So many words come to mind when I reflect on our first two weeks of school. It has been wonderful to see nervousness and apprehension disappearing, and cooperation and confidence developing. One highlight has been exploring Chewonki Neck and getting to know the points near the salt marsh. At each “point” we have had a read aloud, a little quiet ‘work time’ and plenty of time to build forts and create imaginary villages. Imaginary play has dominated our play time after snack and lunch, with ‘houses’ being built, armor designed to wear, and a few ‘battles’! Catching frogs has also caused great excitement. In the classroom, math routines and reading logs have been introduced, I have given some introductory spelling tests, and we have started our ‘Handwriting Without Tears’ program. Everyone is getting on well, we are learning to share, be kind and understanding, and work hard. I know it is going to be a wonderful year for everyone.
Lorna Fake (Grades 1/2/3 Teacher)
Grades 1/2/3 (also known as Grasshoppers, Moths, Wasps) comments about what we enjoyed during the first few weeks of school:
Mae: “I liked running club with Drew.”
Robby: “I like to play with my sister when the little kids and the big kids are out at the same time.”
Davis: “I like catching frogs at the pond because there are a lot of frogs to catch!”
Micah: “I like having snack outside because it’s fun!”
Jeffery: “I like making sushi and it’s cool because I got to eat food I made myself!”
Able: “I liked Free Play because we played by the pond.”
Zella: “I like doing art with Coreysha. I liked drawing the farm flowers with pastels.”
Malcolm: “I like that you can spend more time outdoors doing stuff because I like nature.”
Drew: “I’ve really enjoyed watching everyone incorporate parts of our read aloud books into their playtime activities.”
Lorna: “I liked watching everybody observe closely the tomato hornworm Micah brought to school”.
With patches of red popping out on maple trees and the crisp morning air, it’s really starting to feel like fall at Chewonki. Our first two weeks of school brought beautiful weather for daily explorations of Chewonki Neck, primarily navigating our way to the points that access the Salt Marsh – Hoyts and Spartina. Last week ended with salt-stained pants and at least a few muddy boots and socks. We also walked out of the salt marsh with lots of questions, including what creatures and plants live in the salt marsh, how are they connected to each other, and why does it smell so bad? We started to explore these connections through a Web of Life activity, in which each student represented a biotic or abiotic component of the salt marsh, and wove a web out of yarn, showing the interconnectedness of different organisms in the salt marsh. It brought up lively debate and discussion about what the word ‘connection’ means, how the sun is part of the food chain, where nutrients come from, and whether humans are part of the ecosystem or not. We also completed final drafts of our I Am From poems, shared our first Edible Schoolyard meal together, visited the Bath Library to choose independent reading books, and learned lots of new math games and challenges including Set, Sujiko, Bridges, and Colorku. Everyone is eagerly looking forward to more time exploring the salt marshes, starting literature circle reading groups, and our class challenge time, all coming up next week!
By Greta Righter (Grades 5/6 Teacher)
Our first two weeks of school were packed with so many things! We brainstormed ideas for I Am From poems at “our spot” and made final drafts by the end of the week! We also had our first real math class on Friday of last week. This Monday we went to Spartina to visit the salt marsh. We read articles and took a tour of the salt marsh, writing down important descriptions of the marsh. While we were out, Julien and Lilly Mae both fell in honey pots! On Wednesday we had Edible Schoolyard. We made sushi and salsa with the 7th graders. We started with cutting all the ingredients for the salsa and putting it together to let it sit while we rolled sushi. These past couple weeks have been full of fun- and our first Library trip! Everyone has enjoyed these weeks and can’t wait for Monday to come again.
By Flannery (Grade 5 student)
In just two weeks, the Elementary school students at Chewonki have had the opportunity to read, write, explore woodland area, and create even closer connections with our farm and food systems. Each class harvested vegetables during a farm work hour on Tuesday- from colorful green cucumbers to dirt-specked potatoes to hearty orange carrots. These goods were transported over to our kitchen by the same hands that had plucked the produce from the soil. We then dove into a journey of chopping, rolling, slicing, and dicing to create a fresh, colorful lunch. Students prepared sushi, incorporating carrots, peppers, and cucumbers, along with salsa featuring tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, and garlic. It was a delicious meal that all enjoyed.
Ana (Grade 8 student)
These past few weeks our class has been working on exercising our observation and description skills in the areas of science and literacy. We kicked off the school year with an essay assignment on “The Importance of Place”, in which we were tasked with accurately describing a place of our choosing in great detail. We also had to think about what this place says about us, and what type of impact the place had on us, or we had on it. Our scientific observations and questions about a Monarch caterpillar and chrysalis led us to a discussion on what makes a good observation, and what types of questions can be answered through closer observation and experimentation versus research. Our most recent assignment was to choose an organism and describe it in as much detail as possible, and then read our descriptions to the class and see if they could both draw it and guess what we were looking at. Based on the level of detail, our sketches were sometimes accurate and other times completely different than what the original observer had seen.
Sierra (Grade 8 student)
Students worked with Team Development Coordinator, Shelly Gibson, on Friday during our Challenge Time. They split into our ‘Northbound’ and ‘Southbound’ Appalachian Trail hiking groups to climb the Vertical Playpen on our challenge course. While two students climbed simultaneously, there was a five person support and belay team for each, responding to requests of ‘slack’ or ‘tension’ and moving backwards in relation to how high their climber was on the element. The group showed incredible focus and an ‘all in’ mentality to get every student to the top of the climb, and I know this same mentality will guide us as we set out in two different groups on our hiking journey next Tuesday.
Kat Cassidy (Grades 7/8 teacher)