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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Cross Country Race #1

On Saturday, our population doubled. The Swan's island cross country team showed up with their families. It was amazing to see 20 runners come off the Gott Boat.
We all got ready in the community building. Everyone got official bibs this year, which was great. No more ripping up old sheets and using sharpies to write the numbers.

The starting line was right outside the community building and there were four races. Here is the K-2 race, which was the largest (and cutest).
The last race was 7-8th. Here Cody and Dylan are neck and neck on the Low Road, about ready to head out to Gooseberry Point. Their course was about 2 miles long.

Thanks so much to Leah Joy for bringing her team over, and thanks to Kim, who ferries the Gott Boat, for saving the day and making an unexpected trip in windy weather! We hope to do this again soon!

Mascot Voting

Does your school have a mascot? Of course it does. Every school has a mascot, right? Well, that's what I thought, until I moved to Frenchboro. Perhaps it's because this school has never had an official sports team, but all we could find in terms of mascot potential was a Frenchboro School flag. It had a lobster boat on it. Mr. Finn suggested that perhaps we were the Roaring Lobster Boats. It sure has a ring to it.

Well, we did some asking around our first year and there was no official mascot that anyone knew about, so we decided upon the Sea Monsters for our Lego Robotics team. Then the following year we began a cross country running team and competed against two other island schools. We thought it would be nice to have an official mascot in case we wanted to make t-shirts or signs.

This year we got organized. The kids came up with a large (very large) list of possible mascots. I especially liked Bradley's, which was the Sharpened Pencils. We put up a sheet at the post office, asking for ideas. Then the kids took their favorites from both lists. After numerous write-in votes, we had pared the list down to five. Hurricanes, Sea Monsters, Kingfishers, Power Strike (no, it's not a Power's a lightning bolt), and Sharks.

The kids made up official ballots. They plastered the town with voting signs. They set up a voting station at the school. Then they called. Everyone. Like...multiple times. Let's just say that we had more voter turnout than any town will have in the gubernatorial race this year. And, if you could talk, you could vote.

Which meant that Jay could vote. Cause technically he CAN talk.

The winner?

We are now officially the Frenchboro Kingfishers. It's got a good ring to it. Maybe not as snazzy as the Sharpened Pencils, but, ya know...the adults got votes, too.

Cynthia Lord Visits

Island Readers and Writers were out for another visit last week. We look forward to these visits all year. This time it was Cynthia Lord, the author of Touch Blue (and a Newberry winner for her other book, Rules!). As usual, when newcomers show up, they went through the greeting line.
Then Cynthia presented on her book, Touch Blue, which is a story about a foster boy named Aaron, who moves to an island off the coast of Maine. The island was in danger of losing its school due to low enrollment, so the islanders hatched a plan to bring in foster kids. Crazy idea? Nope. Cynthia got the idea from real events that happened here on our island in the 1960s. Enrollment dropped to two students, and the state threatened to close the school, so the idea of taking in foster children was born.
Then something really cool happened. Four schools came for a visit. Monhegan tuned in over Skype (that's them propped up on the copy paper) and Isle au Haut, Matinicus and Cliff showed up on our Polycom. They got to hear Cynthia present about her book, and then they could ask questions such as, "What inspired you to write Touch Blue?" and "What is your favorite book?" It was great to see all the kids and to hear their questions and comments.
After we hung up with the other outer islands, it was our turn to present. We put on our iMovie that was a compilation of an interview done with David, a Frenchboro man who told about his memories of the foster care program, then the 5th and 8th graders responding to questions about Touch Blue. Cynthia seemed to really enjoy it.
Lastly, Cynthia read her new picture book Hotrod Hampster. That little dude is seriously cute, and he loves a fast car! It was interesting to hear about her connection with her illustrator and how he put in little drawings of his dog, Friday, and her dog, Milo. I thought that was great. Many thanks to Jan and Cynthia for journeying out to Frenchboro on a windy day!

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Dentist is in Town

Carol, the dental hygienist came to Frenchboro to do a clinic for the residents. Then she came to the school and did a little presentation. Then she started reading a book about teeth to the kids. There were some rather, ahem, nasty pictures of the effects of not taking care of your teeth. Cadin was riveted. I wish I had video taped it as his sound effects were quite amusing.
It started out rather tame and then got grosser and grosser.

Then the last picture:
Cadin thought he was going to barf. I think he brushed his teeth five times that night.

COA visit

As part of their career skills, we took the boys on a tour of the College of the Atlantic. Ursula, our guidance counselor, had set it up with the college and we got to have breakfast there and take a campus tour with one of the students. It's a beautiful campus and has such an interesting history. It was nice to see what our local area has to offer, and a nice cap to our field trip.

Diver Ed

Okay, so this guy, Diver Ed, takes folks out on tours off the coast of Bar Harbor. He has a boat called something like Starfish Enterprise. Does this tell you what sort of guy he is? Yup...he's like a five year old in a man's body. Here he is showing the procedure for putting on a life jacket...on his dog.
This is just proof that Tammy was watching Marissa's kids very closely. I think she's watching Diver Ed like a hawk just in case he came at her with a sea cucumber.
Here's DE getting geared up. Dry suit, tank, weight belt, regulator....all ready to dive!
Then, the kids got to push him off the back end of the boat...quite literally. They absolutely loved this part.
Diver Ed went down to the bottom to scout for creatures. Here he is coming up to get the camera after his first dive.
He took the camera down to the bottom so that we could get an upclose view of everything he was seeing. Here's a beautiful anemone that he found.
Then DE came up again and did this to his suit. Then he had a kid pull his finger. Yeah...he's that kind of guy. Kids LOVE him.
I didn't get any good shots of Diver Ed putting the animals into his mouth. Sea cucumber, in the mouth. Sea the mouth. Diver Ed has a thing about kissing all the sea creatures. He even kissed crabs and lobsters. He encouraged all the kids to kiss everything as well. It was a feast of disgustingness and hilarity that every kid reveled in. DE set up some touch tanks up front for the kids to explore. I think, by far, that Diver Ed was the highlight of our field trip!


We had a great time at the Oceanarium. They have a real lobsterboat right there inside the building. A fisherman talked to us about the changes the industry has gone through over his many years out on the water.
Then he showed us a blue lobster! So cool. Isn't it beautiful? I've never seen one. They are very rare, but lots of fishermen have seen one over the years.
Then we went to the touch tank. Everyone got to pass around a sea cucumber. My brother and I used to shoot each other with these when we were kids, out fishing with my uncle.
And horseshoe crabs may very well be my new favorite animal. Did you know they see in color? How amazing! Look at the underside....fascinating.
Then we went to the actual fishery part of the oceanarium. We got to hear about the life cycles of lobsters and look at the tanks where they are held.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Neighborhood House

After our adventures at Ship Harbor, we went to the Abbe Museum. No, this is not the Abbe. They wouldn't let us take photos. I had anxiety attacks, not being able to photograph every moment, but I got over it when we arrived at the Neighborhood House in Northeast Harbor. They generously let all us island folks stay there for two nights. Here's Becky and her kids...she's smiling, a good sign since her family was about to sleep on the floor, and all us adults just love that.
The kids found some great cushions to use underneath their sleeping bags. I have to admit...I brought an Aerobed! Seriously. Camping with thermarest I can totally handle, but a thermarest on hardwood floors...hmmm...maybe not.
That night, all the kids played some games. I was introduced to Apples to Apples. Cody was introduced to poker. Big mistake. The kid cleaned house. It didn't matter that it was Monopoly money, he was totally psyched and talked about it all the next day.
Then it was time to get cozy. And no, he didn't sleep in the hat. I don't think.
In the morning, we gathered around to talk about the plans for Day 2: Oceanarium, Diver Ed, and Whale Museum!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Tidepools are COOL!

Ship Cove is a beautiful place to sit and enjoy the view.
Stunning, eh?
Just a short distance away, we gathered around again for our tidepool talk. The kids were encouraged to gather animals and plants from the tidepools, but to be careful not to harm any of the creatures.
Mr. Finn, enjoying the view.
Then they were set loose. And I do mean that literally. They were totally in their element and found lots of goodies.
After about a half hour of exploration we got together to share and identify our finds. Ranger Mike had an impressive amount of knowledge about all the plants and animals that were passed around.

Tyler demonstrating the correct way to hold an urchin. We got to see sea stars, various kind of seaweed and kelp, sea sponges, urchins, mussels, crabs, whelks, winkles (don't you love to say that? winkle, winkle, winkle), and so much more. It was a fun and interesting adventure. Thanks to Acadia National Park and all the good things they do for kids.

Tidal Exploration 101

Ranger Mike took us through the woods and down to the ocean. He gave everyone a double sided scavenger hunt card that the kids could use to find various flora and fauna on our walk. He gave us some instruction before sending us off exploring. Here's Austin listening to him talk about the tidal ecosystem.

More good listeners. They may not always talk much, but they sure are polite!

Then we set off to see what we could find. Cadin and Tyler partnered up. Not sure if Tyler's wanting to give up the card to big brother or not.
Bradley was all business. If he'd had a checklist and a highlighter he would have been all over it. As it was he just pointed to each picture and said, "Check! Check!"