Sunday, February 28, 2010

Fundraiser for Portland Public Schools...

Come Rock Around-the-World!  Join us for an evening of dancing at a global rock and roll extravaganza. Learn dances from different cultures.  Also, enjoy delicious international hors d'oeuvres, a raffle, and a silent auction of goods and services from Portland and around the world.  This event is the fifth annual fundraiser to benefit summer academic programs for multilingual students in Portland.  The extravaganza will be held at the Italian Heritage Center, 40 Westland Avenue, Portland on Friday, March 12, 2010 from 7-11:00 PM.  Tickets are $25 in advance.  Limited tickets for $30.00 will be available at the door.  To order tickets, call the Multilingual and Multicultural Center at 874-8135.

If you can't come and dance with us because of another engagement, please consider getting a ticket or two.  Remember this is a fundraiser.  Thank you very much for your support.

Wilfreid Plalum
Multilingual and Multicultural Center
Portland Public Schools
171 Auburn Street
Portland, ME 04103
207-756-8421 fax 

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Food for Teachers (in-service day March 12)

Parents have traditionally provided lunch and treats on in-service days as a way to thank teachers and staff for their hard work... if you are able to contribute, please let Maureen know!

Renrollment -- Kim waxes philosophical again (doesn't anyone else want to externally process?)

please, please, please come to the parent's association meeting and participate in the "visioning" and strategic thinking about FSP's future -- Thursday Feb 25 @ 5:30! 

Reenrollment at Friends sometimes triggers angst for me.  How do I make sense of all this resource going toward my own children, when there is so much greater need in the world?  I experience Friends School as a great privilege and one that I sometimes feel guilty about.  We did not choose Friends because we were unhappy with our public school, but because the SPICES (and Kathleen's Angela Adams rug squares) called to us in an undeniable way.  Grace was made for a Friends education, but so was I, and it continues to be an amazing pleasure to be with and learn from this community.

 I was interested to hear another friend (lower case f) talking about her decision to send her daughter to a Waldorf and how she experienced it as a family sacrifice necessary to protect her child from a larger culture that is not doing right by kids.  Although she too saw it as a privilege, she was more indignant at the bind she was in, feeling that her public options were so unsafe that her "choice" was not much of a real choice at all.

I'm curious how others make sense of independent school in these times? 

It is my great hope that a Friends School education will help our children be great citizens, participating in the creation of knowledge and culture, in problem solving for the common good, and in participatory democracy in some courageous way (that is true to themselves).  I hope that they are solid and clear about their own gifts and inner light, and can truly shine that light on others, bringing out the best in a group and community.  I hope they have some deep sense that they can be happy while also helping others be happy, that happiness is not a zero-sum game.

What are your wishes for your children and yourselves, with regard to a Friends education? 

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Women Ski Jumpers Grounded Again at Winter Olympics

Our family has watched a lot of Olympics this winter break, and while Craig encourages the girls to simply marvel at the sheer athletic prowess, I attempt to plug in all sorts of parenting gems about the importance of persistence, learning how to lose graciously, what it means to be a good teammate, etc. We've had some great moments to discuss "fairness" -- what it means (is it fair to have to ski on a slower course, because weather changes?), how it gets applied (are the judges fair? who's to say?), and how to make sense of an existential lack of fairness in the universe (is it fair to train for your whole life and miss a medal by almost-nothing)? (As usual, I leave these conversations grateful for Billy and the examples being set in modern day P.E.) ... We have stumbled on an issue that are clear about -- not letting women compete in ski jumping seems clearly unfair!). For more info, read this article by NOW and watch this MSNBC video

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Raffi's new web site

Baby Beluga will forever remind me of the first days home with a new baby, trying to get my bearings in this world of mothering.  Raffi has taken things further, working on pushing the concept of "child honoring" into our lives in personal, political, and policy ways.  Check out his new web site, and then enjoy while humming along to "Mr Sun":

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Eleanor Days

Any women out there in need of inspiration and recharge?

Join us for The Eleanor Days, Women's Leadership Retreats, 2010
Stone Cottage, Isle au Haut
One session: Tuesday, June 15 - Saturday, June 19, 2010

“The Eleanor Days” is for women who lead and act in the world to create social change.  It is for women who want to create the space to rejuvenate, reflect and integrate new self-care skills and support networks into their lives. It’s for women who want to explore these types of issues within a small community of women in a natural setting on a beautiful island off the coast of Maine.
The vision, commitment and courage of Eleanor Roosevelt inspire this women’s leadership retreat, sponsored by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension (UMCE). Eleanor Roosevelt was a social activist, who during her White House years and beyond, was sustained and emboldened by the network of activist women friends and colleagues in her life.
Now in our seventh year, the retreat is designed with a balance of unstructured and group time each day.  We explore topics of our socialization, self-care, who inspires us, competition and collaboration, what gets in the way of full support for ourselves and each other.  Past participants have included directors and staff of social service agencies, non-profit organizations, and foundations; University faculty and administrators; and business owners.  They have been educators, health care professionals, business women, artists, social workers, philanthropists and volunteers.  They have been at all stages of their careers and lives.
This retreat begins when the late afternoon boat from Stonington arrives at Isle au Haut on June 15th and ends mid day on the 19th. It is limited to 10 women, including the leadership team of Deb Burwell, Eileen Conlon and Aileen Fortune. So space is limited, register early.

Early registration is $550, fully paid by April 9 and regular registration is $675. A limited number of partial scholarships are available. Complete program materials and registration form are attached. Feel free to contact me or Aileen Fortune with any questions you may have and please share with other women you know who might be interested.  Thank you!


Eileen M. Conlon, Ed.D.
Conlon Consulting Group & AIC
121 Horace Mills Road
Wells, ME  04090
207 337-3983

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Ellie Plays with Dar!

Dar Williams played to a sold out crowd at 1 Longfellow Square last night, and our own Ellie Chase got to sing with her. It was a magical few moments! 

We felt better about being there when she played the babysitter song... 

Ellie -- what was the name of the song you sang? 

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Love Songs & Songs for Teaching

Who among us doesn't have the winter blues by now?  Heal your weariness at the love-song-sing-along during Friday's assembly.  I'm pulling for "baby duck" but there are lots of great songs to choose from (check out the song list in the right hand side bar) and who knows what Ellie & James might surprise us with...

  1. I Love by Tom T. Hall

    Play song from
    Country Songs For Children - 1995 - 2:07
    Listen on: Lala - iLike - Rhapsody - Pandora

If your child has to learn the 50 states or the multiplication tables or how to handle her temper or a zillion other things, check out the song list at Songs for Teaching... almost every possible lesson is set to music.

From Kristine Jenkins, Enviornmental Health Strategy Center

Just sending out this great video to remind people that it's not too late to sign up for lobby day with the Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine (Tuesday morning, Feb. 23rd - contact me for details.) 


Kristine Jenkins
Outreach and Organizing Director
Environmental Health Strategy Center
565 Congress Street
Portland, Maine 04101
(207) 699-5799

Protect and support girls (and boys)


Dear Friends and Allies,

We need your help to end an offensive and damaging new ad campaign aimed at girls and women.  American Apparel has launched a contest called The Search for the Best Bottom in the World, and Hardy Girls is leading the effort to get AA to end this campaign immediately.  Click through and you’ll see why.  American Apparel is asking girls and women to upload pictures of their butts to the company’s website wearing AA intimates, and inviting visitors to comment and vote on the submissions.

I’ve signed the petition demanding American Apparel stop this campaign and hope you will too.
The consequences of marketing practices like this are a generation of girls and women who feel silenced, objectified, and disempowered.  We know that these messages are damaging to boys views of girls as well, and contribute to an epidemic of violence and harassment towards girls and women.  Here are just a few of the trends American Apparel is contributing to:

  •        The sexualization of girls and women - according to the 2007 APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls in Media, the negative impact on girls and women is indisputable: the sexualization of girls and women in media wreak havoc on our psychological, emotional, cognitive and relational lives;
  •         The direct and unconscionable undermining of girls’ healthy development - by equating confidence with looking sexy, winning with being judged on their appearance, and personal value with 15 seconds of fame;
  •         The objectification of girls’ and women’s bodies in mainstream media - in a country where 1 in 4 women is a victim of violence, and sexual harassment is rampant in our schools; and,
  •         The placing of girls in jeopardy of prosecution by inviting them to post highly sexualized images of themselves online – at a time when sexting is making headlines.

I urge you to sign the petition, pledge not to shop in American Apparel stores, and tell your friends to do the same!

Kalediscope Arts offering

 What if snow came down in different colors?

School vacation week is coming up!
Join us for a Vacation Creations workshop
and have fun making
colorful snowflakes, rainbow snowmen, tin window decorations,
1lanterns, candy snowpeople, and more!

10 am to noon Wednesday February 17
ages 6 and up
$18 per person

790 Stevens Avenue
Portland 04103

to register or ask questions, email us (or call 773-2255)

Carolyn and Phyllis

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Class gift for the auction

Hey all,

It is auction time... in past years, children have loved contributing to the auction and participating in the fun and active support of their school.  The auction committee is looking for class gifts that reflect the themes and interests of the class.

One idea I'm noodling with is a way that kids could commit service projects for the school, but then have those go out for bid.  Is that too mercenary?  I'm thinking, for example, if the 5th-6th put in an afterschool island clean-up, or the 7th-8th donated time to the daycare... Alternatively, their art is so amazing, maybe students could pick favorite pieces from the class and we could have a mini-art auction of student art?  Favorite books that represent the class are always great too.. and things that extend from the curricula (like the 3-4 putting together a "made in Maine basket" while studying Maine).

Please, please, please use comments to generate and fine tune other ideas!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Nordic ski finals this Saturday

Our skiers will be competing for Portland Nordic in the state middle school finals in Fryeburg this Saturday, February 13th, to finish up the season. If you're looking for something interesting to do, why not head on out to Fryeburg Academy? You can find schedules, directions, maps and all the rest by clicking on the link above. On the left-hand side of the FA Ski Team page, click on the link for the Maine Junior Ski Club and the information will pop up as an embedded pdf (doesn't that sound technical? I'm inventing names for this, so just humor me and click where you're supposed to).

Monday, February 8, 2010

Last chance to order lasagna!

What: Homemade vegetarian lasagna: plain, spinach, or gluten-free - 8”x4” aluminum pan

Cost: $10 per pan

When: Order by Tuesday, Feb 9 (sign up near school office)

Pick up, Friday, Feb 12, noon to 1 or after assembly in the 7-8 classroom

Some extras will be made, but it is most helpful if you place an order. Last year they sold out!

See Lee Chisholm with questions.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Swim Lessons

Y members take note : swim lesson registration starts tomorrow...

Another great bibliography site

This site from students in a NYU teacher-ed program provides annotations regarding books that address social justice topics and some ideas about how to use them in conversation / classrooms...

Friday, February 5, 2010

To Augusta!

There are two upcoming chances to head to Augusta and lobby for your point of view.

On February 11, the Coalition for Maine Women is hosting a day at the Statehouse.

On February 23, the Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine offers the opportunity to engage legislators about environmental health issues.

RSVP by clicking here or find out more information with Kristine at or 699-5799

News from Real Life Real Talk

All kinds of interesting news from Real Life / Real Talk 

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Jewlery Sale to Benefit Friends of Kakamega Orphanage

Learn more about Kakamega, the Friends of Kakamega project, or the status of children in Kenya... then join Macey and Phil Kaplan in supporting the Friends of Kakamega Orphanage and Care Center.

NYT article on the importance of Play

Corie is great about keeping us up to date with interesting reading about parenting, and education. Here is a NYT article affirming (once again) FSP's approach to early child education...
OPINION | February 02, 2010 Contributor: Playing to Learn By SUSAN ENGEL If the Obama administration wants to reform education, it should overhaul the current curriculum, which is completely at odds with the way a child's mind develops.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Fifty Dangerous Things

Gever Tully, founder of Tinkering School, has written a book called Fifty Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Children Do. Here's a condensed look at the kinds of things that are in the book in the form of a talk the author gave at a TED conference. The book itself is available for around $30 on amazon, and can most likely be ordered through your local indie bookseller. Here is a link to videos of a couple of Tully's talks.

It all kind of falls under Kim's previous post on Free-Range Parenting, and we'd love to know how you all feel about these issues (or are they non-issues?). Our family falls mostly on the side of letting our kids do things, but I draw the line with cars, firearms, and deliberate copyright violations. I was surprised to learn that someone we know recently gave his son a bb gun for his eighth birthday. Where do you draw those lines, and by what rationale?

Thanks to Four for keeping us supplied with interesting studies and controversies!

See Ellie Play

Ellie will be "singing love songs (and kid songs) to get you in the mood for valentine's day and promoting my "finished" CD this Saturday February 6th at Good Eats Boutique, 463 Steven's Ave. Chocolate and wine tasting if my singing isn't enticing enough! All ages. Clint will be there with the kids. Stop in any time btwn 2 and 6pm. Jake will have a few of his own CDs for sale as well."

Heartfelt Valentine's from kaleidoArts

Love-ly greetings to all! Join us for our HeartFelt Valentines Workshop! Ages 6 through adult We will make lace prints, Valentine boats, garlands, found-object collages and more! We will even decorate heart-shaped sugar cookies! Saturday February 6 10 am - noon $18 per person Email us for more info or to sign up (or call 773-2255) 790 Stevens Avenue Portland 04103 (and don't forget the Women's Creativi-Tea is rescheduled for Saturday February 13 from 1-3 pm)