Sunday, May 30, 2010


Dalton making the open remarks!

We now take reservations for tables at BINGO! Can you believe it?!

Our lovely prizes!

Looks like a full house.

Big winner of the grass skirt AND coconut top!

Two cute blondes checking their cards.

Jorgie calling. (Notice the bare feet... we love spring time!)

Arlo's looking kind of sneaky... he really wants to win!

Dalton just looks like a goof ball.

Classic Quinn shot.

Arlo's turn to call.

Last week we had our 18th BINGO night at the Monhegan School. There is reall nothing better than BINGO. It is so easy and so fun. I think we could plan a BINGO night blindfolded if we had to. We start by "cleaning up shop" and straightening out the school as a whole. It is kind of nice that we have BINGO once a month because it gives us all a chance to clean out our desks, straighten out the counter tops, and just spruce up school. Then it is rearranging time... big tables get seperated, desks are put in rows, the round table comes down off the stage. Next we break up into different groups. The bakers move to the kitchen with me where we bust out cookies and brownies (we can usually make about 2 dozen brownies and a pan of brownies in about 20 minutes... we are just THAT good!) The non-bakers bring in chairs from the shed, set up the BINGO machine, lay out prizes, get the BINGO cards stacked, distrubute BINGO chips to all the tables, and most importantly hang the famous BINGO sign. We are ready and raring to go. Then about 20 minutes before BINGO we make the punch and popcorn put plates of snacks at every table and pick out some music to play on Pandora!

Our May BINGO night was Luau themed. We wore leis, played Hawaiin music, and had some AMAZING prizes that included a coconut bra, grass skirt, tiki drink cup, and Hawaiian Shirt dessert plates. What more could you ask for? We had a great turn out, with some faces we have not seen since the Fall! And of course we had the "regulars"... all of whom we love.

Dalton made the opening speech... we always have one of the kids go over the "rules" of BINGO and explain that all the funds that are raised at BINGO go to help fund our off island field trips and our Kickball t-shirts. We had some BIG winners! Alice B. won THREE games and Marlene won TWO! It was a pretty big shocker that poor old Billy B. came away empty handed, BUT we think he may have passed on his luck to his date that evening, Ms. Joshephine Martin who became our May BINGO champion and will join the others on our BINGO wall of fame!!!

We missed having Norma at BINGO... she is always SO into it.

Ooooooh.... she REALLY wanted that lei.

Checking cards.

Goofy boys in the kitchen.


I will miss this sweet face.

Maya just PRAYING her auntie Pam will throw her some popcorn.

A little touchy-feely moment between Quinn and Gabe?

HA! Busted! Gabe's "Don't you dare put this on the blog" face.

Almost time for the last game!

Billy B. is focused.

Maya looking very festive.

Maya got tired, it was a lonnng last round!

And the May champion is... Josephine Martin!!! Congratulations!

Thursday, May 27, 2010


So, I know that it seems like I think my students are pretty much good at everything, but I speak the truth when I say they are REALLY good at giving compliments. Some days we end our time together with giving compliments to one another and last week our guidance counselor was on island and did a fun activity with us about the importance of compliments, especially in a school like ours. Our school has only FIVE kids, and three of those kids have been in the same class with each other for over five years! We are like family and it is easy to get wrapped up in what annoys you and bugs you about people you are around as much as we all are, but it is also so important to see the great qualities as well. 

For our guidance activity we each had to name one quality about each person at our school that we appreciated, loved, or admired. We made a class list with everyone's names and the qualities that were listed about them and then we each got to create our own star that we decorated and wrote the qualities on. There was something very affirming about writing our own strong qualities on our star. It gave us all a little boost in confidence and an appreciation for ourselves and each other. It was a good lesson about how powerful compliments can be. I hope this is something we can all remember. 

Donna's qualities included: artistic, friendly, a good teacher, cool, and "hysterical" ( but think I meant more along the lines of hilarious!! Sorry Donna!)

Quinn was named as funny, intelligent, determined, artistic and imaginative!

Jorgie was described as artistic, curious, imaginative, a good singer, and "epic!"

Gabe is funny, imaginative, intelligent, thoughtful, and loyal!

Arlo qualities were: athletic, artistic, imaginative, curious, and kind!

Dalton was named intelligent, helpful, compassionate, artistic, funny, and kind.

My qualities were helpful, awesome, funny, cool, intelligent, and an epic teacher!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Writer's Workshop Assignment #2: Why I teach...

I teach for 8am - 3pm everyday.
I teach to hear my students footsteps pound through the doorway in the morning.
I teach because I love watching children's eyes flash when they learn something new.
I teach to hear Quinn's laugh.
I teach for my love for learning.
I teach to better my community.
I teach because of Jorgie's exictement when she reads.
I teach as a way to better myself as a person.
I teach so I can read Dalton's writing take life on the page.
I teach because I love to laugh.
I teach to see my students work as a team and learn how to communicate.
I teach because I hope that as adults, they will remember to communicate the same way.
I teach so I can watch Arlo's self confidence build.
I teach for hope and change in the world.
I teach because I think sometimes children have all the answers.
I teach to see Gabe's leadership, patience, and kindness.
I teach for creativity and hands on, life experiences.
I teach because of passion, and learning, and growing,
not for standards, assessment, and parameters.
I teach to hear students say, "I get it!"
I teach for my students, my community, and myself.
I teach because it is all I have ever wanted to do.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Writing Workshop Assignment #1: Gabriel

Editor's note: For those of you who do not know, I am currently enrolled in a online Graduate program through the University of New England. In November I will have my Masters in Curriculum and Instruction (as I say to the kids, ' I am gonna be wicked smaht!'). Anyways, for the current course I am in our assignment was to create a blog to share writing pieces with our classmates. The hope is to simulate a "virtual writer's workshop" that would allow us, the teachers, to better understand the position our student's are put in during Writer's Workshop. I decided instead of re-creating the wheel and creating another blog just for this assignment, I would utilize our school's fantastic blog to share my assignment with the greater school community! My hope is to write about topics that would be interesting for not only my classmates but also friends and family of the Monhegan School. My first topic, one that is near and dear to my heart, our my eighth grader, Gabriel. 

Flash back three years ago to my first year teaching. I was fresh out of college and coming into, not only my first teaching job, but my first teaching job that just happened to be in a one-room school house, on an island, with eight kids in all different grades. I was a nervous wreck. The first day of school I tried to play it cool and act like I had been doing this for years, but on the inside I was a mess. I had gotten through all of my plans by lunch time and ended up having the kids write letters to me in the afternoon to "assess" their writing and have them tell me about their hopes for the school year with their new teacher.
After the kids left for the day I sat down to read their letters. I remember Gabe's vividly. He told me he hoped to not get a lot of homework and to take a trip to Manna sometime in the year. I remember he signed his name at the end of the letter and then wrote, P.S. Your doing grate. I thought to myself now here is a kid who has a kind heart... and who needs a little work on his spelling.

From that day on, Gabe has continuously been a huge support to me at our school. He is always the kind of kid who asks how you are and who wishes you a good day as he heads out the door in the evening. His spelling has improved, and with that so has his maturity. He has become a great role model at our school and as the only eighth grader, has really taken on the role of school leader. He is patient with the younger students and also helps to keep them on task and follow school rules. 

Gabe is a self-proclaimed technology addict. He loves all media: video games, movies, television, the internet, and music. He has a real knack for gadgets and gismos. His bedroom is known around town as the "Video Cave" where he and the rest of the "Noisy Boys" go to play video games or Dungeons and Dragons for hours on end. Gabe is also an avid reader, who loves a great story and is really able to comprehend deeper meaning in text. His genre of choice is fantasy and sci-fi, but presently he and I are reading "To Kill a Mockingbird" and I have enjoyed watching him fall in love with the great literary characters of this novel, as I did when I was his age.
He has a fantastic sense of humor and often causes me to laugh out loud multiple times throughout the school day. He is smart and witty and sarcastic. He is very aware of worldly issues and has a killer memory! He loves my dog, which makes me adore him even more. 
What makes Gabe SO special is the love he has for his family, friends, and home. He is very proud to have lived on Monhegan his whole life. Although he is very excited about heading off to high school, he also knows that he will miss his family, island, and community very much. He likes being an "island-kid." Every time an eighth grader graduates from our school they get a tree planted on island in their honor. Gabe asked to have some kind of pine planted when he graduates. His reason? "Because they are common and blend in. They belong on island." 

Gabe will always belong on Monhegan, but I know he has great adventures ahead of him. I am very proud to have called him one of my very first students. He has a special place in my heart.

Thank you Gabe for your love, kindness, support, knowledge, patience, and humor. 
We will miss you...
but you are going to do "grate".

Monday, May 17, 2010

Robotics Track Meet! (Guest Blog by our very own DONNA!)

On April 30th "The Radioactive Flaming Blue Ninja Kitties" headed inshore for the  Annual Maine Robotics Track Meet. This is a state-wide competition for  kids grades 3-8, to promote the fun of science and technology. It is specifically geared for small teams of 10 or less so it is a perfect fit for our team of four --> Gabriel, Dalton, Arlo and Quinn! 

 Friday afternoon, before the big day, we relaxed and took a tour of the Farnsworth Museum. 

Here's Gabe next to his favorite piece of art by Louise Nevelson!

Dalton is somewhere in this photograph!
Quinn fits right into this scene. Brrr.....
Arlo liked this beautiful outdoor sculpture...
After a good nights sleep we headed for Auburn and arrived bright an early at the Middle School to check in. Look at those happy morning faces!!!
15 teams from around the state were there  - over 100 kids! 
We lucked out and were first up in most entries. Right away Arlo and Gabe were off to compete at the same time. Here's a video of Arlo's slope climber robot in action!!!!
Here's Gabe nearby setting up his Robot for the weight pull competition. He was allowed to use 1 or 2 soda cans to help with traction.


A little later Dalton competed in fastest Robot:

And then we were first up again! It was a fantastic team effort as Dalton and his robot competed in the Ping Pong Shot-Put Competition!!!!
Way to Go Radioactive Blue Flaming Ninja Kitties!  I was a very proud coach!!!!  Afterwards, we had to watch and wait as one by one the other competitors tried to match Dalton's score of 77 points! We were pretty psyched!!!!!!!!

After a crazy, exciting, hectic, loud, fun filled morning - the team had lunch and a little outside R & R:
Then it was time for Quinn and his Lego Bridge!!!!!!!  He handed it off to Tom, the cool guy who organizes all the Maine Lego Robotics events.
Here's Quinn and Arlo watching:

Its the final event and everyone loves the suspense! Check it out on video....

Wow! What a day! We all had so much fun and learned a lot. Now it was time for the closing ceremonies. Just as we suspected... Dalton got first!

Here's Dalton with his First Place trophy and his amazing Ping Pong Shot-Put Robot!!! He also achieved gold standard for his fastest robot. Go Dalton!
My favorite moment at the Meet was right after Dalton's winning round, he pulled the whole team aside and thanked them and gave them rewards for helping him. 
THAT's what our team is all about!

We celebrated with dinner at Moody's (of course!) and then we saw the movie "Clash of the Titans" Woot! Best Weekend Ever!!!!!!!!!!

Gabe is off to Hebron next year, and our team will miss him, but we know he'll go far!!!!!!!!!!! We'll miss you Gabe!