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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Mrs. McCann's Phys. Ed.

 My mom, who will forever be referred to by the thousands of students she has influenced as Mrs. McCann (just try getting through a grocery store with her sometime), came out for visit on the Friday before break.  Our tradition is to have the guest lead the school in some sort of activity.  Since my mom has been an educator for decades, this was not a problem. 
 In fact, her roots are as a Phys. Ed. teacher.  She was the person who taught every single student in five different K- 8 schools over a ten year period.  So when I said thousands earlier, it was no joke.  When I was a kid, Mrs. McCann was MY Phys. Ed. teacher and boy was she good.  We did everything in that class from tumbling to folk dancing, but my all-time favorites were the humongous cage ball, and of course, the parachute. 
 I had completely forgotten that we had a parachute in the school.  How is that even possible?  It came up as this sort of conversation, with my husband.  "My mom's coming out and she's going to do Phys. Ed. with the kids.  (pause) Darn. I sure wish we had a big parachute."  Doug looked at me in puzzlement.  "Honey.  We do have a parachute."  Me: "Huh?" 
 Well, good.  We had a parachute.  All systems a go for Mrs. McCann's arrival.  We sure did have a blast with that thing.  My forearms were sore for like three days after from all the gripping and vigorous shaking we were doing.  We played tons of games and activities and just did a lot of screaming and giggling.

 One of the last activities is called "Superman".  Everyone lifts the parachute high high high, and then one side LETS GO!  The ones still holding on run like crazy and the parachute flies out behind them like a cape.  Boy did they run.
They didn't stop running until the got to the benches.  What a great time.  Thanks to my mom, whose birthday just happens to be today as I post this.  Love you so much, Mum.  Thanks for being the biggest educational inspiration in my life.

Improv Visit

 Before break, Rob Benson was kind enough to organize a visit from Improvacadia which is a wonderful group right on MDI.  Jen and Larrance came out to do some great improv games and activities with the kids. 
 One of the things they did was create a "machine".  Every student had a different sound and action.  It started with just a few kids and then everyone jumped in over time to add on to the mess of noises and motions.  It was really fun to watch and participate in, for sure!
 They also played a game where one student leaves the room and the rest create a circle with one person chosen to be the leader.  Everyone has to follow that person, but try not to look directly at them to give it away, so they focus on someone else in the circle who can see the leader more directly.  Then the person who left is called back in to guess who is leading the group motion.  It was harder than you might think to guess!
 The kids also had to come up with their own commercials about either basketball or tacos.  Those choices were kid-created of course.  They had about ten or fifteen minutes to come up with their idea, a jingle, and their spoken lines, which they then presented to the whole group.  I was really impressed with their on-the-spot creativity.
At the end we were really sad to see Jen and Larrance go.  If you have the chance while on MDI, check them out as you're in for a lot of laughs!

Lunch Time

We have lunch from 11-12 every day.  That's correct.  The children walk home and eat lunch since we have no cafeteria.  It is also our time for prep so Mr. Finn and I eat at the school and then do a little school work until 12:00 when we ring the ancient school handbell.  It's straight out of the 50's. Well, the other day we heard a commotion out on the playground.  The kids often scarf their food down in ten minutes and run back to school so they can play for a while.  I looked out the window and this sight greeted me.  They were all groaning and screaming hysterically as each new kid descended the slide to cram into their backs.  Hilarious.

Woods Capture the Flag

Thursday, April 12, 2012


Can you even stand how cute this is? I'm dying, I tell ya, from the cuteness.
The older boys I'm not allowed to call cute. They are manly men....all business, very nonchalant about being fully decked out in official Frenchboro Fire Department gear.
We did pause in our work to admire the view from our new picnic tables, though!
Cadin as "pump man". Mr. Finn had been figuring out how all the equipment works so he could teach all the kids. It was so awesome seeing them learning the ins and outs of the special wrenches, hoses, pumps, etc.
It was teamwork all the way. You ready for the water? Thumbs up!

Everybody got a shot at the helm.
It's always good to have a backup man as the water pressure really kicks.

Thanks to Becky for getting all the gear ready and for letting us use it. What a great afternoon!

Demo Work

Mr. Finn and I have lots of demolition work that needs to be done over in our house in Cherryfield. Maybe I'll hire these guys. Cadin might have bowed out after his close encounter with the crow bar, but the rest of these kids were loving taking apart the tables.

Eastern Beach Bound

Since the picnic tables were finished we had to load them down to Eastern Beach to drop them off. We had also arranged to burn the old tables that are falling apart, and why don't we throw the wetu in there, while we're at it? Burning Down the House would be the theme music for the day.

Those suckers are Heavy!


Picnic tables? Fini! All that was left to do was sign them and take them down to Eastern Beach.

Taaaa Daaaa!
The kids did such a wonderful job on these tables. We're sure folks will be enjoying them for many years to come.

Blind Contour

We haven't done work in our sketchpads for a while, so we broke them out and did a refresher on blind contour drawing. If you've never read Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, you should as it helps boost your artistic ability no matter where you start. One of the wonderful "assignments" is to do blind contour of your hand. The idea is that we have sort of an archetypal idea of what things look like, say "a house" or "a car" and we learn to draw in a rote sort of way using the more lingual side of our brains instead of the more creative side that doesn't worry about naming things, but seeing them as they truly are: lines, shapes, shadows, colors, etc. A quick way to get into the right brain is to do blind contour. You don't look at the drawing at all, you look at the object you are drawing and draw every single detail you can see. It doesn't matter that it doesn't "look" like the object when you are finished, it's the concentration and seeing part that you tap into that is powerful. In fact, every time I do these sorts of exercises with the kids, they fall completely silent. After they finish with the blind contour, their next drawing will be much more accurate and detailed, so we might do a potted plant or a lacrosse stick on the table to try our hand at next. I've been really impressed with the changes I've seen in their art since we came four years ago. Hopefully they'll all enjoy painting, sculpting and drawing their whole lives.