. We love visitors and players: come on over and hit one out of the park!

Monday, March 15, 2010

He Just Smiled and Gave Me a Vegemite Sandwich

Our pen pal, Carol, sent us a breakie parcel from Oz. Translated, that means breakfast package from Australia. Pretty much if you want to speak Aussie, just add an 'ies' to the end of everything. Sunnies, lollies, etc.
Sooo, in the interest of all things cultural, the kids got to try their very first vegemite thanks to our overseas pal. Notice Brody's look of trepidation.
Don't let Teressa's look belie the situation. She was the only one who liked Vegemite, so much so that in lieu of her snack, she had a second helping.
Johnny was close behind. This is a genuine 'thumbs up'.
Jayde, on the other hand... Maybe not so much. Cadin could barely keep it in his mouth and ran quickly to the bathroom trash. They were much happier with the chocolate milk packets! And pencils. Yay for great pen pals! Thanks Carol!

March Madness: Crazy Hat Day

Ahhh, an excuse to wear ball caps in school! Maybe not all of them were the craziest of hats, but Myron's home made mailbox sure qualified. He's got mail, by the way, since the flag is up.
Crazy? Maybe for Cadin. Wildly sharp and fashionable? Absolutely.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

March Madness: Crazy Hair Day

Yes, that is a bottle on her head. Can you tell they're all related? And that their mother is off island for a couple days and they've been left with their dad? Don't worry, Tammy, the checkerboard will grow out in a few days.

Bradley's been "saving" his hair for just this moment.

Heavy Labor

Remember last summer? Yeah, I agree...what summer?? It rained for two months straight. All of June and July, save I think three (count them) days, were rainy. So our community garden was a duck pond. And we lost a lot of topsoil with all the flooding.
So this year we've been making raised beds. Here's the old adage "Many hands make light work" in action.
We also dug a drainage trench across the entire garden and filled it with stray rocks to divert the rainwater. And we're building a bridge across it so it won't be necessary to walk in the wet areas, which creates more problems with mud. Though not everyone thinks mud is a problem:

March Madness: Backwards Day

The most uncomfortable of all March Madness days: Backwards Day! Seriously. The kids absolutely love voting for it and even wear their pants backwards. We honored it further, by changing our morning schedule around, which threw everyone for a loop. It was strange saying the Pledge of Allegiance before we went to lunch. Dylan was signing everything Nalyd all day.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Big Read

We've been reading The Call of the Wild to go along with The Big Read happening on MDI and the surrounding islands, so we celebrated by watching White Fang, since there's not a recent kid-friendly version of Call of the Wild. All the kids from 3rd grade up have been reading the book for the past three weeks. They read silently, then partner read, and I reread it aloud to make sure the vocabulary and dialects are understood. We just finished the part when Buck and Spitz fight, so we were holding our breaths, but when Buck came out on top, Myron and Brody turned to each other, exclaimed, "YES!" and then high-fived.

March Madness: Pajama Day

A great tradition was started by the previous teachers to celebrate March Madness. It breaks up the monotony of the winter months with some silliness. The kids voted for the week's themes, but since Monday was my birthday, I got to choose, and of course my vote was pajama day. Though it has nothing at all to do with college basketball, we were looking super sharp in our outfits. I wish every day was pajama day.