During the last couple of weeks most of our highlights are related to our ‘Community Guest Speakers’. We went to the Wiscasset Airport and were lucky enough to see several planes take off and land. It was not what we expected on a cold Thursday afternoon in January. Rick Tetrev, the airport manager, was wonderful with the class, letting everyone talk on his radio, drive down the runway (in the Chewonki van) and look at the giant snowblower and snowplow. Guest speaker, Willard Morgan, told us about his experiences before coming to Chewonki, including skiing down a volcano and working as a cook. He also gave us some insider knowledge for Chewonki’s future plans. The following report by Jeffrey tells you about our visit to Treats this Thursday.
The new “stone jar’ in our classroom has been a major focus for everyone this week. We add a stone when a student ‘fills someone’s bucket’ by using extra special kind actions or words. The class also adds stones when we are listening to and respecting each other and following instructions. We know it takes 240 stones to fill the jar, and when we are there, we will celebrate!!
Lorna Fake (Grades 1/2/3 teacher)
“All Hail King George!” Last week an animated group of 5th and 6th graders marched across the field of Fort William Henry in colonial Pemaquid, red and white 17th century English flags waving in the cool sea breeze. Acting as delegates representing the Massachusetts Bay Colony (England), and the Penobscot tribe (Wabanaki), our class ‘reconstructed’ the Treaty of Casco Bay in 1727. Students spent the beginning of the week studying cultural conflicts between the English, French, and Wabanaki, and how they resulted in recurring skirmishes and war between the nations.
After studying the actual terms of the Casco Bay Treaty, students evaluated how fair the treaty was for each party, and learned that the Penobscot delegates who signed the treaty were unaware of what they had agreed to. Our two groups of delegates then prepared to bring their demands to the treaty conference, with the hope of finding peace and an end to Dummer’s War. Coreysha and I acted as interpreters, negotiating the terms of the treaty. Both parties finally agreed upon these terms and ratified them with their signatures. What we did not tell students was that we were acting as Wabanaki interpreters, rather than English. There was outrage from the English when they realized that the treaty did not accurately reflect their wishes.
In flipping the power dynamic, students got to experience what the Wabanaki may have been feeling in 1727. As we move forward in our Revolutionary War studies, we will continue to explore the experiences and perspectives of those who were not in power at the time.
By Greta Righter (Grades 5/6 teacher)
The past two weeks have been filled with sunshine and smiles. Even though there has not been as much snow as we had hoped, we still had plenty of fun. We started last week off with some music class with our brand new music teacher, Jackson. It is so much fun, and we are learning plenty of new skills and new techniques, even though we have only had a few classes. Our week ended with a super fun community sing with Mica’s dad, Matt Loosigian. We learned a new song that was so catchy, we were humming it for the rest of the day. After school ended some of us stayed for art club, which was absolutely awesome – we knit pouches for abandoned kangaroo babies in Australia!
We arrived back at school on Monday at 8:15 sharp, ready to go. Our week started with a simulation where we were each a colonial character from one of the 13 colonies. We went through events that showed us what would have happened to people when they were getting taxed by England. We did the simulation twice and had different outcomes. One thing we noticed during the simulation was that the wealthy people with a higher income had an easier time saving money and getting richer, and the poorer people didn’t save any money at all or even went into debt. The tax collector got a lot of money, and the British Monarchy and Parliament got even more. This week and last week was filled with fun and adventure, with more to come!
By Piper (Grade 6 student)
As our trip draws near, excitement and nervousness buzzes through the classroom. Hannah, one of our four trip leaders, has been incredibly helpful as we prepare for our winter adventure. A few days ago, she came in and showed us what was in her pack- the kind of clothing (and how little!) she was bringing, as well as gear. This helped us get a firm grasp on how to pack on our own at homes, and helped us think about what we may need to borrow from Chewonki.
We have also been preparing by running and walking on the roads to get in shape, along with having group conversations about what we need from our group and what we will bring to the group. We recently inherited two koalas who are our trip mascots, and have taken down our class value flags to bring with us. We also decided that we would all bring journals to write about our experiences and a camera for each group. Hannah has also been a very important resource for answering questions we have about the trip, as she worked at the lodges in prior years. We were all pleasantly surprised when we saw the photos of the huts we’ll be staying in. They are massive wooden structures, so unlike the collapsable tents we usually bring camping. Our class promptly decided that we weren’t camping, we were glamping! Although this was true, we also acknowledged the intense skiing that we would be doing, which was around 12 miles for one day alone, along with elevation gain. But as 7th & 8th graders, we feel we’re ready for it. And don’t forget the rescue chocolate!
By Theona (Grade 8 student)
This week we started our clay unit with Coreysha. Every Monday the 8th grade has art, and every Tuesday the 7th grade has art. Last year the 8th graders learned what the 7th graders are learning right now, so it makes sense for Coreysha to teach art separately. These ‘split’ art classes also allow Kat to teach literacy for each grade level, which means we can focus in on Literature Circle group reading, and grammar and writing lessons.
The 8th graders learned how to create a mug by thinly rolling out clay, then slicing it, so it was very exact. We then used paper as a stencil to create the base and handle. Next time we will create a real stencil and apply a glaze to it. The 7th graders learned how to wedge the clay to get all of the air bubbles out. Afterwards, they cut the clay into a 6 inch by 6-inch square and used the method of extraction to create a zentangle design. A zentangle is an art practice developed for relaxation. It usually happens on a square paper (or clay) and you can design anything you would like. We all really enjoyed making art from clay and can’t wait for after we get back from our trip!
By Mara (Grade 8 student)
There are many exciting art related activities and lessons taking place at this time. The 1/2/3 class is currently in the midst of their shape unit. They completed self portraits using a specific transfer technique and then identified shapes within their image before applying tempera paint. On Tuesday the students walked to various locations on Chewonki Neck which they identified as places of interest for them. Once at these locations photographs were taken for students to bring back to their artist studio, where they can repeat the same transfer technique and painting process to create landscape compositions. I can’t wait to see those finished, as the students are all very enthusiastic and invested in this project.
Students in the 5/6 classroom just participated in an exhibition of their cardboard design engineer creations. This was a great opportunity for students to connect with adults from the Chewonki community. Students were able to answer questions, share their process and inspiration, and facilitate the interaction between their work and the audience.
The fifth and sixth grade students just finished their clay unit (3 classes). They were required to create a vessel that incorporated the three fundamental hand building techniques of pinch pot, slab, and coil. They were encouraged to be creative and whimsical.
This group is now beginning their watercolor unit and will be creating paintings of North American waterfowl to be submitted to the National Junior Duck Stamp Competition. We will be engaging with Traveling Natural History Program staff for some of the research portion of this assignment to ensure that bird features, habitat, and behaviors are depicted accurately in the final compositions.
Grades 7/8 have just begun their clay intensive unit that runs for 6 weeks this winter. The groups are venturing over to the Chewonki clay studio twicer per week as separate cohorts. The seventh graders will be focusing on the fundamentals of hand-building, while the eighth graders will continue to develop the skills they learned last year in hand-building and also begin wheel-throwing fundamentals.
Please mark your calendars for the annual Rising Tide Chewonki art exhibition slotted for the month of March. More details to follow in coming weeks!
By Coreysha Stone (Visual Arts Specialist)