Sunday, October 31, 2010

Our middle name is Collaborate!

Many of you know about our collaboration project we have going on with some of the other island schools this year. The official name of the project is the Outer Islands Teaching and Learning Collaboration (TLC) Project. As a teacher, this work is SO exciting because it makes our classroom feel so much bigger! We have lots of big plans for this project and it is a lot of work to plan and organize (way to go teachers!) but little by little we are making it work. This pass week we were collaborating daily with other schools using technology and it was SO exciting.

We started our "virtual book group" last week regarding "Touch Blue". Monhegan School was the host school and after reading the assigned chapters Dalton and Quinn developed discussion questions for the other island schools to answer. We used Blooms Taxonomy to try and ask questions that required higher level thinking.

We used google documents to post the questions online. The great thing about google docs is that more than one author can be working on the document at the same time. This can be a little tricky for brothers to work on the same page at the same time. I quickly had to make the rule, "no erasing each other's work." They managed to obey.

Later in the week the four other schools participating in our book group responded to the questions on google documents. My guys were responsible for commenting on their peers responses. It was an awesome and relatively simple process. At the end of the week we debriefed the activity and the insight the boys gained from talking with other students about the book was pretty astounding.

When I asked the boys how they liked this process compared to reading a book on their own or with me these were their responses:
Quinn - "I thought it was really fun because usually you can’t get a second opinion on the story."
Dalton - " It made the story that I would not usually read more interesting and I hope to use this operation for the future. I also thought that sharing our opinions of a book was a good way to spice things up. "

I think I forget sometimes how much my boys miss by not being able to work with other students their own age. That is why I am so grateful for this opportunity to collaborate with other schools.

We also collaborated in science this week with our buddies from the Islesford School using skype and google documents. We did a show and tell of the work we did on our science time lines and then "debriefed" the process as a larger group.

It was pretty cool to have science class with a group of five students compared to two. As I was sitting there I felt so lucky that our school has this amazing technology to connect to other students!

We used google documents again to document our debrief process. I asked the kids a set of three questions and they responded on google documents. Each student had a different color font as they typed and then they shared their answers with the group. I got to watch my computer screen fill up with brightly colored words as the kids answered the questions. It was so cool.

The collaboration we have done with the other island schools has been so exciting and engaging! I just can't wait to see how far this project will go!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Carving Up Some Pumpkins!

After spending part of the morning hauling our enormous pumpkins to school in the torrential rain we invited community members up to school to help us with the carving process! We were going to need a lot of hands to carve up all of these pumpkins.

We often say that there is "something in the water" on Monhegan because all of our kids are so darn big... when I think these pumpkis just continues to prove this theory... they were HUGE!

Of course I claimed the biggest one. I am like that.

Once community members arrived we began gutting our pumpkins!

We had a lot of GUTS! This is our favorite part!

Quinny trying to figure out what to design on his pumpkin.

We also set up a Halloween banner for the little ones to decorate with potatoes stamps! I think they used their feet more than the stamps to paint the banner. Good thing the paint was washable!

Travis was the first one done his pumpkin! Looking good!

Kathie's pumpkin was turning into a masterpiece!

Angela's pumpkin is almost complete!

Oh no! Pumpkin guts everywhere!!!

We had a great turn out and we almost got all of our pumpkins carved!

Quinny with his "Orc Symbol" pumpkin.

I love Dalton's kitty pumpkin!

More and more pumpkins...

The finished products! Can you see the faces that don't belong? They all look pretty spooky!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Picking Pumpkins... in the rain.

Fall is my favorite time of year at school. There is lots of excitment at the beginning of the school year and then we have all the fun holidays to look forward too! First up on the holiday list, Halloween! And Halloween on Monhegan means PUMPKIN PICKING! Last year we had lots of hands to help out with picking pumpkins and it was gorgeous weather! This year was a little different...

There was only the three of us to pick, carry, and haul these huge pumpkins and I would not call the weather "gorgeous".

At first there was just a light mist which was kind of nice for pumpkin picking.

We got a good work out picking up those pumpkins.

I lifted the biggest pumpkin... which I then called as "my pumpkin" since I had to do all the manual labor to get it.

I am telling you... these were BIG pumpkins!

You can do it Quinny!

We picked 12 gorgeous pumpkins!

We loaded them up into our wheel barrels...

and headed back towards school.

Maya was trying to figure out how to help and carry one in her mouth... but she just couldn't do it.


We had to take two different loads and by the time we started back with our second load it started raining and by raining, I mean pouring...

See what I mean, pouring.

At least we got our shower for the day!

We dried off with towels and sat by the heater while we worked for the rest of the morning but we got our pumpkins! Next up... carving them with the community!

The Time Line is UP!

It took a little longer than expected, but our time line of the existance of life on Earth is finally up!

Before we could actually get everything up on the wall we had to label all the periods...

Since Pre-Cambrian took up much of the room we had to label it EIGHT times.

Dalton started going a little crazy about the Pre-Cambrian period.

Then came the fun part. Putting it up around the room!

This process mean lots of team work....

getting to use the ladder,

and the staple gun!

No wondered why they love this project so much!

Aww, more team work.
They took turns being the boss (meaning they climbed the ladder and stapled the paper) and then assistant (passing supplies and doing what the boss asked).

Daltini putting up the last period... which is when humans arrived on Earth. The piece of paper he is stapling on the wall is so small you cannot even see it!

So now it is time for a tour... here is Wall #1: When the Pre-Cambrian period started over 3.5 billion years ago.

Wall #2: Pre-Cambrian Period still in full swing.

And Wall #3: You guessed it, more Pre-Cambrian.

Wall #4: After about 2.8 billion years the Pre-Cambrian finally finished and the rest of the wall makes up the other 11 periods!

We were SO happy when we finally finished putting up our time line we jumped for joy.

And again!

And one more jump for the time line!
(I think this one was the best!)