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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Drum Circle

 We're no strangers to drum circles as we spent several excellent classes this fall working with djembes and other percussion instruments, so I hope Bo and Graham were impressed with our mad skills.  The whole building was thumping and shaking as the entire group joined in. 
With the ukeleles and the African drumming, we've got a major multicultural theme going on here.  Get ready to be rocked everyone:  Musical presentation at the school 6:00 on Wed. June 6th!

Let the Wild Rumpus Begin!

 Here's just a hint as to what's in store for this year's Week of Music performance!  There has been a glorious racket going on in the schoolhouse for the past three days.  So great to have Bo and Graham here again for another stupendous musical extravaganza!
 I mean, really.  What's not to love about a ukelele. Even saying the word is fantastic.  Can't wait to hear what the final piece sounds like.

For My Students

A Love Letter To My Students

Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.
For showing up early to school every single day, with a smile on your face.
For coming in the door, first thing, and beelining it to my desk with “news” too good not to share.
For telling me knock knock jokes that make absolutely no sense, but delight me.
For listening to me politely, even if I was sometimes on a ramble.
For telling me every type of bowel issue that might be befalling everyone you know, or have ever known, or who, someday in the future, you might encounter.
For letting me convince you that you DO know and that YOU ARE WORTH IT.
For asking me to take out a splinter, clean a wound, or put on band aids with such trust.
For showing me all your new bruises and lost teeth.
For teaching me that no matter how old you are, profound knowledge is housed within you.
For helping each other, and me, whenever asked, with utmost eagerness and speed.
For letting me choose Pajama Day every year for March Madness just because it was my birthday.
For your wide-eyed wonder and irrepressible giggles.
For coming to appreciate things you didn’t expect to like and for always trying your best even when things were tough.
For all the joyful shouts coming from the woods where you build your forts, and from the harbor where you row your skiffs.
For your amazing diligence, perseverance, and unmatched work ethics.
For the innumerable notes and drawings, valentines, presents and cards you have given me over the years.
For making me laugh every single day.
For making me so proud of you that, this moment just thinking of it, brings tears to my eyes.
Most of all, thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.  For letting me know you like I have never known another group of children.  For sharing all the parts of yourself that make up your “you-ness”.  The parts that make me love you.  The parts that make you unforgettable.


You never know what the kids will do at recess time.  So perhaps I shouldn't have been surprised when I came out to this scene.  Man, these guys crack me up every single day.

New Teacher!

 We were visited last week by Ashley McCaslin, a teacher candidate who had been offered a job here at Frenchboro School next year.  Ashley is from New York, but has been working in Bangor and was interested in making Maine her more permanent home for the foreseeable future.  She came out to the school for a few days to see if she wanted to accept the position and after three days of being around these great kids, she said yes!
The kids were really happy to have met her and look forward to her teaching them next year.  Welcome to the island, Ashley!


 The kids wrote up their experiments, collected the data on tables they created and then taught other groups how to run the experiments.  It was a....busy.....afternoon.
 We had all sorts of cool toys, ahem, scientific tools for them to work with, and every group had a different tool/toy.  There was the water rocket.
 And the balloon car.

And the Nerf rockets.  Such fun!  The 6th graders did a wonderful job instructing each group that came through in the workings of their experiment.  We had some interesting data anomalies and addressed the idea of "replicable" and "controlling variables" as some of our tool/toys were a little unreliable.  It was a great lesson nonetheless and the kids have gotten really good at working with data as well as writing up lab reports.

Hunter Safety

 We had a great opportunity brought to us by Becky, our fire chief.  She arranged for hunter safety instructors to come to the island to do certification classes for hunting, ATV, and archery.  SO cool!  Officer Richter started out Thursday night with some rules and regulations of Maine.
 The next day, Ernie and Harland started in bright and early with first aid, map and compass, and gun safety.
 We were a bunch of busy beavers, working away with our compasses.
 Everyone learned how to read a topographical map and how to interpret all the contour lines.
 They had to match up the topo image to the ground level look of mountains and valleys.
 Then they went over some videos about different accidents and how to prevent them.  Tyler DID NOT like these videos and kept plugging his ears and averting his eyes.  Poor kid... probably gave him nightmares.
 Gun safety was a hands-on exercise.  It's not every day you handle shotguns and rifles in class, that's for sure!
 Then it was outside to practice the skills of loading, reloading, and how to safely move around obstacles with a partner.
This pairing was especially and son, gettin' it done!

2nd Rocket Blast Off

 The kids designed their second rockets during art class and chose how they wanted to apply the fins on the bottom.  There were suggestions on the directions, but on their second rocket they were allowed to do anything they wanted.  A one-finned rocket?  Hmmmm.  Why not try that?
 The kids had their own hypotheses about how certain rockets would fly.  They guessed that the one and two-finned rockets might explode or fly crazily.
 So as the first "unique" rocket came up for firing, there was a lot of giggling...
 and hiding behind neighbors.
 Even the two-finned went surprisingly well, but the one-finned wonder was a psycho rocket that zigzagged across the sky like a cat on fire.  Not that I've ever seen a cat on fire, but I bet it would have moved like that rocket.
 There were rockets dangling from trees all around the ballfield.  The kids were instructed NOT to climb those trees to get it.  It was all they could do to resist. 
Even though it was cold and rainy, we had a fantastic time firing our rockets.  Unfortunately, it was impossible to calculate the speeds as the distance was different for every rocket, but Bradley was sure it was "super fast!"  Oh, and we learned not to glue fins too high up on the rocket or it would meet an untimely death by incineration.  It was a fireworks rocket: impressive yet short-lived.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Mentos Rockets

 I'll just let the pictures do the talking here.  Mentos.  Diet cola.  Kapow.

Art Class: Charcoal Shading

 We broke out the charcoal a couple Fridays ago.  For Tyler, it was his first try at creating a smudgy masterpiece.  We use real charcoal sticks rather than the pencils, so our hands were Covered.  For starters, we worked on three dimensional shapes like cubes and spheres, then we moved into our larger piece, which was a vase.
 The idea is to "pull" the sides in to create the look of a shadowed, rounded object.  I told them to draw a bunch of eyelashes, but Cadin though they were toenails. 
 Are you....taking a picture of me?
 We had some great and uniquely shaped vases.  Must be all that ceramics we've done.
 Everyone was feeling very accomplished as the vase began to pop off the page.
Seeing as most don't learn these skill until high school, I think these kids did phenomenally well!

Baseball on Swan's

 Went to Swan's a couple weeks back.  It was interesting disembarking from the Sunbeam this time around.  We've never had to climb up over the bow of the boat before.  It was the only angle that could get us close enough to the dock due to the low tide. 
 As usual, we were up for the challenge. 
 Leah, the phys. ed. teacher at Swan's Island School gathered all the kids together on the field.  She told them to line up on the white line so they could pick teams.  What did the Frenchboro kids do?  Huddle together like a pack of puppies at the far end of the line.
 With some cajoling, they did at least scooch down the line a bit to *sort of* join the others.  Hilarious.  They warmed up once we got going.  Started out with some catching drills and then the game began.  It was fantastic to have 19! kids to play ball.  The two hours positively fled by and too soon we were back on the bus with Leah's dad, Paul, at the helm.
These kids LOVE the bus.  It must be a universal kid thing...get to the back seat.  They were chatting and giggling the whole way.  Riding the bus is something so mundane for nearly all kids across the country, but these guys are still thrilled by it.  I think they might like the bus ride as much as the actual game!