Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Update and Special Message...

So, this week the boys are in Alaska visiting their dad and step-mom and I am inshore doing some school observations and attending some meetings and being all professional-like. The school dog is traveling well but she misses her island! AND I MISS MY STUDENTS!

But more importantly, today is a VERY special day... 11 years ago today Quinn Alexander Burroughs came into this crazy world! I bet he came in with all the style and wiggles as he still has today!

Happy Birthday Quinny! :)

Hope it was a great day!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

German Public Broadcasting Network!

We had a few visitors after school on Tuesday from the German Public Broadcasting Network. They had come to the island to film part of their documentary about small communities and wanted to stop by the school and film us working. I did not want them coming in during school hours because we had a LOT of work to do and did not need another distraction... but when they offered to come after school and the boys and parents were okay with it I gave in.

They only asked us a few questions and of course they fell in love with Millie so hopefully she will be a big star. But the best part was that they let the boys play around with their filming equipment!

Lights! CAMERA! Action!

Dalton looked like a natural.

Quinny too!

Overall it felt like a fun and easy experience.
We will see what the final film looks like and then fully decide!

Cell Mobiles!

For the boys assessment for their work with the parts and functions of the cell they had to create "cell mobiles" that included different objects that represented each of the cell's organelles and explanations of why the choose the particular object to symbolize the organelle. I remember doing a project like this in freshmen year of biology, so it is pretty cool they are doing it now... what smarty pants!

Since most of the objects the boys included to represent the cell organelle were not something you could easily hang on a mobile (for instance a fridge, a dumpster truck, and a grenade) the boys printed out pictures of the objects and pasted them onto index cards!

Daltini working diligently in his office. I told him to look miserable for the blog. This was the best he could do.
When it was time to make the mobiles we (meaning I) realized we had no dowels or anything you would traditionally use to make a mobile in our school. And since I could not run out to the local craft store to get supplies we had to get creative!

Quinn used an old egg carton we found in the back closet for the base of his mobile.

He then found some skewers to use to better "space out his organelles." What a good little mobile maker!

Dalton used a paper towel tube, some staples, and a whole lot of paper clips. I think this boy has a job in engenieering in his future!

Dalton had to create a mobile for both the plant and animal cell. Above one of his cards for the animal cell.

He used the remote because it controls a tv set just as a nucleus controls the cell.

Quinn got to choose which cell he wanted to make a mobile for.
He chose an animal cell.

And what would a grenade represent in an animal cell, you ask?

A lysosome of course, because they both break things apart and makes them smaller. Duh.

And a battery...

is like the mitochondria because it give energy to make things work!

And solar panels?

Chloroplasts! Found only in the plant cell!

The completed mobiles look great!

And I think they have helped the boys to know the cell structures and functions!

Island 2 Island Poetry!

We started in on a poetry unit yesterday. First let me tell you that the boys have kind of had a fear of poetry in the past, which is ironic because they are fantastic writers but I think the idea of actually sitting down and LEARNING about poetry was just not very appealing...

BUT that has all changed because of our new project...

We have started a poetry wiki to share our poetry with other islands. We began our work yesterday with Frenchboro... and hopefully we will get other islands involved too!

We used the Tanberg to meet with Frenchboro and their teacher, Ms. Finn, taught us a great lesson about the Haikus!

She sent us a powerpoint to follow while she spoke... (technology meet technology!)

After our lesson all of the students went on our new poetry wiki and practiced writing Haiku called "Who Am I." The Haikus had to give clues about a person, place, or thing without saying who or what it is! The kids posted their haikus and then posted on eachother's poems to guess who they were writing about.

Can you figure out who Dalton is writing about in this haiku?

Slithering green scales
Slide against the muddy earth
Waiting for the mouse

What about this one from Quinn...

used to be a star
governor of sunny state
I will be back.....later

After one hour we posted over 30 Haikus! Holy Moly!

It was a great lesson and we loved working with Frenchboro! Can't wait until our next poetry sesh...

I think I see a virtual "poetry slam" in our future!
(insert snapping figures)

Virtual Reading Groups!

Yes, that is right... we are doing some more online collaboration! Are you surprised?! Currently both boys are in "online book clubs" with other island students. The great thing is that both of the boys are in different clubs with kids in their own grade levels!

Dalton is in a book club that is being led by the fantastic teacher on Matinicus and is reading the book "Trouble" by Gary Schimt. He has four other students from Iselsford and Matinicus in his group!

Poor Quinny is in my group and we are reading "Walk Two Moons" by Sharon Creech! We have three other students in our group... one from Islesford, one from Matinicus, and one from Cliff Island!

All of our book groups have a group "wiki" where the students go every week to get their reading assignments, participate in online discussion forums, and post their work for the group members to see and comment on! We also have skype meetings once a week to discuss the book with our group! It is so refreshing to read a book with a "large" group of kids and by large I mean four kids! Woohoo!

I am hoping that we have these book groups for the rest of the year! So much fun!

Our robots are BACK!

We have started back up with our robotics program! We decided to take the fall and early winter off from robotics due to all our busy field trips and what not! But now we are in robot mode! The boys have begun their preparations for the Lego Robotics track meet that will be held in April!

You may remember that last year Dalton won a trophy for his ping-pong throwing robot design! He is going to compete in that category again but he wants to improve his design!

He has come such a long way in his three years doing lego robotics! He is now such a great mentor for Quinn!

Speaking of Quinn, he is going to be entering the "speed" event for robots! He developed his first model this week but he has some improvements to make. I am just proud of him for trying out a new category at the meet!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Field Trip Moment of the Week

I just found a scarp piece of paper in my purse with the "moment of the week" written on it from our Field Trip...

Monday evening at the movies theater waiting for the film to begin...

Quinn: "Jessie, what day does the mole see it's shadow?"

Dalton: "It's not a mole Quinn!"

Quinn: "What is it?"

Jessie: "You know... it's name sounds like mound fog!"

Quinn: (in a completely serious voice) "Oh yeah! A wart hog!"

Oh man. Priceless.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Smartest School Dog-In-Training EVER!

I know, I know... enough with the dog already. But really... this is pretty amazing!

Millie has somehow channeled Maya as the school dog. She does so many things that are SO Maya! For one... she will not leave the school yard while we are in session. Here she is sitting at the drive way... just guarding the school.

She often will go out and just sit on the step for an hour at a time. Just watching and guarding... JUST like Maya use to do.

Even when people call her from the road... she won't leave her spot until they come up the school path and meet her.

I mean, come on... she is 12 weeks old! She is a genius... I am so glad she is channeling Maya.

And I never even tried to train Maya to do this! I worked with her this weekend at school to ring the bell when she wanted to go out and presto! She can do it!

It was so cute today to all be quietly working and then we hear a little jingle-jingle and there is little Millie waiting at the door to go out!

NOW do you understand why I think she is just SO amazing!?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

February Field Trip!

Our lack of blogging last week was due to the fact that we were on a pretty crazy field trip that ended up getting even crazier! Just the fact that we were trying to tack a field trip off island in February was crazy enough BUT a field trip off island to go to other islands in the dead winter is just down right insane... but that's how we roll.

Our original plan for our trip was to travel off island on Monday and travel on the Sunbeam for the week while they went on their telemedicine trip! We were planning on visiting Frenchboro, then Isle Au Haut, and finally Matinicus! We were excited to visit all the different schools and do work with them on some of our collaboration projects! BUT when does an island school field trip ever go according to plan!?

Monday we DID get to North East Harbor and stayed on the Sunbeam overnight! We also went to this AWESOME movie theatre that serves pizza in Bar Harbor! SO good! Tuesday morning we woke up on the Sunbeam... and of course started the day with some poker!

After poker we had breakfast! Thank goodness Angela sent us with homemade bagels! We lived off them all week long!

Inside the Sunbeam! I wish we could have school on this boat every day!

The Sunbeam left North East Harbor Tuesday morning and headed to Frenchboro for the first leg of our trip! Quinn fit in a little morning nap before arriving on Frenchboro!

Frenchboro ahead!

When we arrived on Frenchboro a whole truck load of kids greeted us... literally!
How's THAT for a welcome wagon!

And speaking of welcomes... look at these FABULOUS signs made for us!

In the morning we joined Frenchboro for their math class and we got to compare math programs.

In the afternoon we joined the school for PE class! The boys were PUMPED to use all of their amazing hockey equipment!

Hockey is a BIG deal on Frenchboro. I think we (meaning the boys) represented Monhegan well!

Brother and brother head off!

The storm had already started at this point, which made playing hockey pretty interesting!

After we got back and dried off we did some Improv activities!

We played some of our favorite games... "Freeze Frame", "Party Quirks", "Get My Attention", and my personal favorite "The Question Game!"

These kids are pee your pants funny!

At the end of our time with Frenchboro my guys got to share their business plans with the Frenchboro kids!

What a difference it makes to do projects when you KNOW you get to present it to other students!

Once we got back on the Sunbeam we got the official news that the rest of our trip on the Sunbeam was canceled due to the storm! We were headed back to North East Harbor... and we had to figure out what to do next...

The kids were pretty bummed out that we were not going to make it to Isle au Haut and Matinicus...

But gradually their spirits lifted...

Especially when I told them that I contacted our good friends at Islesford School and they said we could come stay with them for the rest of our trip!

Then their spirits just got plain silly!

So we stayed Tuesday night on the Sunbeam and then first thing Wednesday morning we took the Islesford Ferry over to our home away from home... Islesford!

Here is Quinn on the Islesford boat... showing that so far on this trip we had to pack and unpack our luggage 3 times!

On the way to Islesford the ferry we stopped at Great Cranberry to pick up some of the school kids to go to Islesford... boy were they surprised (and happy) to see us!

We were excited to surprise the rest of the kids!

This is Dalton's version of hiding to surprise everyone!

Once everyone got to school it was time to DANCE!

And of course the "too cool for school" middle schoolers don't dance. Whatever.

But this first grader looks super cool busting a move.

Down to business. Since we were all together we took the opportunity for the kids to meet with some of the members of their virtual book groups. Above is group 4, also known as "The Peace Enforcing Super Surfing Radio Active Ninja Puppies."

And here is two members of book group 3, now known as "Mini Lolipopkinz Adventurers wearing Moccasins"

During our book work the "littles" came in to survey us with some questions for their math project. What a cute interrupted.

Then it was time to work on our science projects!

Hard at work.

While the olders were working hard the littles were in the next room having a read aloud.
Soooooo cute.

On Wednesday afternoon we had a "snow day" at school because of the storm. We had a sing along!

And then partner reading!

We just LOVE this school.

On Thursday morning we shared our business plans with Islesford.

And then the kids had one more romp outside before it was time to head back to the mainland!

We sure do love this school!

Then it was on yet another boat... back to North East Harbor.

Five time of packing and unpacking!

We left North East Harbor and drove to Rockland where we stayed at Anne's... what is the best part of staying at Anne's... THE DOGS!!!! Oh, and seeing Anne of course!

Thursday night we watched some movies and did some homework. Dalton was not a fan of Quinn's movie choice.

Friday morning... get to go home... SEVEN times of packing and unpacking! I think we set a record.

Good try Quinny.

Overall it was a crazy but awesome... crazy awesome field trip! Thanks to everyone who made it possible!