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Monday, February 28, 2011

Go Ahead...Hate Me

I've never been one of those folks who slip away to warmer climes during the winter months, but Mr. Finn has a buddy who moved to the British Virgin Islands last year. We got an invite. We did not turn it down. We became certified Open Water Divers, which was so amazing, and did a lot of snorkeling and hiking in the National Park. Coming home to a blizzard and 10 degrees was not fun.

Not fun at all.

Thank goodness the kids are so adorable and funny or you would not have gotten me on that plane.

1:1 student/teacher ratio

Picture this. Day before vacation. Three out of 12 kids show up. What do you do? Eat leftover Valentine's candy and enjoy a very mellow ceramics class with Jessica. (Yes. She may very well kill me for posting this photo.)
There was eating before there was playing with clay for the most part. Priorities, you know.

Little Debbie snack cakes were a big hit.
Maybe it was the sugar, but Mr. Finn's creation was decidedly bizarre.
Jessica just started on up, not sure what she was making. Everyone just sat and worked and talked now and again. It was so relaxing and pleasant to hang out together and have a private little workshop. This has never happened in the three years we've been here, and I doubt it happens much in other classrooms unless there's a big stomach flu going around!
Saylor made a great mug and is working on a little ceramic house.
Brody and his BIG MUG.

I didn't even take pictures of the lovely morning we had skating on the pond in 45 degree weather!

Polycom with Ursula

The older kids met with Ursula and continued on with the 'decision making' theme. This time, they were given a choice between four closed paper bags. The first time around, they had to make a totally blind guess. From their seats they had to just choose a bag number. Some chose their lucky numbers, others focused on looking at the shape of the bags. After that go around, they were allowed to lift the bag up. They could feel the weight of it, and some changed their numbers based upon the new information. Lastly, they could feel the bag and decide if they wanted to change their number or not. It was so interesting to see their thought processes. Some were very affected by the weight of the bag, while others reasoned that many good things are light rather than heavy. The latter ended up being good reasoning as one bag had money. The heavy bag was an onion. But, it just as easily could have been something round filled with coins. It brought up some interesting thoughts and discussions for us all to chew on.
Our polycom was working properly for Ursula's makeup visit. She did some fun games with the kids about leading and following, communication skills, etc.

Most of the kids said they thought that leading was easier and more fun because you knew what was going to happen next.

One student said they didn't like leading as much because it was difficult to think things up.

And there was some fun to be had for sure.

Doing the haaaand jive baaabay!

Whiff of Pine

The week before break, some of the kids were working on a poetry book called A Whiff of Pine, a Hint of Skunk. It is written by Deborah Ruddell and illustrated by Joan Rankin. It's hard not to love all the silly, whimsical poems and illustrations. The kids took their final test and everyone passed easily, which is always heartening. They learned about rhyme scheme, poetry structure, and meter. I was really impressed with their memorization skills, too!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Happy Vacation!

This is where Mr. Finn and I will be for the next week. Happy Vacation, everyone!

*ships aweigh yacht club photo

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Fridays is share day. Seth raises his hand.

Seth: I've got a share.
Mr. Finn: What is it?
Seth: My dance moves. Wanna see 'em?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Data, Data, Data

The kids are really cooking with gas now. They've been working with Numbers which is a pretty difficult program for kids what with all those crazy cells and whatnot, but they're really getting the hang of it and now have a month's worth of comparative weather data for Frenchboro and Jackman. Graphing the data will be the fun part!

Charlie Wing Visits!

We were lucky enough to have a prolifically published author visit our school for Wednesday and Thursday. His name in Charlie Wing and he usually writes How-To books like the one above and below. He's published over 30 books. Thirty.

Here's Charlie going through the very small greeting line. We were missing 7 students out of 12, so it was very mellow.
We always ask out guests if they're willing to present on a topic. It just so happens that Charlie has written a book on knot tying. How sweet is that? And relevant to our lobstering/boating kids!
Here's Johnny with his reef/square knot.
Jayde was really impressive with her quickness. She won the figure 8 knot tying contest.
Charlie teaching Saylor the bowline. I used this knot a LOT when I working backstage in college. Remember the rabbit and the tree??
After knot tying, we worked on our Lego track meet robots. Charlie was really into it.
Actually, EVERYONE was really into it.

Island2Island Poetry

After having such a great day with Monhegan School when they came for a visit recently, we didn't want the fun to end, so we decided to do some collaboration on poetry using the polycom system and a wiki that Jessie set up. I did an explanation and background on haiku first so that we could all know the form, then we set to work creating our own haiku poems and posting them to the wiki.
We did Who Am I? haikus to make it fun and approachable for everyone. They had to follow the 5/7/5 syllable rules, and they could only give hints as to what their poem was about, then they posted and everyone could write down what their guess were. We were working away for a half hour and what was funny was that hardly anyone was even talking because they were posting responses directly to the wiki.

Thanks to Jessie for setting that up for us, and we look forward to the next lesson: limericks! That will go great with our Celtic art studies!

Weathering and Erosion

The kids have been working on lots of Earth Science since the new year started. We began with the water cycle, moved into the layers of the atmosphere, studied the layers of the earth and are now starting to talk about the rock cycle. Mr. Finn introduced the concepts of weathering and erosion first as it's easy to begin to see that rocks can change. Seth here is checking out particles of sand and seeing how many different types of rocks and minerals are present. He really liked the special magnifier.
The kids got a chance to see all kinds of physical and chemical weathering around the world. They were totally blown away that ice, wind and water could create such incredible changes on the earth.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Gopher Tag

As you know, we got a bundle of snow in the last big storm. FINALLY! A REAL SNOWSTORM! Mr. Finn and I were so excited. We even got to go cross country skiing for the first time in the three winters we've been out here. Snow is so much fun. One of my favorite things to do in the snow is to build forts. I know, I know...I'm a 36 year old woman. Forts, shmorts. But seriously. Over Christmas break when we got a snowstorm at our house in Cherryfield, I totally went out and dug a fort in the big snowbank out front. Needless to say, the kids and I can truly agree on how to have fun in the snow.
They started digging in the huge snowbank before school. Then again at recess. And at lunch break. The ice was looking shoddy, so we thought we'd have a different sort of gym.
It was a manual labor sort of gym. Everyone was digging tunnels like crazy, and then connected said tunnels together. It was like an ant colony in action. I told Cody I thought it was the greatest fort I'd ever seen.
Then all of a sudden, after about 45 minutes of work, Mr. Finn calls out, "Gopher Tag!" Yes, he created it on the spot, but it was still a great game. One kid would be it and all the kids would scream and dive into the nearest tunnel to escape being tagged. There were kids popping out of holes all over the place. It was highly entertaining to watch. I value my knees, so I was not a part of this particular event (though Mr. Finn is still bruised heavily on both patellas).

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Celtic Art

Last week we started studying Celtic art. We did a little background history and then worked a little on a very basic three-pronged knot. This week we wanted to step it up a little, so we practiced a four-pronged knot together and then everyone got to choose another one to work on by themselves.
I really wanted them to focus on the shapes themselves and break it down into manageable parts. We worked diligently for a long time...a very silent class full of concentration!
Dylan chose the most difficult one of all to attempt and was doing a great job mapping out his design.
Cody had a couple false starts as he kept getting "lost" in his drawing. It's hard to keep track of where you are, so I told the kids they could mark up their master copy to keep track of the pattern they had drawn and what they hadn't.
There is so much at work with interwoven design and I didn't want them to trace or to erase lines that went under others. The idea was to freehand draw, but to work on fitting everything together so it looked connected.

Austin also chose the most difficult design, but he stuck with it, even when the going got tough!
Saylor's looks like that yummy bread that gets woven together. Challah bread?
Funny that Johnny and Teressa both liked the same one...great matching up of the lines.

Mr. Finn and I circulated and gave some tips. I was really impressed with the skill level! These kids have come a long way artistically in three years!