Friday, December 30, 2011

Outing Club & Winter Fun

The Outing Club registration site is up and running -... A great way to introduce younger kids to the fun of OC and get some outdoor time is to join in for skating on Wednesdays January 4th & February 15th :  Skating at Falmouth Family Ice after school (non OC families just need to make their own transportation arrangements / pay for skating if you're not a Falmouth resident).

Please also consider supporting the OC by getting Clynk bags/tags from Nicole and returning them (full) to any Hannaford near you...

Finally, check out the Winter Kids page for outside fun on a grander scale -- there are printable passes for younger children and you can order the winter kids passport for grades 5 - 7 for huge deals and access to organized winter sports.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Maine's Budget - a polemic from Kim

Kate's class (Katie's class) proudly decorated cookies and cupcakes and made homemade fudge for the Preble St. Teen Center.  Katie has introduced them to the idea of homelessness and hunger through picture books and they have the righteous sensitivity of young children -- they know that it is wrong that teens should be without a safe place to live or without enough food.  These themes were amplified in a powerful speech by Jill Saxby yesterday at Maine Can Do Better's  rally protesting proposed cuts to Maine's safety net. 

Hear Jill Saxby's entire address
 I am haunted by the idea that 1 in 2 Americans is considered low-income (USA Today story), that our elderly are struggling with hunger and cold, that children's basic needs are not being met and that Maine might continue to balance our budget by cutting services to our most vulnerable.  Kate's class seems to hear the message in such a simple and straightforward way - safe housing and food are basic human rights.  Why can't that message be heard by our Government?

If you're so moved, contact your legislators NOW or consider making a donation to Maine Equal Justice Project who takes leadership on advocacy for low-income Mainers, to the Maine People's Alliance who does community organizing work or to the Maine Hunger Initiative as a direct response to childhood and elderly hunger.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Improv for Kids & Adults

The kids have had a great time with David, after school -- a new session begins in Jan (Tuesdays). .. but parents have the chance to play, too!

Winter Kids & Fast & Female - holiday gift ideas

The WinterKids FunPass is now available online!

The FunPass gives kids in preschool through 4th grade the chance to try snowshoeing and cross country skiing  (for free!) at 20 winter recreation areas all over Maine.


Fast and Female Kicks Off 2012 with Third Annual XC Ski Event in Maine on January 7

Bethel, Maine / Calgary, Alberta (December 8, 2011) - The countdown is on and in less than a month, 125 young female athletes between the ages of 9 to 19 years old will spend an afternoon of inspiration with cross-country skiing Olympian Holly Brooks and National Team member Jessie Diggins at Gould Academy in Bethel, Maine.

Brooks and Diggins, who will already be in the area to compete in the 2012 National XC Ski Championships, have generously volunteered to lead the Fast and Female XC Ski Event on Saturday January 7. The highly unique event aimed at specifically motivating girls to stick to cross-country skiing will feature team building activities, a healthy snack, an inspirational presentation, dancing as well as an autograph signing session. The registration fee for the event is only $7 and includes a Fast and Female Buff, a snack, and access to the activities. Participants can secure a spot by visiting: The deadline to register online is January 5, 2012.

For more information concerning the event, please contact the local event coordinator: Abby Weissman at or (207) 944-4720.

Fast and Female is a not-for-profit society started in 2005 by Chandra Crawford - 2006 Olympic gold medalist in cross-country skiing. The organization's mission is to support, motivate, inspire, and empower girls to stick to sports and the healthy lifestyle. Fast and Female fulfills its mission of "Empowerment Through Sport" by hosting fun-filled, non-competitive initiatives all across North-America aimed at exposing young female athletes to inspiring female Olympians and elite level athletes. The young girls who attend Fast and Female events today will lead it in the future, may it be as athletes, coaches, volunteers, parents, and community leaders. For more information about Fast and Female, visit /

Friday, December 9, 2011

Guest post from FOUR

Danah Boyd has a great critique of social software networks, Autistic
Social Software, blasting the current generation of this software for
forcing people to behave autistically:

Consider, for a moment, the recent surge of interest in articulated social
networks such as Friendster, Tribe, LinkedIn, Orkut and the like. These
technologies attempt to formalize how people should construct and manage
their relationships. They assume that you can rate your friends. In some
cases, they procedurally direct how people can engage with new people by
giving you an absolute process through which you can contact others.

While this approach certainly has its merits because it is computationally
possible, I'm terrified when people think that this models social life.
It's so simplistic that people are forced to engage as though they have
autism, as though they must interact procedurally. This approach certainly
aids people who need that kind of systematization, but it is not a model
that universally makes sense. Furthermore, what are the implications of
having technology prescribe mechanistic engagement? Do we really want a
social life that encourages autistic interactions?

Autistic Social Software, Danah Boyd

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Holiday Resources

'Tis the season...  We are without a school holiday fundraiser this year, but I'm asking my family to consider a Donation to Friends School in lieu of plastic-crap for the girls and for me.  I am so grateful to FSP and know a strong school is the best gift we're giving our children at this time of their lives.  I also continue to hope and believe that values-based education will help our whole community, by developing new conversations and queries about childhood needs, in general, and by graduating kids who will take citizenship and problem solving on in a big way!  It won't replace a shiny bauble under the tree for them, but as I get older I do find donations are more fun to give and receive than anything from a big-box anything!

For some alternative holiday ideas, consistent with FSP values, check out these links (and the Consuming Kids DVD which is on the parents book shelf and a great conversation starter this time of year -should be a forum event next year!)

Center for New American Dream :  -- the simplify the holidays booklet has some useful strategies for resisting too much shopping.

Story of Electronics  - somehow, we need a way to keep a little Annie Leonard in our head as we make sugar plums dance in the heads of our older kids :  -- the old Story of Stuff might be worth watching as a whole family, just to talk a little about reducing consumption even at x-mas.

For those buying for younger kids,  the TRUCE guide is now available :  and the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood released their "toadies" of worst toys :  

Finally, the Maine Association of NonProfits has their gifts that give twice program featuring places to make donations and get a little something -- I'd love other people's ideas for good donations in honor of grandparents, etc!

Finally, Dan contributed his list of 5 best toys ever 

New Kindergarten Blog

Check out the new Kindergarten Blog -- a permanent link can be found above!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

BPA & Canned Food

Did everyone see this awful report about BPA & canned food -- something to watch out for this winter! 
Tonight there is a celebration for the Environmental Health Strategy Center, the organization working to make policy change around toxins in our food and personal care prodcuts and other stuff.. 

This Thursday we are so glad you will be joining us as a host for our 9th Anniversary Organic Wine and Chocolate Party!

Thursday December 1st 5:30-7:30pm
Rose Contemporary Gallery, Portland

We will be recognizing former executive director of the Maine Women's Policy Center Sarah Standiford with the Second Annual Frank Hatch Environmental Health Leadership Award. As well as honoring one of our founding board members Lael Stegall, and four grassroots leaders who helped win the campaign to phase out the toxic chemical BPA from reusable food and beverage containers in Maine, Jessica Graham, Dana Hernandez, Mary Beth Luce, and Megan Rice.

The event will include a silent auction with a wide variety of fun items, from restaurant gift cards to children's books, that can be great holiday gifts.

Please contact Rachelle with any questions,, 699-5789.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Change Your Kids' Attitude With Gratitude

It seems like a cliche to say we should be "cultivating gratitude" -- an overly Oprah-esque prescription for complicated times.  Often, I think my children should be more grateful when I'm perceiving them as selfish, which makes gratitude a virtue rather than a practice.  Also, telling someone to be more grateful rarely yields that particular result.  I am also sometimes embarrassed by gratitude; as a political thinker, there is so much to be worried about and something in my ethic makes it easy for me to emphasize "that which should be different" over "that which is already just fine."  Grace recently pointed out, "Mom, you're mad about too much" -- that isn't how I want her to think about my activism!  I have no problem waxing enthusiastic about FSP, though -- truly, I am so grateful for the school, the teachers, the community - all of us together working to create a space where children can engage in "joyful learning"and adults, too, can use our gifts to benefit the whole.  I am grateful that my kids have recess, twice a day, even my 7th grader.  I am grateful that they have male teachers who model nurturing, interesting, authentic masculinities - with a commitment to nonviolence. I am grateful that they have teachers who love the outdoors and share that love freely. I am grateful for all the singing.  Mostly, I am grateful that both of my children (and all of our children) are held in community and as individuals and in the light.  Thank you FSP!

Gratitude  Sites 

Greater Good Parenting (where the above video is from) 
Thanksgiving Specific post from imagination soup - replacing stereotypes of history with new traditions & narratives
Learning to Give has lesson plans and book recs

Friday, November 18, 2011

Working with Boys: Resistance, Relationships and Getting Real

Where: Enter Webinar from your personal computer
When: Monday November 21, 2011 from 3:00 to 4:30PM

Working with Boys: Resistance, Relationships and Getting Real

Presented by: Mark Tappan, Professor of Education and Human Development, Colby College

Date: Monday, November 21, 2011, 3:00-4:30PM

Recent research suggests that boys who resist conventional masculine stereotypes have closer relationships with mothers and friends, better mental health, and are more engaged in school than boys who conform to those stereotypes. This presentation offers insight and information about how to help boys resist the narrow and artificial version of boyhood that is packaged and sold to them by media marketers, and how to build positive relationships with boys in schools and beyond.

Please call Katherine Doughty of Boys to Men at 774-9994 or email with any questions.

Funding for these webinars generously provided by the
Lincoln and Therese Filene Foundation
Register Now!

Audobon programs

Beaver Moon

Families ages 4 and up with parent or guardian (adults are welcome at no charge).

Bring your family during Thanksgiving week to a program based on early Native American’s celebration of the land.

Register by calling Maine Audubon, 781-2330, ext. 209
Tuesday, November 22, 3:30 – 5:00 pm $12 Member, $20 Nonmember

Eyes on Owls

Join naturalist Marcia Wilson and photographer Mark Wilson for Maine Audubon’s annual Eyes on Owls event. Includes a hooting lesson, slideshow for older audiences, and a close hand look at up to seven fascinating (and awake!) live owls.

Register online at

Saturday, December 10, 2011 Members: $5 Child/$10 Adult, Nonmember $10 Child/$15 Adult
10:30-11:15 am (shorter program for families with young children) 1:00 - 2:15 pm; 3:00 - 4:15 pm
Cathy Stivers
Environmental Educator and Family Programs Coordinator
Maine Audubon
20 Gilsland Farm Road
Falmouth, Maine 04105

Phone: (207) 781-6180 x223
Fax: (207) 781-0974

Horny Toad / NAU discount code

Kim Wogan, a wonderful friend and volunteer for our community partner Boys to Men , has generously chosen Boys to Men as her charity to sponsor for the store’s Annual Friends and Family discount program!!!

If you’re new to this program – or if you’ve forgotten how it works – here’s the scoop:
Get 50% off Horny Toad & 40% off Nau from 11/14 - 12/15.
To access the Horny Toad deal, simply go to: 
Enter the promo code kwogan at checkout to receive the discount.

To access the Nau deal, simply go to:
Enter the code kwogan at checkout to receive the discount.
(Excluded from the Nau offer due to limited availability: Men's M M1 Rib Crew, Men's Supple L/S Tee, Women's Splendor Trench, Women's M1 Rib Crew, Ringleader Belt, Down Scarf, M2 Wool Knit Beanie, All Klean Kanteen Products, All Snow Peak Products)

The top three folks that generate the most amount of business get to direct $750, $500 and $250 respectively to the charity or non-profit organization of their choice.  Kim's charity is BOYS TO MEN.(

It's been a long time...

My blogging time has decreased lately - anyone out there interested in helping to keep it a vibrant spot? News about events potentially of interest to FSP families, of research or books or media bits that seem interesting, or musings on Quaker Values are all great to read and share!  Please consider FSP parent blogging !!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Looking for Leadership Opportunity?

From Peace Action Maine SOS TO ALL PAM MEMBERS:

We are experiencing a serious drought of both board members and volunteers to carry on the work of PAM. We cannot continue unless we can recruit more board members to guide PAM and volunteers to fill our fund-raising and program development committees. The demise of PAM would mean the end of our annual dinner, which has seen inspiring speakers like Noam Chomsky and Medea Benjamin, and an end to our peace soup booth at The Common Grounds Fair.  It’s up to you to help us continue!

To join our working board or to volunteer for a committee, contact: Jacqui 772-1071
The scent of revolution is in the air. At Peace Action Maine we are using some of Gene Sharps theories to direct the change we wish to see. We are currently working on a full campaign which volunteers can get involved in on many different levels. The main place we need them in this is to use their bodies and voice. A direct action is being planned and will need a chorus of support to make it successful, we are targeting war-profiteers, which is a pillar of support for war. If you wish to help plan or get involved please send an email to

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sexual Harassment and School

The AAUW Report on Sexual Harassment in school was released yesterday and includes devastating data about the prevalence and serious consequences of sexual harassment for kids in Middle and High School.  Although boys face significant harassment when they don't conform to norms of masculinity, overall girls encounter a higher rate of frequency and find the harassment more disturbing than boys do. It is essential that we find language to talk with kids about their experiences and name sexual and gender based harassment as sexism rather than as bullying - the report found that very few kids reported their experience to adults while it was happening, leaving them to make meaning and cope alone.

I would LOVE a study group / soiree / night at the bar to really talk through what this means for us as a community, our kids, ourselves...  Download it or see the executive summary on the AAUW site.

Connected (I suspect) is more analysis about how much violence, sexualization and gender stereotyping occurs in mass media - A documentary out of the Women's Media Center titled Miss Representation is being screened tonight at USM (7pm, Wishcamper Center, $10) - I hope maybe we could have an FSP forum or evening screening after the holidays? (Let me know if there is interest)

Miss Representation 8 min. Trailer 8/23/11 from Miss Representation on Vimeo.

Monday, November 7, 2011


Winter Kids Passport sign up is now open... fun passes for younger kids beginning 12/1.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Yet another P4P speaker?

"Developmental psychologist Susan Engel offers an antidote to the anxiety that seems to pervade parenting today." Thus begins an article in the September edition of the Williams College alumni magazine. I have no recollection of why, exactly, I found myself on the Williams website (Wouldn't it be fascinating to track someone's internet wanderings over the course of a week? What leads to what?), but the tease, of course, intrigued me and so I plunged in.

Engel's theories, on the surface, do seem to countermand the parent-induced stress we see in kids every day. I'd like to read the book to see how much sense they make with a little thought invested. In any case, it's yet another stop on the Waiting for Superman/Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother/Race to Nowhere continuum. In our spare time, it might be fun to have a community read every couple of months. Thoughts?

Wild and Scenic Film Festival

The Wild & Scenic Film Festival is in town at USM this Saturday. You can buy tickets online, but do it soon because they do sell out with last-minute purchases. You will also want to show up early to snag a seat in the main auditorium (they also have a smaller room going at the same time, but the main auditorium is where the action (and big screen) is. There is free swag and a raffle of great stuff, and the parking is free in the USM garage.

The kids and I went last year - some of the messages were a bit doom-and-gloom, which left us a bit to process (ocean acidification, agrochemistry, and the Great Pacific Gyre), but overall it was a great, expansionary experience that got them thinking about positive solutions to some of life's big issues.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Cosmetic Saftey

On Tuesday I attended a presentation by Jenna Vendil from Planned Parenthood and Emma Halas-O'Connor of the Environmental Health Strategy Center about the dangers of chemicals in cosmetics.

They opened by showing The Story of Cosmetics by Annie Leonard.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and the Environmental Working Group both provide some resources for consumers, help deciding what the safest choices are... In the end, though, we need more protection so that we can feel safe buying everyday products without hours of research.  The Safe Chemicals Act is one piece of federal legislation to support.

I'd love to see us get our middle schoolers informed & mad, insisting on their right to safe products - anyone up for a cosmetics safety party - it includes recipes for homemade personal care products?

from Lee & Low

Diversity 101: Five Things to Look for Before You Read
When it comes to diversity, all books are not created equal. Before you add a new book to your library, here are five things to look out  for:

1.General Accuracy: Books should contain current, correct information. How old are the photos and pictures? If the book is about a past event, does it include backmatter about how things ultimately played out?

2. Stereotypes: Beware of reinforcing stereotypes. Books should reflect individual people's lives, rather than assigning general personality traits or behaviors to an entire group.

3. Language: Be careful of books that separate characters into two groups: those who speak standard English and those who don't. This division can reinforce stereotypes that all people in a group speak in a particular way. No matter the dialect, language should sound natural and the intent should be clear.

4. Illustrations: Illustrations should convey the reality that members of any ethnic group look different from one another.

5. Author's Perspective: Does the author come from the culture that he or she is writing about? If not, what kind of research did he or she do to insure cultural authenticity?

Read the full article here.

Save 29% + free shipping on orders over $10
Thanksgiving sale for E-News subscribers only! Use source code Thanks11 at checkout and save on
Offer Expires: 11/18/11

Lee & Low Books is an independent children's book publisher specializing diversity. It is our goal to meet the need for stories that all children can identify with and enjoy.

More arts...

8pm is late for us on a school night, but this free program at the art museum could be worth it:

Tuesday, November 15, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Free
Bernard Osher Foundation Auditorium
This dynamic conversation between dancers Pandit Chitresh Das and Jason Samuels Smith explores how the unique collaboration of these exceptional artists transcends continents, generations, cultures, and communities. Together they create a new and distinct kind of dance. Individually in their home communities of India and the United States, each dancer works to preserve their individual dance traditions. Alicia Anstead, editor-in-chief of the national magazine Inside Arts will moderate the discussion.

This program is presented by the Portland Museum of Art in collaboration with Portland Ovations.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Last nights forum on the arts (more on that later) reminded me that I should seek out more family-level arts activities, and then in today's mail there was a postcard advertising an upcoming Portland Ovations program for kids!  There is a mask making workshop at the Portland Public Library on November 12th and a performance at South Portland High School on the 19th -- Kate and I would love company at both / either and maybe even lunch after?

Michael Cooper
"Masked Marvels &  Wondertales" 
Saturday, November 19, 2011    11 am

South Portland Auditorium at SPHS, South Portland, Maine
Creating a world where dogs wear hats, wild stallions are tamed, giant noses sneeze and fish bait candy to catch children in a pond, sculptor and virtuoso mime Michael Cooper charms audiences with thrilling adventure, silly antics and outlandish possibilities. A protégé of Celebration Barn’s Tony Montanaro and native of the Maine woods, Cooper’s one-man show Masked Marvels & Wondertales combines his breathtaking handcrafted masks and graceful physicality to spin original tales enlivened by an unusual and colorful cast of characters. A show for all ages, Masked Marvels & Wondertales captures hearts and stimulates imaginations.

Tickets: $10

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

More Middle School News - Puberty Happens

Family Planning of Maine announces

Puberty Happens! Webinar
Tuesday, March 6th
2:30 -- 3:30 pm

Puberty Happens! Workshop
Tuesday, March 20th
8:30 -- 3:30

Puberty Happens! Workshop
Thursday, March 22nd
8:30 -- 3:30

Sign up to receive emails for more info

Monday, October 31, 2011

Middle School on This American Life

Curious how this compares with parents memories, with FSP kids experiences, with the experiences of kids in general... Wonder if we could get Linda Perlstein for P4P?

Middle School :  This American Life

Host Ira Glass interviews a 14-year old named Annie, who emailed us asking if we would do a show about middle school. She explains why exactly the middle school years can be so daunting. (4 1/2 minutes)
In an effort to understand the physical and emotional changes middle school kids experience, Ira speaks with reporter Linda Perlstein, who wrote a book called Not Much Just Chillin' about a year she spent following five middle schoolers. Then we hear from producer Alex Blumberg, who was a middle school teacher in Chicago for four years before getting into radio. Alex's takeaway? We shouldn't even try teaching kids at this age. Marion Strok, principal of a successful Chicago school, disagrees. (6 1/2 minutes)

Act Two. Stutter Step. We sent several correspondents straight to the epicenters of middle school awkwardness: School dances. Producers Lisa Pollak and Brian Reed, plus reporters Eric Mennel, Rob Wildeboer and Claire Holman spoke with kids across the country during the nervous moments leading up to the dances. And Lisa even ventured inside, to the dance itself. (9 1/2 minutes)]
When Domingo Martinez was growing up in a Mexican-American family in Texas, Domingo's two middle school aged sisters found a unique way of coping with feelings of inferiority. This story comes from Martinez's memoir The Boy Kings of Texas, which Lyons Press will publish in July 2012. (11 1/2 minutes)

Play Again- the movie

What are the consequences of a childhood removed from nature? At a time when children play more behind screens than outside, PLAY AGAIN  explores the changing balance between the virtual world and the natural world. 

Wednesday November 2nd, 7:00 - 8:30PM, Cumberland Land Trust, Cumberland Congregational Church - dessert served - FMI Call 699-2989


Monday, November 7,  2011  7:00 – 8:30 pm Breakwater School, 856 Brighton Avenue, Portland, ME - Presented by Breakwater School in collaboration with Portland Trails and The Nason’s Corner Community Park Project.To attend this FREE event, please email Molly Thompson or call 772-8689, ext. 230. (On 11/7 Producer Meg Merrill and Outreach Coordinator Greg LeMieux will be here to facilitate a discussion and answer questions following the 50-minute film.)

Note: This film is not recommended for children under 12.

What they do not value, they will not protect. And what they do not protect, they will lose.  
       ~ Charles Jordan, PLAY AGAIN

Saturday, October 29, 2011

XC into Nordic!

Wow, what a season it's been! Friends hosted our first XC meet ever on the island yesterday, with extra steps and precautions required by the state. Also participating in the meet were teams from Memorial MS (South Portland), Greely, and Southern Maine Catholic, plus one fifth grader from South Portland.

Huge thanks to XC families, who came to the island for a pre-meet trail clean-up on Saturday and also helped out at the meet itself. Whoever knew that handing kids popsicle sticks could be so stressful? The team celebrated the end of their season with pizza and a movie.

We are all so grateful to John Marble and Pete Curtis for working with the team all season in all kinds of weather. Whatever magic it is they have that gets fifteen middle schoolers out running their hearts out around our beautiful island day after day, I want some!

A reminder that the fun can continue: There is still time to sign up (grades 6 - 8) for Portland Nordic ski team. Formal practices (in a very informal way) start December 1st. There will be informal practices twice a week starting this coming week. That snowstorm is coming just in time... Find Maya, Four, or Moriah for more info about the team.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A big piece of learning from Books to Bridges

I hope others will take the time to read Annie's blog post "They Don't Get That From Me" where she reviews some of what Professor Krista Aronson presented to us about how kids learn stereotypes and prejudice.  The idea of breaking silence and exploring what kids are learning from the world seems so important for all kinds of issues, race included.  What do they know about sex/gender that might differ from our "everyone's equal" discourse.  What do they know about how we feel about the planet that might differ from our "Protect Mother Earth" bumper stickers. How do we acknowledge the dissonance that children intuit between intention and action in the adult world? How do we shape learning to better engage the hopeful possibilities than reproduce the old patterns because they were left unexamined?

All said more eloquently and concretely on Annie's post :

Monday, October 24, 2011

Parents' Forum Tuesday November 1st, 6:30 p.m.

We'll be talking about the role of the arts in our children's school: why, when, how much, what kinds, and how do we balance nurturing creativity with skills development? Christina and Celeste will be giving brief presentations on the current arts philosophy and status at FSP to start the meeting. Childcare is available by reservation, $10/child at

Friday, October 21, 2011

Book Sale

We have a few books left from our book sale that seem like they might be great gifts... if you'd like a copy, talk to Kim ASAP.

What Will You Be, Sara Mee?  $16.95

After Gandhi $24.95 

The Legend of Hong Kil Dong $16.95 / 8.95

And my personal favorite baby gift : Welcoming Babies  $7.95

Welcoming Babies - book cover

For the book list of recommended titles, see Annie's blog

Play - November 2

 Chebeague & Cumberland Land Trust offers "Screen time" vs. "Green time."

PLAY AGAIN - Award Winning Documentary:
First Screening in Maine will be shown at 7pm, Nov. 2nd at the Congregational Church of Cumberland - 282 Main Street, Cumberland, ME. Hosted by CCLT. Dessert and refreshments will be served. The event is FREE and Open to the Public.

Click on the link below to read the latest about this Award Winning Documentary: "Screen time" vs. "Green time."

FMI: Call 699-2989

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Implicit Bias

There is so much to debrief from last nights presentation by Anne Sibley O'Brien and Krista Aronson.  They were truly brilliant!  I will post more notes and links later but will start with the implicit bias test that was mentioned several times.

This study, out of Harvard, measures rapid responses from individuals attempting to capture our unconscious preferences, attitudes, and biases.  This is important for two reasons.  One is that many people know in their conscious mind that discrimination is unfair (and illegal) and would never intentionally practice bias but might be unwittingly making snap decisions and judgements that go unexamined because of an assumption that "I'm not prejudiced."  If we recognize that we might, in fact, carry unconscious bias and that it is not our fault (initially) we might take more responsibility for examining our histories, our stories and our prejudices without guilt and shame but with ummph for aligning our intention and our action.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Books as Bridges, tonight

Register before noon to save a seat!  

Reflecting on our Parenting for Peace series helps me better understand my parenting stance today.  Susan Linn introduced is to the importance of pretend play (free from corporate influence);  Sandra Steingraber pushed us to become activists in the environmental health movement; David Sobel reminded us of the important of "Wild Play" for our kids (and ourselves); and Alfie Kohn encouraged us to practice democracy and compassion within our families and schools.  (Use the comments to suggest speakers for next year!).  Although I do not do all these things well, I've tried to incorporate much of the overall theme (more open space, less corporate influence) into my families lives.

I think that our time with Anne Sibley O'Brien and Krista Aronson might feel different from these earlier lectures.  Although we are likely to still leave inspired, thinking a little bit differently, and more connected to our community (goals of the overall program), our whole selves enter the conversation about race and racism in a way that we haven't had to before.  That is, the focus is not simply on what we can do for our children, but also on what we might learn about ourselves.  We all have unique experiences and racial identities and yet we also all swim in shared waters now.  Here at FSP we have a commitment to fairness, equality, acknowledging the light in everyone and doing what we can to have individual gifts shine.  Learning how to talk about race with our kids, and ultimately how to help dismantle racism, is part of that overall project of building inclusive communities. I welcome this prompt and hope that we have ongoing opportunities to learn from each other about personal identity and patterns of inclusion/exclusion for a long time.

We have had a great response to this program - unless causeway traffic is too frustrating we expect we might have a full house - come early, shop the book sale, and enjoy the company!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Singapore Math Gets Praise

Letter: 'Reform' mathematics is not the only answer | The Forecaster
Eva J. Szillery PhD praises Singapore Math, the curriculum used at FSP. She is the Maine State Director of the Mathematical Association of America and shared her views as part of a larger set of letters surrounding Portland Schools process for choosing a math program.

Eva also recently sent out information about opportunities to participate in a National Math Competition:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- PRESS RELEASE Free To Students -- American Mathematics Competitions coming to USM Portland, Husson University and Umaine at Presque Isle NOVEMBER 15, 2011

The American Mathematics Competitions ( AMC ) is the oldest and most prestigious nationwide mathematics competition in the United States. It started in 1950 and it is and has been the exclusive pathway for a student to advance to the USA Mathematical Olympiad. Activities like the American Mathematics competitions organized by the Mathematical Association of America allow and encourage students to excel in an academic sphere. The contest is a rewarding experience where mathematical curiosity and skill are stimulated. AMC is designed to inspire an interest in mathematics that will lead to academic success, scholarship and a rewarding career. Competence in mathematics and mathematical understanding lead to success and an enriched life. For Maine students, The Advanced Structures and Composites Center and DeepCwind Consortium offers a paid internship for the two top scoring high school students of the AMC 10 or AMC 12 Competition. Interns at the UMaine Advanced Structures and Composites Center gain hands on work experience on cutting edge engineering and science programs. Each paid internship is valued at approximately $20,000 for four years.

The competition year starts on November 15th with AMC 8, the competition for grades 4-8. Students may participate at their school, if your school is registered for the competition.If your school is not registered,you may participate at the following locations: Students of age 8 through 14.5 may take AMC 8 at University of Southern Maine in Portland –Payson Smith Hall, Room 303 starting at 1:15 pm. The parents and children may first come to Payson Smith Hall, Room 301A if they arrive before 1:15 pm. Room 301A will be used for a reception/waiting area from 12:45 - 2:30 pm. Parents may wait there for their children to complete the exam. These rooms are adjacent to each other. AMC 8 at these locations is free of charge (the registration has been paid by USM.

Space is limited. If you have a student who’d benefit from participating, please call or e-mail Eva Szillery at

Friday, October 14, 2011

Listen to Anne Sibley O'Brien talk about Parenting for Peace

on 207

She is so smart - I can't wait to hear her whole talk -- and Krista Aronson has a brilliant reputation too!

We are worried that we might reach capacity - please preregister if you plan to come

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Robin Brooks Op-Ed

Teacher and parent voices are missing in learning accountability debate
By Robin Brooks, Special to the BDN
Posted Oct. 10, 2011, at 6:13 p.m.
The debate about education is heating up again, with editorials from the Bangor Daily News (Sept. 13) and others suggesting ways to improve our public schools.

Some of the measures being discussed, including merit pay and more stringent teacher evaluation tools, already are being implemented thanks to financial incentives from the Obama administration. The expressed intent of these reforms is to make teachers “more effective” (Read: improve test scores).

The Augusta school board already has implemented a merit pay system with a maximum $4,000 bonus going to principals, administrators and the superintendent for increasing scores on high-stakes tests and making annual yearly progress toward the proficiency goals of No Child Left Behind, our federal education law.

Advocates of merit pay claim that if only our public schools were run more like businesses, with pay bonuses going to highly effective employees, then our schools somehow would produce children capable of grappling with the demands of our complex 21st century world.

But the research on such measures is inconclusive at best. In the 2010-2011 school year, my elementary school had a 30 percent turnover in our student body from September to June. What this suggests to me is an extreme level of instability in families who are struggling just to maintain basic human needs such as food and shelter. It is no wonder our school did not achieve annual yearly progress in 2011 because of attendance, never mind our students’ test scores.

Blatantly missing from the national debate on education is the passionate voices of teachers and parents, not to mention the children who have been suffering for too long under the oppressive testing regime that dominates today’s classrooms.

Ask the teachers and they will tell you that it is the culture of high-stakes testing that is the real problem. Ask the parents and they will tell you that their children are increasingly discouraged by the onerous pacing schedules and narrowed instructional focus of their children’s classrooms. But no one is asking us.

All children are born with the inborn capacity, indeed drive, to explore their environment, to make connections and to learn with joy. This is a biological fact, notwithstanding the myriad of birth defects, learning disabilities and health problems such as neglect and malnutrition that plague our children.

The arts are one of the few areas that have maintained the spirit of playful exploration and discovery in the classroom that is the innate, biological basis for authentic human learning. Sadly, many of our nation’s schools already have eliminated or greatly reduced the arts and physical education, another basic human need, in favor of “skill and drill” and test prep. Our children deserve better.

We need our children to establish habits of inquiry, to develop their capacities as creative and critical thinkers and to work collaboratively with their peers to solve problems. Some higher education officials are speaking out to say that our children are ill prepared for the rigors of college for want of these skills.

Children must be allowed to connect mind and heart as they follow their educational journey. It is past time for President Barack Obama, Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Congress to relegate No Child Left Behind to the dustbin of history. If we are truly committed to improving education for all children across our nation, we need to renew our respect for teachers and join in nascent efforts to remove the yoke of high-stakes testing from the backs and necks of our children.

Please visit and and consider joining the grass-roots effort to save our schools.

Robin Brooks is an artist and art teacher who lives in Topsham with her husband, who also is a teacher, and their son. Her work can be seen at

Similar articles:

Natalie McMaster at Chocolate Church

Natalie MacMaster & Donnell Leahy, Masters of the Fiddle, will be on our stage on FRIDAY November 4th at 7:30 p.m.  Tickets have been flying out the door this week, and this show is headed to a sell-out!  Don't wait!  It's not too late - there are still some left, but you need to call NOW (442-8455) or go online to purchase them at Tickets are $40 in advance and $45 at the door - although we doubt there will be any available at the door!  Don't miss your chance to see this amazing Celtic duo and the step-dancing that comes with it too!

Farms and Fables -

"Of Farms and Fables combines the efforts of professional and non-professional artists by engaging artists in farm work and farm workers in storytelling and acting. The result will be an original performance in October of 2011 which will engage performers and audience in dialogue about local agriculture, farming, and the future of small family farms in Maine."

Farms & Fables
written by Cory Tamler
directed by Jennie Hahn
    Thursday, October 27, 7 pm
    Friday, October 28, 7 pm
    Saturday, October 29, 2 pm
    Saturday, October 29, 7 pm
    Sunday, October 30, 2 pm
    Camp Ketcha
    336 Black Point Road
    Scarborouth, Maine  04074
Tickets and Reservations:
    Tickets are $15 or Pay-What-You-Can
    For Reservations, please visit:
    For Information, please call:  (207) 200-6982

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


 Lee truly fires kids up!

How to Color Fire
Green fire is easy to make and doesn't require any hard-to-find chemicals.
Green fire is easy to make and doesn't require any hard-to-find chemicals.Anne Helmenstine

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

1 week until P4P

Preregister for Books as Bridges : Children's Literature and Anti-Racism Education now - seats are limited! 

And, as a teaser, check out the prejudice reduction program Roots of Empathy coming out of Canada.  This program brings babies into classrooms:
At the heart of the program are a neighbourhood infant and parent who visit the classroom every three weeks over the school year. A trained Roots of Empathy Instructor coaches students to observe the baby's development and to label the baby's feelings. In this experiential learning, the baby is the "Teacher" and a lever, which the instructor uses to help children identify and reflect on their own feelings and the feelings of others. This "emotional literacy" taught in the program lays the foundation for more safe and caring classrooms, where children are the "Changers". They are more competent in understanding their own feelings and the feelings of others (empathy) and are therefore less likely to physically, psychologically and emotionally hurt each other through bullying and other cruelties. In the Roots of Empathy program children learn how to challenge cruelty and injustice. Messages of social inclusion and activities that are consensus building contribute to a culture of caring that changes the tone of the classroom. The Instructor also visits before and after each family visit to prepare and reinforce teachings using a specialized lesson plan for each visit. Research results from national and international evaluations of Roots of Empathy indicate significant reductions in aggression and increases in pro-social behaviour.
Read more about the program and watch founder Mary Gordon's TedxTalk at Greater Good

Marjorie Burns Knight & Anne Sibley O'Brien's book Welcoming Babies is a great bridge book for kids, drawing on this innate response to babies (Tilbury House shares a teachers note).  Book sale / program attendees will have the opportunity to buy their own signed copy - an awesome baby gift and a book that even big kids love to read. 

Meet Zoe Weil

Zoe Weil, founder of the Institute for Humane Education, will be in Falmouth on Thursday night - if you'd like to meet her, chat about FSP with like minded folks, and learn more about the Institute, email Kim for more info!

Zoe's Tedx Talk :

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Bradbury & Pineland

What beautiful albeit chilly weather we're going to have for these fall outings!

Outing Club hike at Bradbury Mountain this afternoon - yeah for dry weather!

Family Meet-Up @ Pineland (meet at Smokehouse @ 10am) tomorrow (in-service day) - a great chance to connect with other families and to learn about the animals!  The Y is having a share-a-visit pass -- if anyone wants to go swimming or bowling afterward, try to find a Ymember to give you a pass!  Families with older children might still enjoy exploring the trails and cheese samples and meeting others for lunch.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Chris Van Dusen at Longfellow Books!

Chris Van Dusen at Longfellow Books!

The day is nearly upon us ... cancel any plans, round up the kids, grab a coffee and treat at Foley's Bakery and then come meet one of the masters of children's books, Chris Van Dusen. Chris will read from his newest book, the hilarious King Hugo's Huge Ego and will be signing copies for all his fans! Plus, we'll have juice and cookies for all! If you have kids, like kids or just kind of want to pretend to be a kid again for a little while, join the fun Saturday, October 8th at 1:00 back in the kids room at Longfellow Books.

Contra Dance for Habitat for Humanity

If you loved the contra dancing - or your kids did - at last week's potluck, there is an opportunity to connect with Habitat for Humanity while dancing again:
Contra Dance:   Would you prefer to strap on your dancing shoes rather than your tool belt?  You're in luck!  The Women Build Kick Off event will continue into the evening!  From 6pm-9pm on Oct. 29th, the Women Build Steering Committee will be hosting a family-friendly Contra Dance at the Freeport Community Center.  Packed with music, desserts, dancing and prizes this is sure to be fun for the whole family.  Every ticket sale will contribute to the construction of the Women Build house on South St.  Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children, 12 and under and can be purchased at the door.  Costumes are welcome and encouraged! 
Last year the 1-2 and 3-4 classrooms did a year long service learning project with Habitat for Humanity and both Kate and I were impressed and moved by the work being done.  Check out more at

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Niobe Way - Portland Public Library

Niobe Way's new book Deep Secrets has been getting a lot of press attention, and she's live in Portland on October 20th!

( ** It would be so interesting to have a follow conversation about ways that FSP allows boys friendships to develop or ways that cultural constraints still make it difficult for boys in their preteen years- Maya, maybe a sexism and stereotypes forum sometime?)

The Maine Boys Network (educational group affiliated with Boys to Men) is co-hosting an exciting event here in Portland. Come join author and NYU professor of Applied Psychology, Niobe Way, most recently featured in the New York Times, to learn about ground breaking findings that will challenge long-held stereotypes about boys and men.

Thursday, October 20th, 7-9pm  ~  Portland Public Library

The presentation will be followed by a question and answer period with author Niobe Way.

Please RSVP by October 14 as space is limited

Admission is free with donations accepted at the door

Hosted by Boys to Men, Colby College, Great Schools Partnership, Maine Boys Network
and the Portland Public Library

New Yorker Excerpt here

New York Times Learning Network Section

Friday, September 30, 2011

Cool Sounding Book : The Third Teacher: 79 Ways You Can use Design to Transform Teaching and Learning

Taken from the Klingenstein Briefs

Spatial Intelligence
The Third Teacher: 79 Ways You Can use Design to Transform Teaching and Learning, by OWP/P Inc., VS Furniture, and Bruce Mau Design

Since the ‘40s when Malaguzzi named the environment as the Third teacher, third to adults and peers, there have been debates about which spaces, tools and furniture are most conducive to learning. Over decades, minimalists, OCD therapists, religious educators and luminaries such as Howard Gardner have had their say. In this visually vibrant volume, the educators and those who collaborated to assemble it display actual examples of their efforts and speak to their experiences with real children and real places. Color, sound, terrain, textures, external spaces and building interiors are considered as part of the learning team. From Sir Ken Robinson to Chef Ann Cooper, from Canada to Germany, from the Caymans to South Africa, eight chapters illustrate the concerns and actions of people dedicated to the examining the role of environment in the education of all children. This book is unorthodox in appearance, never dull, and full of creative and exciting ideas.

Margaret Bleyberg, Hillel Academy, Kingston, Jamaica

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Friends School Community Forums

By now you have heard of the FSP Community Forum, but do you know what it is? The Friends School Community Forum is a monthly meeting, primarily of parents, whose purpose is to proactively inform the development of the school community. Through these unstructured conversations, we hope to gain an understanding of the array of views held by the membership on pervasive issues that affect our children within the academic and social environment of the school.

Because there is an urgent issue for which the board wishes parent input, we have decided to use the first Community Forum to facilitate their access to our opinions. The first Parent Forum, an opportunity to discuss as a community the future location of the Friends School, will be held Tuesday, October 4 at 6:30 p.m. For more information on the issue at stake, please refer to James’ letter of September 26.

Please note that childcare will not be offered for the October 4th Forum. The parent steering committee is in the process of organizing childcare opportunities for future evening events at the school. (For those who cannot attend the evening meeting, Rob Levin and James will be available on Wednesday, October 5 for a meeting at 8:30 a.m. and another meeting at 2:00 p.m. We hope this schedule serves the needs of all parents who wish to participate in the discussion.)

The Friends School Community Forum will meet the first Tuesday of each month during the school year. Fall topics will be:

November 1 - The role and desirability of performing and visual arts in the curriculum

December 6 - Technology and social media in the school environment

Winter and spring topics will be decided later this fall based on input from parents, teachers, and the school administration. A couple of ideas floating around are to bring in a specialist on sociocognitive thinking to talk with us about the importance of fostering executive and social skills development at school and at home; and talking to kids about sex and healthy choices: what is appropriate at what developmental stage, how to talk about it, and everything else you ever wanted to know.

We welcome your ideas. We want to talk about the things that are important to our families!

Hope to see you Tuesday evening!

Maya & Aja

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Teenage Brain

This summer I read the book "The Secret Life of the Grown Up Brain" which actually made me feel a bit better about this whole aging process (see this bit about menopause in the Atlantic for feeling even better still) ... I took the authors' book about teens out of the library but have not made it past the part where she describes the age-appropriateness of taking crazy risks and explains that parents jobs are to be their childrens' pre-frontal cortex.  Oh my.

At the same time, Leisa sent me the link to a podacast about teen brains -
It's an age-old question: why do teenagers behave as they do? Why 
the angst, anger and risk-taking? Some researchers say science and 
evolution provide some answers. And in some cases, the very 
behaviors that drive parents crazy may be the traits that prove the 
keys to success as an adult. - More at
she highly recommends it, even for those of us with younger kids and then today a National Geographic showed up with "The Teenage Brain" on the cover.

I'm both suspicious and fascinated by brain science - others?  Would this be a good future P4P topic or community forum?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Andy Goldsworthy

Celeste is introducing the middle school to the work of Andy Goldsworthy which prompted me to learn more about him.   His work is gorgeous, but from the teeny-bit I understand, it is really his process which is important to pay attention to.  Or perhaps it is all blended - I have a ton to learn.

Perhaps we could watch the full video, Rivers and Tides, together sometime (read a review @ Literary Mama or NYT

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Workers & Online Shopping

My mom owned an independent shop when I was a teenager, and big box stores definitely hurt her business.  This was before online shopping really took off - I doubt she'd even have opened it in this marketplace.  But the store was more than a place to buy stuff - as proprietor of an educational toy store and teacher supply company in Auburn ME, she helped open our community up to thinking and talking about education and children's rights and needs in new ways.  So, I'm a supporter of BUY LOCAL and will get my new Shel Silverstein book at Longfellow as soon as they replenish their supply.  Nevertheless, I confess to using Amazon for deals, for more peripheral titles and sometimes just for convenience.

New revelations about worker abuse at warehouse facilities - and this follow up specifically about Amazon -  is a reminder that online retail keeps humans invisible from us - we don't see the people behind the scenes and they fall away in our consciousness. The Mother Jones article is disturbing but worth reading - perhaps even sharing with some older kids who might be interested in shopping online themselves.  American Rights At Work has launched an online petition - I suspect there will be interesting reading, activism and coalition work around this issue for a long time to come.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pinwheels for Peace

Celebrate International Day of Peace today -  Learn more about Peace One Day and make a small donation to the organization via the 7th/8th grade collection jar (in lobby); Join with FSP, the Governor Baxter School and the Real School in a celebration of Pinwheels for Peace (or bring pinwheels for peace to your own location); make peace in your community - check out ideas from KindnessGirl (for small daily acts) or join with Peace Action Maine 

There are some great picture books that help children explore peacemaking - check out Jane Addams Book Award winners or Cynthia Leitch Smith's list of "War and Peace in Children's Literature"

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Why Books as Bridges?

If you're wondering why FSP might be moved to offer a program such as Books as Bridges : Children's Literature and Anti-Racism Education, check out Anne Sibley O'Brien's blog and her latest thinking about how white children learn their racial identity and how it is connected to racism (unwittingly, perhaps, but at very young ages) and how adults might better intervene in that socialization.

Also - some new social justice & literature resources:

And check the side bar for more!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Volunteers Needed! Sign up on Bulletin Board / @ Parents Night or in Comments!

Parenting for Peace – Books as Bridges : Children’s Books in Anti-Racism Education 10/18

1:30 – 3:00 – Set up book sale
1)     Jeff
2)     _________________________________________
3)     _________________________________________
3:00 – 3:45 :  Registration / Book Sale
1)     Jeff
2)     _________________________________________
3)     _________________________________________
4:00 – Pick Dinner Up From Portland  - Deliver to FSP / Set Up
1)     _________________________________________
2)     _________________________________________
5:30 – 7:00  Book Sale
1)     John Marble
2)     _________________________________________
3)     _________________________________________
6:30 – Dinner Clean Up
1)     _________________________________________
2)     _________________________________________
3)     _________________________________________
8:30  (or after evening program) : Book Sale  / Book Storage / Chairs
1)     John Marble
2)     Margaret
3)     _________________________________________

zest, grit, self-control, social intelligence, gratitude, optimism and curiosity.

Are these the character traits we should be trying to develop in our children? And if so, what experiences do they need?  What is missing from this list that we care about?

This NYT piece "What if the Secret to Success is Failure" is longish but provocative (although in a way that seems somewhat repetitive in our culture - these are clearly questions we're chewing on over time), esp since it provides some research base.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Discount Tickets for Portland Symphony

During the month of September, as sort of a back-to-school offer, families can get a Tuesday Classical or Sunday Classical subscription for just $25 per ticket (plus $5 per-order handling fee), which includes all our regular subscription benefits INCLUDING free ticket exchanges (to classical concerts only). To reinforce the family-friendliness, we’re also offering a free ticket to the Symphony Spooktacular concert on October 30 for every Save Me a Seat package sold.

How does this work? Easy peasy! Just go to, click on Save Me a Seat on the left sidebar, then select the series and whether the seating preference is Ground (orchestra/terrace) or Balcony (Grand Tier not available). More details are here: If anyone has questions just call PortTIX at 842-0800.


Fairy Houses in Portsmouth

20% G.Willikers! COUPON 

World’s largest Fairy Houses event!  Saturday & Sunday September 17 & 18 12 Noon till 4pm

Children (3-12) advance$4  day of tour $5
Adults  advance $10day of tour $15
Seniors (62+) advance $8 day of tour $10
Family  advance $20  day of tour Not Available
more info at

Ticket includes entrance to Strawbery Banke and the Wentworth-Gardner house. See many Fairy Houses inspired by children's literature and other fairy fantasies. Excerpts from Fairy Houses - The Ballet! An original work based on Fairy Flight, a book by Tracy Kane. Adapted and performed by The Southern New Hampshire Youth Ballet.

Meet Tracy Kane, author/illustrator of the multi- award winning Fairy Houses Series® of books and video.

Build your own fairy house on Peirce Island and help create a Fairy Houses Village!
All within walking distance

Enjoy the Amazing Bubble Machine!

FREE Parking available at Peirce Island

More Fall Fun (from JB)

Revel in the fiery colors of autumn on a guided hike, paddle, or ride. Maine Foresters will provide tree ID and foliage exploration talks along the way.

These events provide a great opportunity for students and families to learn together about seasonal changes and life cycles while enjoying exercise within the fresh air and beauty of Maine's Parks and Lands.

Ten Fall Foliage events are being offered during October.

View the complete list - full descriptions and downloadable flyers with photos provided at:

The Fall Foliage events are co-sponsored by the: Androscoggin Land Trust, Belgrade Regional Conservation Alliance, Sunrise Trail Coalition, Maine Forest Service and the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Climate Reality

Not sure how I missed this - today begins a new Al Gore initiative - 24 hours of witnessing about climate change :

Any ideas for how FSP might participate in Moving Planet Day

WHAT:Moving Planet is a worldwide rally to demand solutions to the climate crisis. Come on bike, on skates, on a board, or just on foot.

WHEN:September 24, 2011

Close Buy

I got a peek at the Close Buy catalog -it is gorgeous!

You can download it here and encourage out of town friends and families to peruse and then place an order through you!   Friends School will receive a full 35% of the money and the business is owned by FSP parent Masey Kaplan - a win, win, win for FSP!  Out-of-Towners can also download an order form, but orders must be placed through FSP (checks made out to Friends School of Portland).

Close Buy is also featuring year round gift boxes this year - although the $ back to schools is just 5% it provides an easy gift option that supports Maine, Maine Business and FSP.

Orders are due October 3 ~ Goods will be delivered the first week in December

Monday, September 12, 2011

Peace Walk September 18 2pm


In an effort to support and bring awareness to International Peace Day, Friends School of Portland, a preschool- 8th grade Quaker School, and Clark Insurance are sponsoring “Portland Walks for Peace” around Back Cove in Portland on Sunday, September 18th at 2:00 pm.

Four eighth grade students at Friends School, Madeline Curtis, Tristram Howard, Mel McClure-Chute, and Annie Gott, devised the idea for Portland Walks for Peace.

“When we watched a video on the history of International Peace Day, we realized as a group that nothing to bring the whole community together for this great cause was happening. We wanted to change that,” says Gott.

The students hope to raise money through donations for Peace One Day, an organization that uses Peace Day as a platform to help provide relief to poor and war-torn countries. These places would otherwise be unreachable and dangerous to approach without the cease-fire that controlling rebel groups agree to on that one day.

“There is nowhere else I would rather have this walk. Portland is made up of such a proactive group of caring people that I think will really support our cause. We hope that once people attend our walk they will be inspired to create their own acts of peace on the actual day [the 21st of September],” Gott says.

The walk will begin at the Preble Street parking lot across from Hannaford on Sunday, September 18TH at 2:00 pm. There is no fee to participate, but donations to Peace One Day are welcome.

Friends School of Portland is an independent preschool through 8th grade school that embraces the Quaker belief in the unique worth of each individual. Small, multi-age class structure nurtures inquiry, reflection and action. The school offers place-based curriculum with cooperative, hands-on learning in a close community where simplicity, service, stewardship, and peaceful resolution of conflict are practiced every day.

For more information on Friends School of Portland, please call the school at 781-6321 or visit

The Sonic Memorial Project

There are so many interesting pieces being written to commemorate and enrich our understanding of 9/11/2001.  The New York Times has links for teaching about the events, and Carrie just sent this link to share the Sonic Memorial Project, an NPR led collaborative project to create an archive of sounds and memories - what else are you reading, thinking about, etc? is an open archive and an online audio installation of the history of The World Trade Center. We are continuing to collect stories, ambient sounds, voicemails, and archival recordings to tell the rich history of the twin towers, the neighborhood and the events of 9/11.

Led by NPR's Lost & Found Sound, The Sonic Memorial Project is a cross-media collaboration of more than 50 independent radio and new media producers, artists, historians, and people from around the world who have contributed personal and archival recordings. To date, we have gathered more than 1,000 contributions, many of which have been woven into feature stories by Lost & Found Sound and broadcast on NPR.

Please help us build this historical archive by calling the Sonic Memorial Phone Line (646-926-1357) or by uploading your sounds. will remain open to the public for years to come thanks to the generous support of the September 11 Digital Archive.

The Future of Marriage

The Bangor Theological Seminary Presents: An Evening of Illumination
The Future of Marriage: An Interactive Dialogue

Thursday, October 27, 2011
Hannaford Hall in the Abromson Center of the University of Southern Maine's Portland Campus (88 Bedford Street, Portland)

This event will provide thought provoking presentations and community discussion on the place of marriage in our lives and in our ever-evolving society.  Join us for an intruiguing, timely exploration.

Dessert, informal conversation, and book signings to follow!

Reverend Marvin M. Ellison, Ph.D.
The BTS Willard S. Bass Professor of Christian Ethics
Athor of Same Sex Marriage? A Christian Ethical Analysis; and Sexuality and the Sacred: Resources for the Theological Reflection.

Reverend Kate Braestrup
Author of the New York Times bestselling memoir, Here if You Need Me, Marriage and Other Acts of Charity, and Beginner's Grace: Bringing Prayer to Life.

Free Admission
Open to the Public
Parking Available

Friday, September 9, 2011

Book Events on 10/1

There is something for everyone on 10/1 -- As part of Audubon Apple Day Cathryn Falwell is doing a book party around her new book Gobble, Gobble and later that day Sarah Thompson is hosting a party in the East End Cemetery to share her book Mercy : The Last New England Vampire  - -both events are coordinated by Kirsten Cappy / Curious City.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Books as Bridges : Children's Literature and Anti-Racism Education

Save yourself a seat and preregister now - sponsors a teacher or community member to attend the afternoon workshop - introduce a friend or relation to FSP by bringing them to this event!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

More for the 7/8 Hermit Island here we come!

I am so jealous that summer doesn't end for the 7/8 (and hopeful that the rain will pass).  I'm wondering if this might be a spot to do some of the organizing Lee emailed parents about - just to minimize lots of "reply-alls"?  People could use the comments to say what they can do (drive Tuesday am, pick-up Wed pm, provide food). 

Hermit Island
5 Ocean Sweep

Especially for the 7/8 Boston Museum of Science & Ancient Greece

The Boston Museum of Science is featuring a special exhibit A Day In Pompeii and an Imax movie too - it runs from Oct 2 until Feb 12 - I'm not sure how long Lee's class is studying Ancient Greece but it could be a cool tie in and excuse to take the train to Boston.

There is also an Ancient Egypt virtual exhibit - maybe I'll get Grace to explore and review

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

You say tomato, I say tomaahto

So, a few of us go to the same CSA and today we received 8 wonderful, gorgeous, and totally overwhelming pounds of tomatoes. Of course it goes with the transition back to school, soccer, work, life-nuttiness and my vision  of domestic life is being sorely tested.

Here are a few ideas I solicited from Jen and Audra - anyone else have favorite uses, especially freezable ones (I'm afraid to can)... think the 1st potluck will be a feast of tomatoes?

What else?

Anyone really good at sauce-making might consider setting aside a bit for the 7-8 Lasagna festival - maybe next year we can pool our tomatoes and get them to make the sauce as a fundraiser!