Even with only eight days to report on, we have completed an array of different and exciting activities. In the classroom, students reading and writing ‘Fractured Fairy Tales’ led to laughter, as unexpected characters appeared and twists in traditional stories unfolded.
Our ‘Community’ theme study took us to the Wallace and into the kitchen to meet Kitchen Manager, Bill Edgerton (see student report below). We wrote persuasive letters to Bill asking him politely if we could join the rest of the Chewonki community for lunch one day soon. We anxiously await his response! Another guest community speaker, Orville Mooney, talked about his job in Facilities, and his role teaching carpentry at the boys camp.
Our outside time included cross country skiing games and skill development. We had an entertaining snack break playing with a remote control car that raced around the lower field. The woods behind the CEE have been transformed into a new play area with snow and ice. It is like having a new playground.
Last Friday, we ventured to the CMCA in Rockland. The docents engaged us with very age-appropriate activities as we looked at and talked about the art. We had time in the art lab at the museum to create our own art inspired by what we had seen. We are all excited to go back next year!
Lorna Fake (Grades 1/2/3 teacher)
Yesterday we went to the Wallace to interview Bill, who is the head cook. We saw a huge pot that could hold two six year olds in it! We also went into the refrigerator and the freezer. The refrigerator was 38℉ and the freezer was 0℉. We went to the root cellar, and it smelled strange. There were carrots, potatoes, and beets. Bill cooks 80,000 meals a year. That is a lot!
Davis (Grade 3 student)
Today Orville Mooney was our community guest speaker. His job is in Facilities. He let us use a drill. It was really exciting. He showed us a miniature boat the Puffins made at camp. He also showed us a wooden kayak paddle that the boys made at camp. He likes his job in general, he especially likes working with the students (he doesn’t like cleaning toilets!).
Malcolm (Grade 2 Student)
The 5/6 class has covered a lot of ground in the past two weeks, both literally and figuratively. In our history studies leading up to the Revolutionary War, we’ve gone from studying the history of the first people on this land- the Paleo-Indians, up to the first contact with English settlers and the failed Popham Colony.
Students gained first-hand experience with the challenges and miscommunications that can arise from cultural encounters through a simulation of a cultural clash between the ‘Rockets’ & ‘Sparklers’, two fictional cultures. Students made connections to how “deep culture” can be misinterpreted, and how that often leads to conflict.
We then had the exciting opportunity to visit the reconstruction of Virginia, the first ship built in Maine at the Popham Colony. Students tried their hands at some traditional boat-building techniques, as well as hauling on a line with the help of a sea shanty called “Haul on the Bowline”. The louder you sing, the harder you pull!
Students also covered a lot of ground on their cross country skis last week. We practiced going down hills, turning around, and even partner skiing! With more snow on the way, we are all looking forward to more time gliding around Chewonki Neck, with the goal of a longer expedition on our overnight trip at the end of January.
By Greta Righter (Grades 5/6 teacher)
Since returning from holiday break, our class has been deeply engrossed in our winter studies, which encompass a wide range of topics. These include: history through the lens of social justice, a poetry unit, and evolution in two realms: the science world, and ‘evolution of thought and perspective’. Through reading and writing, our class jumped back to the Revolutionary War era to gain insight and analyze the perspectives of Native Americans, African slaves, and colonists from different classes. We have considered and discussed many ideologies and conflicts that stormed through the pre and post Revolution era.
While navigating this era, our class held our own Constitutional Convention. We each chose a role to represent: Slaves, Plantation Owners, Workers, Farmers, Bankers, and Merchants. We’re aware that the delegates who were at the real convention were not fully representative of the population of the colonies at the time. The voices of people of color, women, and lower and middle-class citizens were not at the real event, so it was our chance to give them a voice.
The scene that played out in the 7/8 classroom was a far cry from what occurred during the writing of the U.S. Constitution, for our class votes on issues of slavery, bonds, debts in kind, and voting rights were the exact opposite of the actual decision. Before our convention took place, our class formed a timeline of dates that we consider crucial in American history. We will now move along this timeline, all eager to understand times of injustice in our country and the social movements that rose out of them while weaving in people’s perspectives and how they shape our lives today.
By Ana (Grade 8 student)
After the long vacation, we began our exciting poetry studies. Our first assignment was an “I Love” poem, which gave us the opportunity to describe something we love, and to practice conveying emotion through our writing.
To ground us here at Chewonki, we also wrote an “I Love” poem appreciating something we love about this place. I wrote about the farm in the winter, the lovely pastures blanketed in glistening snow, ice at the rim of the water buckets. Writing about something we love made our poems thoughtful and authentic, and Kat pushed us to try more complicated poetry techniques within our writing. We’ll share our poems next week with each other, as well as an ‘identity map’ that helps us to acknowledge who we are and how our background shapes our perspective.
To further develop our writing skills, we’ve been brushing up on our grammar, which has been surprising, and interesting. Concrete, abstract, common, and proper nouns have been abbreviated to ‘c, a, c, and p’ on our grammar worksheets, with our task to mark each type of noun when we see it in the designated sentences.
Discovering the relationship between pronouns and antecedents gave us the chance to rearrange sentences from, “The chauffeur drove the limousine into the fence, but didn’t damage it.” to “ The car wasn’t damaged when the chauffeur drove it into the fence.” Shifting the structure of the sentences has been hilarious and informative. At our school, we prioritize developing connections between subjects.
To practice understanding new perspectives, we wrote “Write That I” poems, in which we took on the viewpoint of people from the Revolutionary War era. This process was very beneficial to encouraging deep thinking about the lives of others at another time in history. We are continuing to strengthen our writing skills through several avenues, striving to practice writing our thoughts each day.
By Sierra (Grade 8 student)