Students faced a challenge on Tuesday afternoon. They were given a pair of binoculars and after we had learned how to focus them using both the dials, they were set up at one end of Chapin Hall. A haiku was revealed to them on the opposite wall, and they were asked to write down the haiku on an index card, reading the fine print through their binoculars. This difficult task set them up for a wonderful week of birding! Our curiosity has taken us from the center of campus, to the farm, and down to Hoyt’s Point, where we have seen a total of 21 different species of birds! Students are quickly learning how to spot and then identify species using their field guides. When we return from our April Break, they will be responsible for finding and identifying 30 different species! I know they are up to the task!
-Emily Bell-Hoerth (Grades 3/4 teacher)
This week we did a lot of birding! We each are using a pair of binoculars and we are going around campus to find birds. We are also using bird books to help us identify the birds. This week we also did a lot of stuff with poetry because it is National Poetry Month. We did poetry about the farm this week, and we all added piece of artwork! This week we did a lot of fun stuff!
-Student- Grade 4
On Monday we jumped right into our new theme studies by expanding our understanding of place. We met Megan at the barn and compared fifteen different campus maps that were used in the Chewonki master planning process. Students analyzed maps that show soil quality, tree communities, high tide lines, drainage and wetland areas, and future farm expansion options within our 400 acres. Then they paired up to complete a scavenger hunt on the farm, to get a firsthand look at our agricultural landscape. The next day we finished the hunt and discussed the findings, including how all of the different factors shown on the maps relate to each other, and impact how humans interact with the land. On Wednesday we hopped in a van and headed to Eaton Farm Preserve, a 200 acre peninsula just to the east of us, that is owned and maintained by Chewonki. I tasked students with imagining they could create a farm on this land that would be almost identical to our farm. Just like the original farmers on Chewonki Neck, they could only use observations and prior knowledge to find specific locations for gardens, pastures, house, and barn. Students eagerly explored the fields in partner pairs, maps and clipboards in hand, beginning to read the landscape- noticing wet areas, spots that were elevated, and tree species. They conversed excitedly about where they would pasture their cows, situate the house, and even dig a farm pond. The next layer of this activity is to fast forward to the present day and access tools and resources that may help them to make more informed decisions. They will then have the option to revise their maps before presenting their farm layout to Megan.
-Kat Cassidy (Lead Teacher/Grades 5/6/7 Teacher)
On Monday we got an assignment to write a poem about the farm. It had to have three layers, like a cake: observations or things we saw (the flour), feelings or connections to the farm (the sugar and eggs), and questions we had about the farm (the chocolate). We positioned ourselves atop the rolling hills of Salt Marsh Farm on Monday morning. We spread out as the cold wind nipped at our fingers and noses. It was freezing, so we only stayed on the hills to take notes of our observations for about fifteen minutes. Then on Tuesday we went back to the farm, because we had not been able to get enough information, for our hands had been very cold and it was hard to write. On Wednesday we worked on forming our poems and revising and editing. Today we shared our poems with the whole school and the farmers, even though some of us had not finished a final draft yet. I wrote a conversational poem between a robin and a red oak tree at the farm. I love poetry, so this writing task was enjoyable for me. I wish we could write more poetry.
-Student- Grade 5