Monday afternoon found the Grades 4/5/6 class clad in their best rain layers, walking out onto the Challenge course with Shelly Gibson, our Team Development Coordinator. Shelly introduced the group to a mental and physical challenge. Each student was given a piece of paper, detailing a step in the process of getting them ready to sell their crafts at the craft fair in December. They were asked to stand on a series of beams, called the “Full House”, and rearrange themselves in a logical order, without stepping down! It was amazing to witness the critical thinking, silly moments, frustrating setbacks, and care for each other that this class demonstrated. They were ultimately able to get themselves in order. Students offered appreciations to other members of the class as we closed our time. Ideas have been flowing since this experience, as students prepare to write business plan proposals, detailing the craft they would like to create and sell. A field trip this Friday to Markings Gallery in Bath provided us with more opportunities to gather information about what it means to be a craftsperson. We are so looking forward to seeing what these amazing students plan to create!
By Emily Bell-Hoerth (Grades 4/5/6 teacher)
This week we have been working really hard on our Ecosystem Stories. My story is about two chipmunks named Rosemary and Sage who can’t find enough food for winter because another consumer took all the acorns. First, we were given a prompt that told us some of the guidelines, such as how we had to have a living organism that lived on Chewonki Neck be our main character. The characters in our stories could talk to one another, but everything else had to be true about the organisms. After that, we worked on completing story maps and identity profiles that helped organize our thought process. Finally, we started writing our first drafts. When we finished our first drafts, we got an editing and revising checklist that helped us do some of our own editing and revising before conferencing with an adult. After that, the 6th graders did some peer conferencing, which included reading each other’s stories and giving feedback. The teachers looked over the 6th graders stories and wrote us a few revising and editing notes for us to think about. Now I’m ready to start my final draft!
By a Student- Grade 6
Age of Exploration independent research projects are in full swing. Students used books and online digital library resources this week to research, compare, and contrast the lives of two European explorers from the 1400-1600’s. The class learned about an interesting current event- a debate in Portugal concerning two public projects representing different views of the country’s colonial past. One project is a memorial to victims of slavery from the 1400-1700’s. This acknowledgment of Portugal’s role in the colonial slave trade is a step to recognizing the darker side of this time period, however, the controversy continues. The other project is a new museum tentatively named ‘the Museum of Discoveries’, designed to show how Portugal started globalization. Portugal’s Prince Henry was an adventurous explorer (despite not being a sailor). He started a school for exploration where he employed people from all over the known world who were cartographers, shipbuilders, and instrument makers. Prince Henry is also credited with beginning the Atlantic slave trade. During our in-class study of this time period we have discussed how the European, Chinese, and Viking explorers were not ‘discovering new lands,’ but exploring new worlds that were rich in people, culture, and technologies unknown to these adventurers. We have also discussed how most of our research and understanding of this time period comes from the detailed records and journals of the Europeans. These records are important, however, the information is very one-sided, from one point of view. We identified both viewpoints in this polarizing debate happening in Portugal. Through our vocabulary, we have discussed the ideas of colonialism, expansionism, and nationalistic and ethnocentric thought. It has been interesting and thought-provoking to connect current debates with our historical study of the Age of Exploration.
By Annie Nixon (Grade 7 teacher)
We started Chemistry work at the farm this week. We carefully plunged plant-dyed cotton, silk, and wool into modifiers after having them dyed by Megan. She used purple cabbage, black hollyhock, onion skins, black walnut, madder, goldenrod, indigo, and marigold plants from the farm for dyeing. We worked on creating resource cards to show how vinegar (acid), washing soda (alkaline), and iron modifier, chemical baths affect different plant-dyed fabrics. When we used silk that was dyed with purple cabbage and put it into the basic modifier (which was washing soda mixed with water), it transformed from a beautiful purple color to an iridescent green. It was a lot of fun experimenting with different fabrics because I have not done a lot of work with chemicals and dyes. I felt that this project might bring challenge and pinches of frustrations, but instead, it brought good times and laughter. Also, we received our math books this week. YAY! We also began working on raptor species accounts for our Junior Maine Master Naturalist class.
By a Student – Grade 7