Thursday, September 30, 2010


Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands/Maine Forest Service Fall Foliage Hikes
The beauty of Maine's fall foliage will be highlighted in the next few weeks with seven fall foliage events--including six hikes and a river paddle--presented by the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands and the Maine Forest Service.

Events will be led by both a BPL park manager/ranger and a MFS district forester. This year's series of hikes will range from easy to moderate difficulty. New this year is the inclusion of hikes at two public reserve land units, which should give participants an experience of these multi-use, wilderness areas managed by BPL.

The paddle will take place at the BPL's newest park, the Androscoggin Riverlands State Park, north of the Lewiston-Auburn area and is sponsored by the Androscoggin Land Trust.

Hikers should wear sturdy, appropriate footwear, with enclosed toes, and comfortable clothing, preferably worn in layers. Paddlers will need to bring their own boats, life vests, and gear. Participants should bring cameras, binoculars, snacks and water. The BPL and MFS especially thank Poland Spring for donating bottled water for this program.

The events will take place:
10 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 2, Mt. Blue State Park, Weld;
10 a.m., Sunday, Oct. 3, Sebago Lake State Park, Casco;
10 a.m., Sunday, Oct. 3, Bald Mountain Public Reserve Land, Franklin County;
10 a.m., Sunday, Oct. 3, Bradbury Mountain State Park, Freeport;
10 a.m., Sunday, Oct. 3, Androscoggin Riverlands State Park, Turner;
10 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 9, Shackford Head State Park, Eastport;
1 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 10, Camden Hills State Park, Camden.
For more specific information about the hikes/paddle, including difficulty and meeting places, go to:  Or call, Melissa Macaluso, BPL, at (207) 287-4960.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Classrooms with a Conscience

Would anyone be interested in attending this?

Classrooms with a Conscience

A day-long ethics conference for public and independent school teachers of high school and middle school students

In our classrooms, can we raise issues of identity, morality and cultural diversity?  Can we ask students: “Who am I?”  Who are you?”  “Who are we?”  Can we teach students first, and subjects second — emphasizing both morality and achievement?

After keynote address by Author James Carroll, ten exciting seminars propose many ways to teach ethics in the classroom.

Find out more: conference schedule and seminar leaders
Thursday October 7, 2010
9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Milton Academy, Milton, Massachusetts
Co-sponsored by Milton Academy and Facing History and Ourselves

Open to teachers of all subjects, administrators, coaches, professional staff, parents and community leaders. Lunch will be provided. PDP’s are available.

Educator rate: $75 (teachers, administrators, staff)
Group rate: $65 each (3 or more)
Community rate: $100 (parents, community leaders)

Pre-register by September 27 at
Keynote Address
“Conscience, Classroom, Class, and Contempt”
Keynote speaker James Carroll is an award-winning author of fiction and non-fiction, columnist for The Boston Globe, regular contributor to The Daily Beast.  James Carroll’s American Requiem won the National Book Award. His landmark book on Christian anti-Semitism, Constantine's Sword, is among his several national bestsellers and was adapted for a feature length documentary. His newest work Jerusalem, Jerusalem: The Ancient City that Ignited Our Modern World is due to be released in March 2011. Issues of prejudice and discrimination, as well as those of nuclear threat,  disarmament, and peacemaking have coursed through Mr. Carroll’s life’s work. He has been a fellow at both the Kennedy School and the Divinity School at Harvard University, and is now distinguished scholar in residence at Suffolk University.

Fwd: TEDx in Maine


Click on image for details and to attend

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Friday, September 24, 2010

Internet Safety

Common Sense Media, the folks who do the down and dirty movie reviews for Netflix, have a series of articles on teaching your children internet safety. The latest is an article on whether you need web-tracking software. An interesting series of comments follows, debating whether using this software is justified or just plain spying. Where do you stand on this? Would it be good to have a guest in to speak frankly on internet safety for one of the Body/Mind/Spirit classes? Leave your comment below to weigh in! It's always interesting to know how others handle parenting as their kids become teens.

Instrumental music classes

Any student in grades 4 - 8 may take instrumental music classes at FSP, and more than 50% of eligible students have already signed up! Beginner Strings and Beginner Band happen during 2nd recess on Mondays, while Chorus and Instrumental Ensemble (for those with a year or more experience on their band or string instrument) are during 2nd recess on Fridays. There is no cost to parents for the instruction. However, parents are responsible for renting or buying an appropriate instrument and a book or two. FMI contact Christina ( Classes started this week, but she's still taking students.

More for the 5/6 Social Studies Project

I'm not usually a big reader of historical fiction, but my bookclub chose The Physik Book of Deliverance Dame (about Salem and witches and mothers and daughters) and it was perfect for me, as the prelude to the 5/6 social studies project.  I find questions about memory, about storytelling, and about the historical canon fascinating.  I think Grace does too, but of course her sense of "history" is just emerging, which is fascinating in and of itself.

November 27th has been deemed the National Day of Listening by StoryCorp and NPR - an opportunity to record some of the unique stories that emerge from the 5/6 social studies project... and if all this piques curiosity enough, PBS has an interesting site about American Families including an online family tree that allows relatives to all contribute to a shared site. 

I just read a review of Patricia Reilly Giff's new book The Storyteller, and immediately interlibrary loaned it for Grace.  It seems right up the ally of the 5/6 social studies project and I know she has enjoyed other books by Giff.  Here is a review from the 4th Musketeer blog (which has other reviews of historical literature for kids, as well), and from RandomHouse's web page: 

View the Teachers Guide!
Buy this book online.

Juvenile Fiction - Social Situations - Friendship Wendy Lamb Books | Hardcover | September 2010 | $ 15.99 | 978-0-375-83888-0 (0-375-83888-0)
About the Book

A story of the American Revolution from two-time Newbery Honor–winning author Patricia Reilly Giff.

While staying with her aunt, Elizabeth finds something remarkable: a drawing. It hangs on the wall, a portrait of her ancestor, Eliza, known as Zee. She looks like Elizabeth.
The girls’ lives intertwine as Elizabeth’s present-day story alternates with Zee’s, which takes place during the American Revolution. Zee is dreamy, and hopeful for the future—until the Revolution tears apart her family and her community in upstate New York. Left on her own, she struggles to survive and to follow her father and brother into battle.

Zee’s story has been waiting to be rediscovered by the right person. As Elizabeth learns about Zee, and walks where Zee once walked and battles raged, the past becomes as vivid and real as the present.

In this beautifully crafted, affecting novel from beloved author Patricia Reilly Giff, the lives of two girls reflect one another as each finds her own inner strengths. 

What books get you thinking about the connection between family and history?  

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Outing Club Dinner

The Outing Club is hosting a fundraiser Soup Dinner on October 22  -- see Nicole for suggestions about who's selling tickets...  Should be fun and FSP families have a good reputation for yummy food. 

Harvest Dinner 

Friday, Oct. 22nd 6:00- 8:00pm

F.S.P. Carter Hall

Please bring your own dishes and silverware!

Local Food/Music/Support the Outing Club!

$15.00 adult / $5.00 child 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wolf Pine Winter Share

In case you missed it in the e-bulletin, Wolf Pine is offering a winter share and there is the possibility of using FSP as a pick-up spot... email Jessica if you're interested!

Fwd: DailyGood: Doing Silence

I love these daily/weekly emails from Charity Focus but this one seemed particularly useful for our FSP community... Our kids get the "gift of Doing Silence" -- so simple, so profound.

Learning how to be still, to really be still and let life happen - that stillness becomes a radiance. --Morgan Freeman

Tip of the Day:
Allan Hall was seeking still moments. Somehow, he found himself at a London boys' school, where Headmaster David Boddy leads a period of quiet time at the start of each day. For ten minutes, three hundred boys sit in silence. Many close their eyes. All fidgeting ceases. It made Hall think. What do we get from stillness - those moments of reverie, of daydreaming, in an ever more noisy, busy, and stimulating world? "In the midst of the 10 minutes, you may get a couple of minutes of absolute inner quiet but the rest is sort of getting there," Boddy offers. With moments of stillness come opportunities for reflection, random association and creativity. The gift of "Doing Silence," as one author calls it, may just be the gift of tapping into and understanding ourselves. [ more ]

Be The Change:
Make time throughout the day to be still. [ more ]

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

International Peace Day

Today, students and staff at the Friends School will celebrate International Peace Day by creating "Pinwheels for Peace" with the Baxter School and Real School. However, what it means to truly engage in peacemaking is elusive and complicated and requires reflection and commitment.  In the past, I've shared a lot of links about various organizations that work with children and communities to develop peacemaking skills.  Today, I'm stuck in a place of query : how do we move beyond wishing for peace to actually creating it, and is nonviolent social protest the same as peaceful social change?

Raffi has a call for putting the world's children at the center of our shared decisions in Yes Magazine.  He writes:
As individuals, we’re accustomed to putting the needs of children first. It comes naturally to us; we intuitively understand our deep responsibility to the very young. At the societal level, though, we often fail to take their rights and needs (including future ones) into account. Imagine what would happen if we did—if compassion and consideration for children’s well-being became the basis of our collective decisions.
 And this rings true to me --the labor of meeting the perceived needs of our own individual children can edge out time and energy to develop social policies and shared resources that meet the needs of our whole community, including our families.  The pace of our own treadmill picks up, leaving us without the space to imagine more shared responsibilities and the potential joy of some interdependence.

I'd love a parent-discussion about how we enact peace making in our own lives, families and communities and the complexities that that brings up... any interest?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Book News

As some of you know, in addition to my work at FSP as teacher and marketing coordinator, I'm also a writer and illustrator and an MFA candidate in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts. My work and learning require me to be involved in the children's book industry and the kidlitosphere online. Therefore, when Kim sent me an invitation to post on the Friends School Blog I thought that I could write an occasional post about books for kids and how you can find great books for your children. For this blog, I'll be giving you some links to other bloggers and online resources for books that are new and newsworthy. Curious City Books: Close to home, in Portland Kirsten Cappy helps market great authors and illustrators around New England and around the country. See what events she's planning... Not Your Mothers Bookclub: If you have a teen and you don't know your Mocking bird from your Mockingjay you need to visit this site. Young Adult Books Central: View book trailers, book reviews, and book giveaways. Click on the "Children's Book Reviews" for info on more middle grade appropriate books. Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast: Do you have a kiddo who can't go to bed without a picture book? These bloggers introduce you to great PB's with a special emphasis on illustration. Here's a specific link to a day where they featured Mainer Melissa Sweet. The CYBILS: The CYBILS are an award given out by bloggers in the kidlitosphere. The nomination process is open to all and the judges are authors, illustrators, industry members, and friends. The nomination lists are a great place to look for good books, and the winners aren't to shabby either. Mitali Perkins' Blog: Mitali provides "a safe place to chat about books between cultures." Uma Krishnaswami: Uma is an amazing writer and a student of the picture book and all it has to teach us. She is thoughtful and brilliant. Read Roger: Roger Sutton is the long time editor of the Horn Book. He is opinionated but his opinion are based on a lifetime of love for children's literature. You can also choose to receive the Horn Book Newsletter which is a GREAT resource. Publishers Weekly "Children's": If you want to know the books featured in the upcoming publishing catalogs you should subscribe to the PW's Children's RSS. Okay. That's it for now. Comment if you have another great place to find info about kids and books! Comment if you followed any of these links! Share the post on facebook if you like what you see!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Calling FSP boy-writers!

 Boys to Men, publishes a quarterly themed newsletter.  This fall, they’re looking for submissions from boys and men about their experiences in the outdoors.  This experience could be with a father or an adult mentor, life lessons learned, and/or wisdom gained.  Poems, essays, journal entries, or another format that conveys your experience in about 250-350 words are welcomed, as are pictures.  They’ll pay $25 to the first 5 submissions from boys, and their deadline is September 22nd.  For more information, please call the Boys to Men office at (207) 774-9994.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Moon Watchers, today, 4:30 USM and Inspiration from the 5/6 social studies program

The 5/6 class is studying American History in the coolest way.  Instead of taking a linear path through the "big events" (aka wars) of American History, they are beginning with themselves, their families and the questions that emerge as they consider the experiences of generations that preceded them.  Each of our personal histories differ, yet we are also linked.  I am curious to learn what they learn, about themselves and about others. Questions about immigration are central to contemporary political discourse and worthy of family conversation. 

Today's Moon Watcher's event at USM with Reza Jalali and Annie Sibley O'Brien provides families with the opportunity to learn about  Ramadan, Iran, and "home" in a unique way.  

If it all gets you curious: 

Talking Walls - book cover  The Talking Walls books explore these questions from children's points of view. 

Talking Walls was turned into an exhibit at the Children's Museum a few years ago and is now somewhat institutionalized in their upstairs exhibit about family heritages.  Annie Sibley O'Brien is one of my very favorite author illustrators, too, and she has other great books that also explore heritage, identity and place.  The Many Voices program of the Maine Humanities Foundation provides further training and book lists for adults who want to use picture books to open up conversations about identity, belonging, change, and social justice.  
Adults and older kids might be interested in the book New Mainers : Portraits of Our Immigrant Neighbors, with a forward also written by Jalali.  The Telling Room features writing by young adults, including four online stories from the Coming to America Story House Project. 

The American Library Association "Becoming American" program offers booklists (albeit from 2004) for children, young adults, and adults. Parent's Choice offers a few more recent titles, including Julia Avarez's new book Return To Sender RETURN TO SENDER, a novel, ages ten and up (and up!), by Julia Alvarezwhich Grace and Craig found to be incredibly moving and disturbing (the book tells the story of a Mexican family faced split up by deportation and the challenges of the agricultural economy) -- there are more suggestions for resources on Alvarez's page.

For adults (or to find more resources for kids), two MA-based organizations do amazing work: 

Facing History and Ourselves offers incredible resources for educators, including workshops and online resources; Primary Source offers amazing resources for teaching about the world, but also has resources for teaching about immigration and migration to and from the U.S


Thursday, September 16, 2010

What Adults Can Learn From Kids

Katie S. is pulling together a service club (or 2 or 3) and there is still plenty of opportunity to get involved.  I see it as a way for me to spend time with my kids, in community -- something I wish for, for all of 3 of us.  It sounds like there will be coordinated opportunities for kids to engage in problem identification and solving, and to engage in service on and off the island.  Kids and adults working together will only enrich the experience... so if you have any time and ummph, please consider signing up!

For inspiration, check out this TED video : What Adults Can Learn From Kids

Outdoor music & apples

The 14th annual bluegrass gathering is coming up Saturday, September 25th, from 11 to 5 at Apple Acres Farm in South Hiram. It's the same day as the Cornish Apple Festival (you go through Cornish just before you get to Apple Acres). There will be apple picking, cider, cider donuts, a farm store with more apple products, and a chicken BBQ at noon. An exciting feature at Apple Acres is the apple blaster, which is essentially a giant slingshot with which one can 'blast' rotten/windfall apples across the farm pond to a target. It's incredibly addictive. Entrance to the bluegrass gathering is $7 for adults, free for kids under 16. We won't be able to go this year, but used to when the kids were small, and always had a fun time. BYO chairs and blankets.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Calendar, try 3

We can access the calendar under the tab at the top of the blog, meaning it isn't really private -- only public info should be added to the calendar (no birthday parties, etc. unless they are open). 

You can also access the calendar through this link, if you want to bookmark it yourself (I think -- please let me know if this link works)

Or, if you'd like to be able to link the FSPparents calendar with your own google calendars, feel free to drop me an email and I'll add your email to the calendar list itself.


Wild Play

Hmmm... still not quite right

So, you can get the calendar there, but it takes up the whole blog... I will change it to a "page" -- it can be added to or changed by parents who subscribe to it -- invitations are going through the FSPPA google group or if you send me your email.  I'm guessing there is an easier way but it is escaping me somehow...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Online Calendar

We are trying to figure out how to best create and use a shared online FSP calendar.  Send Kim your email if you'd like an invitation to share the google calendar (you can then link it into your own google calendar or add things to the FSP one).

Here's an attempt at linking it

Monday, September 13, 2010

Schoolhouse Rock! The Great American Melting Pot

Grace's class's homework was to talk to us about our heritage... 

Event on Saturday

Playback Theatre, Saturday, September 18, 7:00 at St. Bart's

On Saturday, September 18th at 7:00 pm at the St. Bartholomew's Church in Yarmouth (396 Gilman Road),  Portland's Playback Theater will present a performance in support of Enviornmental Health Strategy Center.
Playback Theatre joins the art of improvisation with real-life stories spontaneously shared by members of the audience.  Using movement, dialogue and music, the actors seek to honor the countless moments and events that shape our lives.  In honor of EHSC's work for safer chemicals and healthy families, Saturday's theme will be "preventing harm".  There will be a reception with sweet treats immediately following the performance.  Children are welcome.

Quaker Meeting

I love so many things about FSP but my relationship to Quaker Meeting is particularly special.  We are not a Quaker family and had some reservations about sending our children to a school with a religious affiliation, so in some ways I would say we began our time at FSP despite it being a Quaker school.  Yet attending Quaker meeting (at school)  is now one of the highlights of my week.  Sitting in silence is a discipline and I often find myself having to work at quieting my body and my mind. I see my own children learning techniques for holding the quiet, in themselves and in the group - they already know things about this that I don't.  I feel a tremendous gratitude for the community, because it takes a huge collective effort to be quiet, together.  And then, after all that quiet, we sing! (see lots of the song lyrics on the right - I am particularly fond of "baby ducks").  Today we sang Simple Gifts and it resonated in the room and shaped my perspective on the day.  I highly recommend staying for a Monday morning Quaker Meeting or attending a Friday assembly to see the joy of a preK-8 balancing alone and together and to feel the essence of Quaker Education at play.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Leo the Late Bloomer

One thing I absolutely love about FSP is the emphasis on learning as a process, rather than a set of outcomes.  Last night, we tried a bunch of different cooking techniques for momos and a bunch of them fell apart.  Kate quickly jumped in with  that's ok mom, mistakes are how we learn.  Although I take mistakes hard, I wish for my children that ability to rejoice a bit in mistakes and the ability to laugh them off and keep trying.
Leo the Late Bloomer By Robert Kraus Illustrated by Jose Aruego
Katie's class read Leo the Late Bloomer and the kids made incredibly sweet drawings of where they have already bloomed and where they're sprouting... Sounds like a good idea for grown-ups taking stock, as well.... and grown-ups can take even more comfort with this new MobileActives new initiative "failfaires" to celebrate all the mistakes that lead to brilliant innovation.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Henryfest this Sunday!

Quick reminder about Henryfest, which is this Sunday from 12 - 7 at Skyline Farm in North Yarmouth. Come support 317's music scholarships program and hear some fabulous bluegrass in the process. Rainplace will be at the St. Lawrence.

Carol Dweck and Mindsets

I have recently come across a lot of references to Carol Dweck and the idea of "mindsets" -- that is, how we think about intelligence and our own self-concept  (are the traits we value innate or learned).  Middleweb sent out a blurb about an article she's written that sounds great -- would love to talk with others about it!

This article from Educational Leadership's "Meaningful Work" issue
(Sept 2010) sums up 20 years of research by Carol Dweck and her
colleagues, identifying two distinct ways in which individuals view
intelligence and learning. The fixed mindset believes intelligence is
simply an inborn trait, while those with a growth mindset believe
that they can develop their intelligence over time. Dweck argues that
not only does meaningful schoolwork promote students' learning of
academic content, it can also teach students to love challenges, to
enjoy effort, to be resilient, and to value their own improvement.
She shares ideas about how to help students come to see that
long-term growth and success depends on taking risks.

The middleweb newsletter is full of interesting links and ideas --
to subscribe: Send a note to with SUBSCRIBE
in the subject line.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Blog Design

We're playing with blog design and would love your comments about what works, what doesn't, what's easy to read, what's not, what you'd like permanently linked, etc. etc.  Use the comments or email kim.

New thinking about Homework -- works for us!

The NYT has an interesting review of new research on conventional wisdom about homework.  Most reassuring was that kids (and adults) retain information better if they review it in multiple locations rather than studying in the same place all the time.  So, practice multiplication at the beach whenever possible! Although the article did not engage the question about how much homework children should have, it did discuss quality -- homework that pushes us to figure out what problem we're solving, as well as drilling us on the solution, is better than repetition of the same kind of problem.  Big picture, we need to develop the skills and toolbox for diagnosis as well as result.

Our family mainly conducts homework sessions at the kitchen table, with some finishing on the couch, in the car, and probably at school.  These are also the places I tend to do my work, with a little coffee shop thrown in.  How about your kids?  Where will homework get done in your house and when?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

David Sobel on October 19th

David Sobel will visit Portland as part of FSP's Parenting for Peace speaker series on October 19th.  He will give a workshop for Pre-K - 8 educators (including community educators) in the afternoon and a free public talk in the evening (7:00 pm, Wild Play : Parenting Adventures in the Great Outdoors).

Official info soon!

To anyone who subscribes by e-mail

I believe I may have accidently just sent you a bunch of spam-posts - I pressed "publish" when I meant to press "delete" -- my sincere apologies if that happened!   Kim

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Parenting Tips and Ideas

We all get our parenting information from different places, and it is funny how some of it becomes part of the cultural discourse while other ideas seem brilliant and new and other information helps us know ourselves as parents because it strikes us as so wrong. Where do you get your best ideas about parenting?

Dr. Laura Markham has a weekly newsletter that was suggested by another parent.

I'm a big fan of MojoMom and her podcasts and links.

NurtureShock, Mind in the Making, and Pink Brain / Blue Brain use cognitive science to help us think about child development

Where else do you go for new thinking or old reassurance about parenting?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

School Dreams

Wow, another meet-the-teachers day and picnic! Those who have been around since the first one, when there were just 32 students in only three (?!) classrooms, have seen a lot of changes, all of them good if only because, even if some were uncomfortable, they resulted in forward growth for the school and our children.

So here's the question of the day: What are your dreams for the school for this year and into the future? There's not a great history of parents using the comments section to add their input, but we're hoping that's one more change that will take place right now.