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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Mugs and Bowls Baby!

Jess and the kids were mixing up some glazes. Perfect time to try out the new gear she brought with her. They were stylin' bigtime.The glazes are nontoxic but we were being extra cautious as it's not good to breathe in lots of the dust. And did I mention we were stylin'? All we needed were big goggles to complete the ensemble.
Then Jess brought out a huge box. Full. Of. Gorgeous. Ceramics. That she had made. For us. Holy moly they were beautiful. We were ecstatic.
Everyone got to pick their pieces that they would glaze.

Yeah. And Mr. Finn in the background? With the green bowl on his head? Yeah, that's him drawing names out of the 'hat'. Jess took all the glazed items home to fire in her gargantuan kiln at home in Virginia. She is a gem, that girl, and about to embark on her Appalachian Trail thru hike in just THREE DAYS! You go, Jess! Frenchboro School loves you!

Indoor Games

After running around outside, we came in to chill out and play a few indoor games like pick up sticks and good ol' marbles. There were also tons of toys to try out, so we were all pretty busy having fun.

Games Tom Sawyer Played

After the austere indoor classroom environment, Linda took us all outside to play a few period games. The kids were more than happy to try everything out.
There were hoops galore. Some to roll.

And some to throw.

It was great fun even though the weather was a little wet. Rain never stopped Huck and Tom, and it doesn't stop us either!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Tom Sawyer Days

Jan Coates from Island Readers and Writers has been organizing another Big Read. Last time it was Call of the Wild. That was two years ago and the kids still pretend they're sled dogs named Buck. This time around it is Tom Sawyer that we're reading. The 5th and 6th graders are about halfway done with it so far and, though it's a tough read, they're enjoying it a lot. Jan came out and brought two guests: a period re-enactor who specializes in 1800's classrooms, and another teacher who specializes in period games. The kids came in from recess and the classroom had been rearranged with these items sitting at every seat. The teacher was all dressed up in old fashioned attire and made the kids bow and curtsy to her! It was priceless and I was too busy giggling to take photos.
She acted exactly as a teacher back in 1850 might act. The kids were, quite frankly, terrified. They had to stand and say "Ma'am" before they answered a question. Needless to say NOBODY was raising their hands.
They had to copy down a poem from their reader onto their slates, all the while memorizing the poem to say in front of the class. Then she called them up to look at their work and have them recite the poem. She even called Mr. Finn and me up to say it! She was hardcore.
Mr. Finn kept messing with Tyler and there was no way Tyler was going to get up to any funny business...he was a serious little student the entire time!
Brody and Austin having their work checked and reciting the poem.
They all had my handkerchiefs to use to blow their noses, since there were no tissues back then. Unfortunately everyone was sick with that nasty cough/snot mess that's been going around, so the hankies were used liberally. Thank goodness I don't have to wash things like they did back in the 1800s.

I honestly think that the kids didn't really realize that the teacher was an actor as they came in and she just immediately was in this role. They told us later that she scared the pants off them! So funny! And a real look into how our own 100 year old schoolhouse would have been like, minus the switches.

Ceramics: Day 1

It wasn't long before we were wielding our ceramics weapons like old pros.
The kids could answer all of Jessica's questions regarding previous ceramics lessons done over the past two years. We were very impressed with their retention.
Not one to spend a lot of time talking, though, Jessica had the kids jump right in with some beautiful white clay. They were working away in no time, creating all sorts of gorgeous items.
And the word of the day was still: smooth!
Some kids chose coils, and some slabs...and there were even a few pinch pots.
Bradley made a house with a large attached outdoor furnace.
What was Tyler working on for his very first ceramics class? Captain America's shield, of course!

Guess Who's Back?!

We were so excited that Jessica was coming back to Frenchboro to host a Week of Ceramics for us. We've really missed having her as our Island Fellow. You can really get attached to someone in two years and her leaving was pretty tough. The kids made some signs and even though it was Sunday, we met Jess down at the ferry pier.

It was a little windy. But that didn't stop us. Finally the ferry came into sight. And there was Jessica! So, so happy to see our friend!

Our Weather Station Has a Sense of Humor

It was a real downpour the other day and this message appeared at the bottom of our weather station. Hilarious! You can almost hear its robot voice reading it aloud, can't you?

Valentine's Day Art

Another great lesson from Art Projects for Kids. We worked on warm and cool colors and intermingling the hearts so they overlapped. It was a little time consuming, but they came out beautifully. I was sad to let them go home!

My How You've Grown

Hoppers is impossible to take photos of as she lunges at the camera every time I bring it near her. I finally got this not so great one to illustrate how enormous she has gotten. Over Christmas break, a guest to our house saw her and thought she'd been crossed with a giant breed. That worried me. She is an eating machine. In her cage it's like an angry inmate rattling their food plate on the bars. She takes her little bowl and begins tossing it around when it's empty. So I keep feeding her, which Mr. Finn insists is the real problem with her overall gigantic-ness. I just cannot help it. She loves her hay and sunflower seeds! She's like a ravenous animal whenever I throw food in there...she pounces like a lion! Luckily she's the most affectionate rabbit on earth and is constantly coming up to us for pets and loving when we let her run around the house or school. We'll have lots of good snuggling sessions over mid-winter break...which starts in a half hour! Have some wonderful time off, kids.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Frenchboro Film Festival

We had a great time at the Frenchboro Film Festival on Friday. The kids aired their short iMovies for the public and it was a rousing success. I seem to be having trouble uploading the rest of the films as an error message keeps coming up. Will try to get the rest of them up for your viewing pleasure! Thanks to everyone who came out and to Kay for the yummy banana bread. Great job, kids!

The Lost

Austin's movie was about an astronaut lost on the moon who and see!

Super Bob's Adventure

Bradley is like Indiana Jones on fast forward! Love the incorporation of Cortez from Social Studies class.


Johnny's movie about getting shipwrecked. I especially love when they're both falling overboard...great acting!

Save the House

Myron's film was based upon his recent work on small engine repair and his mom's connection to the fire department. The filming was challenging for the kids as they used iMovie to edit and it always cuts the tops off, so sometimes we're missing some heads!

A Bad Day Logging

Brody said his inspiration was based upon dangerous jobs featured on T. V. shows. Love the accents!

Dad's Hunting Trip

Tyler Frenchboro Film Festival contribution.

Seth vs. Evil Seth

One of our recent viewings at the Frenchboro Film Festival!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Shocking Science

Things got a little crazy in science class last week.
It always helps to have a teacher who is a five year old trapped in a bearded man's body.
The delights of static electricity know no bounds.
Even the normally stoic characters were giggling away.
Nobody could help but smile.

The properties of our world are so magical.

Teressa's hair was so full of static it was starting to stand up.

As the kids played around with the balloons, Mr. Finn was teaching about electricity, but the kids didn't know what was in store for them. They were curious about the silver orb on the pedestal.
The introduction to the strange machine and how it works was amusing. They were especially focused during the discussion of all the electrons being stripped then stored in the orb. They knew what that meant. When Mr. Finn plugged in the Van de Graff machine, they were so freaked out by the noise it made that they started backing up.
Then Mr. Finn wanted a volunteer to touch him. Hahahhaha! Look at their faces!
Finally a volunteer. Fist bump!
The sound of the shock was audible and all the kids gasped. Austin was unconcerned as it doesn't hurt, just sounds impressive. But even knowing that it wasn't painful didn't make any more volunteers step up quickly.

Heeeere's Johnny! He took a little cajoling to stick his hand out and kept quickly withdrawing before Mr. Finn could touch him, but contact was eventually made.
I think his sister took special pleasure in this event.
Myron volunteered next and was very cool, calm and collected as per usual.
Then it was time for them to try their hands at it. And hairs.
Saylor's was particularly responsive.

"I'm not going to touch it!"
Getting all charged up.
It took a lot of tries to get a couple pics of the discharging static, but everyone enjoyed watching Mr. Finn get zapped a hundred times.
The group zap did not work as our Van de Graff is too weak, but we could get the charge through a few kids. A fun day learning about electricity and atomic structure, for sure.