Sunday, July 26, 2015

So Much More During Week 4

This week, we will let the workshop leaders speak for themselves...

From Christine:
In ELA, our 1st and 2nd graders continue to design fun and challenging pictures for their I Spy books. This week, we created pages with the following themes: art, kitchen, and tools. The kids are having a grand time hiding secrets in their pages, and creating challenges for their readers! In 3rd-6th grades, we continue to work on our trivia game. The students are doing a fantastic job researching our towns, and writing questions to challenge and engage players. Some of our answers are more serious than others, and many of the students have had a lot of fun making up the wrong answers. We've also had a lot of fun creating a game board. We've created maps, stained boards, painted, and added details. Then, we got our hands really dirty by spreading coffee grounds over our artwork to create an aged look. Then, our oldest students even got to review some fire safety when we singed the edges of our maps to add the final creative touch. Next, we will be mounting our maps to our boards and adding a path for players to follow on their "Journey Through the Five Towns."

From Nancy:
The visit to Lewis Creek with Matthew Witten on Monday let the students experienced the difference of water level and velocity from the downpour Sunday night. We made a quick trip through the geological timeline of this area; glaciers, sea, sediment deposits, including sand pits, and waterways. Our journey brought us to the Abenaki and the importance of the waterways for these first people. Groups reenacted the story of the first settlers of Starksboro, learning about the harsh conditions and lack of food for the Bidwell family. We moved forward through time and play-acted the growing Starksboro settlement; gristmills, sawmills, blacksmith and store, and the farm families. We watched a slideshow of the Hoag Gristmill in town and a video of an operating gristmill. This furthered our understanding of the importance of Lewis Creek and other surrounding streams. This topic brought up energy discussing the transfer of water power to create mechanical energy. Talking about energy, the 5th and 6th graders continued their community project of filling in the gully. They are capable and hard workers! Pictures in the slideshow show older students making water wheels during their exploration of energy and Starksboro early settlement. Younger students can be seen play-acting the early settlement of Starksboro and the story Pancakes, Pancakes by Eric Carle. These eager thespians have come into the workshop each day asking to do another play! We also conducted a yeast experiment, collecting the waste product of yeast, carbon dioxide and made dough models of the insects we found in Lewis Creek: caddisfly and stonefly larvae.

From Isaac:
This week's wellness program started with a bang on Monday with a "taste the playground" tour, walking the school grounds to gather and talk about three different wild edible plants that grow in abundance around Robinson. We learned about the colorful history of the plants and their uses by Native Americans and European settlers, and then headed into the kitchen to wash off our collection and have a taste-test. The strong flavors were not to everyone's liking, but some enjoyed the tastes and one especially enthusiastic student exclaimed after a tentative bite, "That's good, it's going straight down the hatch!" On Tuesday we had an all-student (and teacher) kickball game and yoga session, before we turned our focus to a more low-key project on Wednesday: sewing bean bags. For many kids, this was their first experience with a needle and thread, and it was wonderful to see every age group handing the needles carefully and working through inevitable tangles and challenges. We closed out the week with a student-choice game day, returning to gaga and other blood-pumping activities to finish strong on Friday.

Our special guest teacher this week was Grace Freeman. Grace worked with students in all age groups on sign language and singing, challenging them to perform rounds of songs with different lyrics but the same tunes. The end result was a concert on Friday and, as you can see and hear from the YouTube videos below, the kids worked really hard and stayed focused to make some beautiful music together! We were also joined by local coaches Steve and Don for story time with the Bookwagon on Tuesday morning and, as Nancy mentioned above, a visit with Conservation Commission member Matt Witten. These visits from community members are always such a treat and go a long way to helping our students feel connected with their town.

Next week is our last week together! In some ways it is hard to believe that July is drawing to a close already. We will end in style, though, with Eugenie Doyle visiting with the Bookwagon, Field Day activities on Thursday morning, special guest teachers Hilary (more nature journaling!) and Mike (baseball historian and chess coach), and hopefully a walking trip to Lewis Creek Farm. Stay tuned!

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