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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tyler's in Rare Form

Tyler's been sick for the past two days. He's come back and he's cooking with gas. Here's an update.

While walking back from getting the colored pencils, he called out, "Hey, Ms. Finn. Did you know Irish people used to walk like this?" Then he demonstrated by high stepping around the classroom, doing an occasional high kick for emphasis.

Me: Really? They walked like that?

Ty: Yeah. I know about it cause I'm part Irish.

Later on he was telling me about his dreams.
Ty: I can fly and have super strength. I lift up body weights.

Me: Body weights?

Ty: Yeah. I lift up body weights to get stronger in my dreams.

While drawing a picture to illustrate the steps of playing ball (with me, apparently) I asked him why he had colored himself in wearing all black.
Ty: I usually wear black pants and a black shirt cause I like to match.
Cadin (his brother) chimes in from the library. "No, Tyler. It's cause Mumma wants you to match. She's teaching him about matching."
Ty: Yeah. That's right. I don't care about matching. I'd just wear anything.

Me: Hey buddy, I really like this drawing you've made here.
Tyler: I got an idea, Ms. Finn! You could collect it!

Quote of the Day

While drawing what they're thankful for last week, I go over and look at Tyler's drawing.

Me: What's that, Ty? A turkey?
Ty: No. It's a duck.
Me: You're thankful for ducks?
Ty: Yeah. Cause I love 'em.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Water Bear Update

Well, after gathering samples of moss and lichen, soaking them overnight, and then creating wet mounts, Austin did find ONE water bear out of all our samples. We're going to keep looking as we're sure we have lots of the little tardigrades living in our mossy, lichen wonderland that is the Frenchboro trail system. No pics as I was too busy running from microscope to microscope saying, "No, that is not a water bear." Mr. Finn threw his back out (lifting a piano, for real...isn't that absurd?) so he was off island being "manhandled" (that really was the term the chiropractor used) so I wasn't my usual tourist self.

Turkey Symmetry

I've been wanting to do some symmetry art and so I whipped this up as a model for our turkey art on Friday. I wanted to keep it relatively simple as we've got some young kids who have a hard time cutting intricate patterns. I did mine in black and white, but I knew the kids would choose vibrant colors instead.
They chose which color would be the base and which would be cut. Then they cut the paper and drew the turkey half butting up against the cut edge.
I went around offering assistance as needed, and, of course, taking snaps. Brody is always ducking and turning when I lift the camera. For some reason, my begging worked and he laughed as I took this. I was so pleased that I'm wearing him down!
Myron thought this was hilarious. This is his hilarity face. For real. When he finds things really funny he gives a grin and chuckle.

Tyler finished first. I kept him occupied with posing with his turkey as everyone else finished up. As Seth exclaimed, "Tyler! You've got a Christmas turkey!"
Here they are with their finished products. I am continually amazed to see what they come up with after I've modeled a simple template. They are always so unique and creative. I was sad to send these home with them as they would look great on our walls!

Bennett and Bench

Last week, Raney Bench came out with Ursula to work on stereotypes. She is the educational director at the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor. She told stories and did some Native crafts with the kids, as well as talked about how different ethnic groups are often subjected to stereotyping.

Meanwhile, upstairs, Mike Bennett was back to do more drumming with the other group. He was very impressed with how much they remembered from last time and how much better at following rhythms they were this time around.
After lunch the two groups switched and K-3 came upstairs for drumming. Once we had the right size, we were ready for business.
Raney did more story telling and Native crafts with 4-6. It was great to listen to the her tell Wabanaki legends from memory.
Mike took a break to show some incredibly diverse and clever percussion instruments. Cadin is trying out a drum that you squeeze under your arm while hammering on the drumhead to make different sounds. Johnny has this bizarre instrument made out of rubber tubes that, when shook, makes a sound like birds squawking. He was convinced it was a dying squirrel.
Love this photo. This is Tyler's look of wonder. He has this on much of the time, which makes him a joy to teach.

Bump, Set, Spike!

Since it has been unseasonably warm, we've been able to play volleyball well into November. In fact, look what they're wearing! I mean, really, it's almost Thanksgiving! The sun's been shining most days and it's been in the high 60s even.
We start out every gym with some practice circles so everyone gets a chance to work on their serving and returning.
Then we jump into a game. No, our net is not regulation height, but we've got some little guys and gals, so we have to adjust a bit. It doesn't stop us from feeling challenged, either, as we're just really getting used to placing ourselves in front of a hurtling, hard ball that is the size of our head.

We are getting much better at not ducking for cover, or actually running away from the ball.
Not to mention our serves are improving exponentially from last year.
Once in a while, we even get a decent volley going back and forth over the net.
Some of our kids are real sharks at serving. This lady is one of them.
Most importantly, we're improving and having a great time doing it!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Blast from the Past

This is what greeted us four years ago. Look how little they are! So cute!

Hunger Games

We are all abuzz over here at Frenchboro School about the newly released trailer to the Hunger Games. Our 5th and 8th graders read it last year and we were slightly obsessed with the series. Myself more than included in the "we" part. What's not to love about a strong female lead character whose weapon of choice is a bow and arrow?!! LOVE it.

Anyhoooo....maybe a field trip in March will be in order.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Cole Transportation Museum

I didn't post pictures earlier about our trip to the Cole Transportation Museum in Bangor. We went their on our last day during the Bangor/Orono trip. We were taken on a tour by volunteer, who also happened to be a WWII veteran. The Cole Museum does a lot of work on the Veteran's Project which transcribes veteran's stories for posterity. They work a lot with local schoolchildren. In fact, children are admitted free of charge. That's how dedicated the museum is when it comes to providing educational outreach. Quite special, isn't it?
But all that aside...they have some killer antique autos. The chrome, the wooden steering was all too much for us.
Here's my favorite. My maiden name is McCann, so I took a lot of pictures of this 1927 McCann fire truck. Even the gauges said McCann. My dad would just love it.
We had some thoughts that our previous Frenchboro fire engine would have fit in great next to this pumper. Nate is shown here demonstrating how not to touch the equipment, kids.

To heck with a school bus. We should get this baby out on Frenchboro!
It would TOTALLY fit all our school kids in the back! What? No heat you say? They're tough!
We got to hear about the train got to the museum (and the museum was really built around it once it was in place!) and we even got to go inside.
The beds were reeeeally teeny. But that didn't stop the kids from trying them out.
Here's one for all you Cars fans. Fly, Stanley! Be free!
I told Seth that Johnny was going really fast. He acted accordingly.

This one is in honor of Pop Finn. A GM man his entire life.

Mr. Finn and Tyler, out for an evening drive.
Thanks so much to everyone at the Cole Museum, and to the parents for shlepping the kids hither and yon.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Finding Out What Gelatin is Made From

So, we did some experiments using gummy bears. Never, in the four years that we've been teaching these kids, have we ever gotten quite the reaction as we did today when we talked about where gelatin comes from. I wish I had the sound track. As I read the Wikipedia entry, there was a chorus of screams and groans.

Teressa almost passed out when she heard that marshmallow comes from the same place.

Saylor is pretty deadpan. I rarely get photos of her freaking out. Until today. She was seriously....
Best class. I think they were more scared by this than the haunted school.

Bigelow Labs Visit #2

I'll apologize up front for the massive amount of pictures. It's like I suffer from some disease or something. I'm currently moving over my photos to my new computer and I've got over 10,000 of them. Frightening. But I just can't pass up photos like these, of our favorite crazy haired German phytoplankton expert! Jochen was back out for a visit, and he brought a friend.Here's David. He's a zooplankton specialist. He came out to tell us about all those amazing microorganisms that we saw last time zipping around beneath our microscopes. And, like all scientists, he has a bunch of really neat gadgets. The device he has in his hand is a spectrometer that uses the data gathered from the bending of light through water to show the salinity content of different samples.
This here is a niskin, an open-ended tube that can be dropped to whatever depth of ocean water you wish to sample. When you're at the right depth, you yank on the cord, and the two plunger gaskets close, sealing the water inside for you to bring to the surface for data gathering.
We may be into science out here in Frenchboro School, but if you really want to win us over, you just need to chase us with a ball. And throw it at us. We love that SO much!

After lunch it was bigtime data gathering. Here's David, Teressa, and Brody about to lower the niskin to gather some sea water samples.
On the other side of the bridge was Jochen, lowering the secchidisc to check out the depth of visibility which helps to gauge how much phytoplankton and zooplankton are present in the water.

Once we got our sample, we checked out the salinity, using the spectrometer.

I was not the only one who was freezing! You know it's bad when these boys (who wear t-shirts in a snow storm) are huddled up for warmth! The wind was whipping so fast, we could barely write our data down.
Mr. Finn, trying out the school's spectrometer on another water sample.

Tyler making sure that Jochen was gathering the zooplankton correctly. We used a finer mesh last time since the phytoplankton are smaller than zooplankton. As we looked at water from the bottom of the cod end, though, we could see right away all the tiny organisms that were present.Jochen tested the secchidisc over on the other side of the ferry pier, but we kept running into problems because the tide was so low, so the disc would hit bottom before we could lose sight of it, so our data wasn't accurate.
We also stopped at the inner harbor to take salinity readings to compare to the ferry pier. You never know what strange thing you'll find down on the flats. Cadin came up to me with this very small fork. A child's fork. I saw right away that it looked to be silver, or silver plated, and there were words on it. We pocketed it and I looked it up to find it was a Puss in Boots silver plated child's fork. How bizarre.

David told us about the different kinds of zooplankton that are present in different parts of the world, and ones that we'd be likely to see in our ocean.Aren't these the most magical animals? If we discover life on other planets, I would expect it to look like these little guys.
Then it was time to check out our samples.
I agreed with Teressa when she said, "I could look at this all day."
Before school was out, Jochen did a demonstration on PH levels, as we've been talking about the acidity in the water and the increase in certain areas that is causing damage to zooplankton. The kids took samples of different liquids to identify if it was an acid or a base. Don't drink too much Coke, kids.
Lastly, it was time for us to show them our Lego Robotics table. The robot did most of its missions successfully and David was very impressed. What an amazingly full and informative day. Thanks again to David and Jochen for waking up at the crack of dawn to catch the ferry and spend the day with us. We so appreciated it!