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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What's in the Tank?

Our fishermen are so awesome. They bring us the coolest stuff for our tank. This is my favorite little guy! Isn't it the cutest thing? Can you believe that's a real fish. A lump fish. And get has a suction cup on the bottom and it attaches itself to the bottom of our tank. I love love love these cuties. We can only keep them for short periods as we don't want them to perish. But I just want to pet this little guy all the time! Unfortunately, they're covered with spines and have a very rough texture to their skin, but in my mind, I can cuddle it.
This whelk has been getting around. It's all over the place.

How funny is this crab. I think it's called a spider crab. He hangs out on top of the whelks.
Straight out of Sponge Bob. I can never believe the eyeballs on these things. They defy logic. Then there were the 'other' creatures that were not even remotely familiar to me. Ever heard of a rough mantled doris? Nope. I hadn't either. Then they began congregating at the corner of the tank. And. Well. Things started happening. At first we thought it was like some part of the stomach coming out in these furling waves around the edges of their bodies. White furling waves. Then. They left the waves behind. Many discussions ensued from this event. The waves are still attached to the walls of the tank. We shall see.

And then there is the (shudder) tube worm thing with the tentacles. We thought it was dead. It was not. It became apparent to us as it was in a different place every morning. Could be Henry the school ghost messing with us, but I doubt it. I was going to take a photo but it has somehow moved itself behind all the rocks. I know, I's an amazing creature. But it's like, you know, some creatures are just cuter than others. Lump fish=cute! Tube worm thing=a leeeeetle freaky. This will not at all change the kids' desire to touch it when we remove it from the tank.

Friday, March 18, 2011

March Madness

Yup. It's that time again. We started out March Madness week with PJ day, but I neglected to get photos, but I did take pics of Crazy Hair Day, which was on Tuesday. Some kids explained that they'd been growing their hair out for the occasion so they'd have something to work with. They take this very seriously. I, for my part, got out wire and managed to braid my hair around the wire. I looked like an ant on steroids, but it was all in good fun.
I think Bradley looks awesome. What a cool dude.
Then Brody came in walking backwards. He calls this "his other brother." We spent all day saying, "Brody, tell your brother to stop looking at me." Hilarious.
On the third day, the kids had voted for, get this, Silent Day. Where they came up with this idea, I'll never know, but I was ALL for it! Before they showed up I put whiteboards at all their seats. It was amazing. They really were silent all day (except for recess as we wanted to give them a chance to scream and get it out of their systems). What I didn't expect was how much they loved writing on the white boards. They have never been so into Morning News! Seth had a little trouble, but managed to do a lot of gesticulating to get his point across.
Bradley and Saylor are working on math. Bradley had a question and she helped him.
So cute!

Moody Artists 2

This was our second attempt at creating mood with our artwork. We talked more about color, contrast, shade and shape. The kids could again use water color, pastels or charcoal. This time, though, they had to focus on a different mood than last time. We made a large list of moods to get our juices flowing. Then we set to work. Again, it was very quiet and focused. Everyone worked steadily for the entire hour. We were all happy with the results.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Swimming Lessons at the Y

We got the opportunity to go off island on Wed. for swimming lessons at the Y. Normally this would be a two day affair with us going off on Wed. and spending the night at a hotel and then coming back on the Thurs. afternoon ferry. But the wonderful folks at the Seacoast Mission offered up the use of their boat, the Sunbeam, so that we could return in the afternoon with them. It was still a nightmare of shuttling cars from Northeast Harbor to Bass Harbor, but we were so happy for the chance for a one day field trip in the middle of March that we weren't complaining! The Y in Bar Harbor is totally awesome. I haven't been in there since high school and I'd forgotten what a great pool they have. The kids love swimming but they lack skills so this was a chance to have a real instructional session with two of the teachers as well as some free time in the pool.
Noodles were a big hit.
This was the first time on the diving board for the kids. They were a little tentative at first but then it was cannonball city.
There was also a water basketball game with a net that attaches near the pool. Everyone was totally exhausted but happy at the end of the day. Thanks to the Sunbeam folks...we couldn't have done it without you!


We got some new gym equipment! Lacrosse sticks. I have this much experience with lacrosse: I watched my friend during her practice. So we were all pretty new at this, which is a lot of fun and kind of hilarious. You know you're a beginner when you and your partner cheer about being able to catch their throw just once, and you really start jumping up and down when you pass it back and forth successfully.
We spent most of our time just practicing the catching and throwing. Here's Jayde chucking the ball with great concentration.
A bit of a reach!
This technique is quite something. He kept calling out: Throw the ball into my net!

We also practiced trying to hit a target from varying distances. Okay, so the target happened to be a huge chain link fence.

Then we played a game. Things were going pretty well until Seth got hit in the face and got a bloody nose. Seriously. That is just the worst feeling in the world during P. E. to have someone get injured. I'm hoping he's not put off lacrosse for the rest of his days!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Moody Artists

One of the artistic standards that the kids have to work on is to create an artwork to represent mood. They were open to different media: charcoal, pastel, or watercolor. The only requirement was that they did a scene from nature. They could have buildings but to avoid doing people. The reason for that was so that they didn't have faces with expressions to create mood, rather style and color. I love that Dylan did this charcoal drawing of a lighthouse. Charcoal is a particularly difficult medium and he did a spectacular job with his lighthouse.

A lot of the kids chose pastels to work with, like Austin here. He was going for a peaceful mood, with the rocks and water. I love that color blue!
Teressa's mood choice was happy. She used the brightest colors in the palette and had a nice focal point of the red flower with the sunset in the back.
Bradley also was working on a sunset piece, but he said he was going for sad which I was surprised by since orange is such a bright, uplifting color.
Johnny was at a different table than his sister, but he went for the bright flowers as well. Van Gogh eat your heart out. Mood: 'super happy'.
Seth was doing "pink tornadoes" and "orange hurricanes". Mood: use your imagination.

After everyone was finished, the kids had to go around and guess what mood was being depicted. We were pretty on-target for most of them. I really liked having very loose 'rules' and the freedom of expression they all came up with. When I first started teaching them art, the kids really wanted to be told what to do. If they were given a task to just create something, they would stare at the paper. This task showed me just how much they had grown as artists as there was no hesitation in either their choice of medium or their subject matter. They all just dove in! It was pure magic to watch.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Limericks with Monhegan!

Jessie from Monhegan was teaching us about limericks today. Here she is talking to us through the polycom, going over the lesson. After she was done teaching, we could see her and her Monhegan students. We worked on limericks and posted them to our poetry wiki. It was really great to see the Monhegan School. The limericks were a little more challenging than haiku, but we were getting the hang of it pretty fast. We not only posted, we got to read everyone else's and post comments. Thanks Monhegan! Can't wait to see you guys again.

Dance Party

This was taken during our Valentine's Day party. I find this hilarious for all sorts of reasons. I love how Seth is getting down like a wild man, completely uninhibited. Then I panned to the rest of the group. It was like they didn't even notice Seth having his very own dance party right in the middle of the classroom! I mean, Hello! that kid is Getting DOWN! In fact, he only stopped dancing to occasionally run to his seat to eat a bit of candy or brownie, then he was back at it.

I put on a Best of the Beatles album and he was off and running immediately, calling out, "Hey! I love this Valentine's music!"

I did join him. And I taught him some new moves. I was especially tickled by the reenactment of the Pulp Fiction dance where you pull your two fingers in front of your eyes. He liked that one. And the 'under the sea' one where you hold your nose and pretend you're going under. Were were also "Walking like Egyptians"? Yes. Yes we were.

Everyone should take a page from the book of Seth. Get out there. Who cares who's watching. Get down and have some fun!

Reading Rules

How do you decide which partner reads first? Rock, Paper, Scissors, obviously.
Every day, the kids read a few pages with their partners and then read the rest of the assignment silently. While their partner reads, they follow along so they don't miss anything, and they also offer assistance if needed.
It's nice reading in a comfy chair with your best friend.
While the other group read in the library, Johnny and Jayde were finished with their reading and had moved on to answering questions about what they read about. I really like the team approach. It's so much more social and helpful. The kids are all working on individual standards at their grade level, so that Johnny and Jayde can work together, though she's a first grader and he's a second grader. I tend to work toward the highest denominator rather than the lowest. So Jayde is reading a harder book with assistance from me and her partner, rather than having Johnny read a much easier book than his level. Jayde is assessed differently than Johnny as well, on her own standards and expectations for first grade. Her homework books are first grade level so that she doesn't struggle at home. There is so much at work in a one-room school house. This reading class has 1st-5th grade in it! Where else would you find that in action?!

Fishermen's Forum

Though we had a little technical difficulty getting patched in to the Tanberg system at the Island Institute, it sure was worth it to listen to the Fishermen's Forum going on in Rockland. Our kids got to listen to experienced fishermen talk about how lobstering has changed and the effects of weather on their islands/communities.
Since all our kids fish and most intend on continuing the practice, we are rather unique as an island community. Most island schools are populated with kids whose parents are not lobstering as a career anymore, though it used to be the case that almost all island kids were sons and daughters of fishermen.
After lunch, we tuned in again. This time, we had several other schools join in as well. This is such a cool thing. Here we had three schools tuning in to a live conference that was happening in Rockland and you could see and hear everyone. This is technology at its best.
Here we all are. Rockland is on top. Monhegan in the lower left, Cliff in the lower middle, and Frenchboro in the lower right.
The fishermen got to hear us report on our STORMS weather project that we are doing through the Island Institute and ask questions about it. We also got to ask questions of the fishermen. One of my favorites is: What's the weirdest thing you've ever gotten in a trap?

Thanks to all the schools and fishermen and to the Island Institute for arranging it and letting us tune in!

Watercolors and Pigment Pencils

Jessica came in on Tuesday to work with us on glazing our pre-fired pieces. She came bearing goodies, too. There were pigment pencils and a water color palette to work with. We were focusing on clear glazing, so this was perfect to put under the glaze. The kids could choose a low fire or high fire glaze.
Saylor had a beautiful mug to work with and she chose a high fire glaze so she'd be able to drink out of it.
Again with the boats! Have you ever seen so many ceramic boats in all your life? They look great, though, and here Austin is adding a high fire glaze, patting carefully so as not to smudge the pigment and watercolor he added.
Johnny's at the low fire table. You cannot mix the glazes! If you high fired the low fire glaze it would melt all over the kiln and ruin it, so we were extra careful to not mix the pieces. The low fire also needs a lot of layers, so Johnny is patiently waiting for it to dry. Like watching water boil.
Aha! A boat! How unusual. This one, though, is actually modeled after his own boat, Ocean Wave.
Look at Jayde's beautiful mug. She's become quite the artiste! And what a perfect size for a first grader.
Dylan had several pieces. This is a box with a cover on it. I especially liked his globe that he made. Can't wait to see what it looks like after it's fired.
Saylor usually makes larger mugs with smaller handles. Bradley is the exact opposite! I love this about character.
Everyone working at the high fire table. I did a little plate with a sea turtle on it. It's very exciting to look forward to the final product because you just don't know how it's going to turn out! Let's hope everything ends up intact!