Friday, July 17, 2015

Week 3 at Robinson: Pizza, pastry, pebbles & poems!

Robinson summer program students are constantly increasing the variety of experiences they have as we continue to build a tight community of workshop leaders and learners. We have upped the ante as far as putting the students in charge of taking care of our learning spaces and we are seeing a lot of great things thanks to a mix of pure, unadulterated summer fun and focused, quiet mindfulness. This week, we crossed the threshold and are now in the second half of the program. It's hard to believe that school starts back up in only six weeks! But let's stay in the present moment for now...

Our special guest teacher this week was perennial favorite Bertha Allen, an all-star of the ANESU food service team whose workshops are always a hit. Bertha never fails to excite with her cooking and baking projects and the kids made cookies, cupcakes, peanut butter balls, apple prints, and other tasty treats befitting our halfway point celebration week. Every student even ate all of the fruits and veggies in their lunches to get their hands on their technicolor frosted and artfully decorated cupcakes on Wednesday. Now that's midsummer magic!

Here are reports from our other workshop leaders:

In wellness we continued our pursuit of healthfully moving and eating our way through each week. We kicked Monday off with yoga sessions in each group, where kids were calling out their favorite poses by name: "I want to do the dog!" was a shout heard throughout the day. Tree pose is proving to be another favorite. After joining up with math/science for the excursion to the creek, Wednesday and Thursday were focused on honing our pizzaiolo skills (that's Italian for pizza chef). Using the sourdough starters that we have been nurturing for the past couple weeks, we made both sourdough pizza dough with wild yeast, and regular pizza dough with store-bought yeast, comparing flavors and rising. No one hesitated to get hands doughy and sticky, and kneading was clearly the favorite part of the project for all ages. The feeling of soft, smooth, dough was exciting, and one student even exclaimed that they would like their pillow to be made from pizza dough! Finally, the week closed out with outdoor games and a general release of the yayas, always a necessary and important part of wellness.

Speaking of dough, our budding ecologists and stewards of the land made play dough and used it to make 3D models of mountains using topographic maps of Starksboro and surrounding area. Then we put the models in a container and added water to show how contour lines work. Some great connected comments and scientific observations were overheard: "I know what Camel's Hump looks like, I have climbed it.",  "I live by Shaker Mountain!",  "Look Bald Mountain,it has no hair.",  "Did our mountains just get flooded?"

This week in ELA and Arts, we have done outdoor resist paintings with oil pastel and watercolor. We've also started creating our own handmade "I Spy" books at the 1-2 level. At the 3-4 and 5-6 levels we have begun creating a large trivia game focused on the Five Towns. The students will be doing the research and writing the questions, as well as building a game board based on a map of the towns. Our hope is to leave the game with Robinson School when it's completed.

Under the guidance of our science guru Nancy, the fifth and sixth graders contacted building and grounds manager Andy Young to see if they could use what Tom Estey taught them about erosion to fix the path to the pavilion. On Friday, Andy brought a load of aggregate and top soil to school and a team of four students filled in the well-worn trench to make it safer, nicer looking, and more functional for the school. WE LOVE THIS! and it connects to the biggest hope we have for students who participate in this program: that they have a new-found sense of ownership of their school and community. 

Being at school during the summer months has an undeserved bad reputation. All of us hope that the all-access pass to the kitchen, walks through the adjacent woodlands, visits from community members, blackberry patch raids, helping with maintenance, and having the gaga ball court all to ourselves make some lasting memories for our summer kiddos. What we really hope is that, come September, all of our students will walk the halls and grounds of Robinson as if they have just spent the preceding five weeks in a sort of secret club.
...Because they have!

Try not to have a big, goofy smile on your face when you watch this week's slideshow. It has been a very, very happy week here at school.

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