Saturday, April 30, 2011

Save Our Schools

Check out this interesting work and National March being organized by Save Our Schools - and this chance to get even more involved in leadership around creating the schools we wish for : 
Parents Take the Lead, @ Webinar May 7th. Details and signup here: Boycotting tests, advocacy advice.

* Alfie Kohn endorses Save Our Schools - come see him on May 3 and he'll share his thinking...

Many Hands Makes Light Work

 If anyone has some time to help with some of the logistics around our Educator's Workshop or Evening program on Tuesday, please let Kim know... Thanks, Kim

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Maine walks for Haiti / Weld

Nicole is offering FSP families a unique opportunity to participate in the Maine Walk for Haiti
On Saturday morning, June 4


Head to Mt. Blue State Park in the afternoon to hike, swim (for the hearty) and enjoy a shared outdoor experience the first weekend in June. A hike up Tumbledown is planned for Sunday. If families want to participate, they need to be responsible for their own gear and children, but talk to Nicole so she has a sense of headcount, etc.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

WMPG Bluegrass Spectacular!

Our perennial favorite indoor event, the WMPG Bluegrass Spectacular, is coming back Monday, May 9th at the St. Lawrence. Doors open at 6 p.m. for the 6:30 show featuring the Jerks of Grass, the Grassholes, and the 317 Pickers and MCed by Blizzard Bob himself. You'll want to get your tickets in advance because it's always packed - Mother's Day gift, anyone?? Only $12 for a fun, inspiring evening that's suitable for kids (though it sometimes runs a little late). All proceeds go to WMPG.

Summer Wilderness Skills Preview

We're always looking for ways to get the kids learning about, and in, the great outdoors. During the upper elementary and middle years, Tris has found paradise at Maine Conservation School in Bryant Pond (near Bethel). They have one-, two-, and four-week programs all the way through Junior Maine Guide training for high schoolers. It's a collaboration between UMaine, 4-H, and the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Which means it's all very safe (but don't expect a lot of clothes changing and washing to go on while you're not looking - hey, the dirtier the better, right?).

To catch a preview of the summer's activities, check out the Youth Field Day Saturday, June 4th. It's free! "Events scheduled so far include .22 rifle range, archery, fly-tying & casting, ATV safety, Falconer Larry Barnes, backyard Bass with Emily Jones from ME DIFW, more activities being added daily. Lunch will be provided for a small us for details - 207-665-2068"

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Do you Facebook?

If so, it's time to "friend" Friends, and check out (and share) our Alfie Kohn event page!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Boys to Men is an organization that supports some of the most fundamental goals that we share as parents -- creating a community where boys can grow as full people and in a way that allows them to develop into healthy adults.  Programs like "Boot Camp for New Dads" and "RSVP"  encourage men of all ages to become community leaders, participatory caregivers and feminist allies for boys and girls, men and women. The Boys to Men vision:

  • Boys and men are loved and valued for who they intrinsically are without regard to arbitrary cultural stereotypes of masculinity, femininity, and gender roles
  • All boys have the opportunity to develop into healthy men, supported by adult mentors who model healthy masculinity and respectful, nonviolent relationships
  • The absence of violence and fear frees all people to be caring and productive members of society.  

Please celebrate spring and the growth of Boys to Men at this fun event -- pre-registration is greatly appreciated as the organizers need to plan food, etc. 

Hope to see you there, Kim

Tools for teaching Kids about Web 2.0

From one of my favorite e-newletters, middleweb

Web 2.0: Do-It-Yourself PD
Here's a great way to grow your Web 2.0 teaching skills. Educator-friendly EduBlogs is sponsoring the Teacher Challenge, a series of themed posts that guide participants toward goals like "30 days to get your students blogging" or "30 days to ensuring privacy and student safety on the Web." The challenges are led by teachers, including Sue Wyatt, whose own Kids in the Mid blog is a must-visit. This month's challenge introduces you to 30 web tools that can support good teaching. If you can't read the post 'til June, no problem. These are permanent blog posts, and they have the how-to detail you want.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Why we can be grateful that we don't have school lunch

Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution

Camping @ Mt. Blue State Park 1st weekend in June

Nicole's leading the Outing Club to Weld and the rest of the FSP community is invited to join in... families will need to pay/bring their own provisions, but it is a fun opportunity to socialize outside of school and connect with other families in the gorgeous Mt. Blue State Park... sign up with Nicole, just so she knows if a second group site is needed...

Friday, April 15, 2011

April Vacation Things To Do

  • WABANAKI ARTS FESTIVAL AT BOWDOIN COLLEGE, this SATURDAY, APRIL 16, 10 AM - 4 PM Artisan sales and ongoing demonstrations including traditional drumming, storytelling, flute playing, basket making... (Barry Dana will be there with his birch bark etched baskets and maple syrup)
  • The Whale Exhibit is back at the Children's Museum
  • The PMA has the Biennial
  • The Portland Public Library offers :Lost in Lexicon by Pendred Noyce:
    A Fantasy Book Event for Families 
    Saturday, April 16, 1pm-4pm
  • And PPL : Bill Regan and his Reptile Friends Thursday, April 21 at 10:30am, Rines Auditorium
  • Maine Audubon offers Vacation Camp
  • Live Reptiles & Amphibians @ Maine Audubon on Friday April 22 - Earth Day (registration required)
What Else???? Use Comments for more ideas or send them to kim & I'll add...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Lasagna Sale Coming Up!

The last lasagna sale of the year will be Thursday, May 5th (a deviation from the usual Friday sale). 7th and 8th graders will be working diligently all morning to create delectable spinach, plain, and gluten-free options for your dining pleasure. Lasagnas are $10 for each 8" x 4" pan, ready for the oven or freezer, and must be pre-ordered by Tuesday, May 3rd. Look for sign-up sheet/envelope outside the office after vacation. All proceeds go directly to the 8th grade Washington, DC trip at the end of the month.

A few extra lasagnas will be available May 6th, the following day, which is Grandfriends' Day at school.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Push-Pull of Parenting

Yesterday, some 5-6 parents had the pleasure of eating lunch with our children and learning both about principles of design (font size on posters truly matters), and about the gold rush.  We had an interesting conversation about how involved we should be in their lives & their educations; how do we respect their increasing need for privacy and separation and their ongoing need for connection and parenting.

3 articles for mulling:
We all want to raise healthy, happy, responsible, morally developed kids. We all want to stay connected to our kids w/out being "helicopter parents."  We all want our kids to develop the skills they need to negotiate the world on their own, and we want to provide new opportunities for freedom in developmentally appropriate ways.  How that all translates to action is a lot messier and different among us.

Parenting is hard, and overly judged (see The Mommy Myth for an excellent analysis of why), but I'm grateful to be a part of a community that supports many different ways of being "good parents" and I always appreciate the chance to reflect on what's making sense and what might need to be reconsidered in my own mothering of always-changing children.

Envisioning Healthy Girl Sexuality Webinar - From HGHW

Envisioning Healthy Girl Sexuality Webinar
April 29, 2011; 12:00-1:30 EST

In a sea of toxic media messages, envisioning development of healthy attitudes about sex is no easy task.  Join expert Dr. Sharon Lamb in Hardy Girls Healthy Women’s next webinar to learn what we, as caring adults in girls’ lives, can do to combat unhealthy messages!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Alfie Kohn, some more

Ok - I made one more, based on the feedback - and also want to note that the timing is completely controlled by Google - in fact, this whole thing is really another platform for Google to brand itself, which is a little creepy... (video after jump)

And, in exciting Alfie Kohn news, he's released a new book this month :  Feel Bad Education and Other Essays.   Here's the Kirkus review, and the review from Library Journal:
Kohn, Alfie. Feel-Bad Education: And Other Contrarian Essays on Children and Schooling. Beacon, dist. by Random. Apr. 2011. c.216p. index. ISBN 9780807001400. pap. $15. ED 

Few scholars are more critical or more forthright about the problems with the U.S. educational system than Kohn. For years, he has spoken out against homework, high-stakes testing, the problems of extrinsic rewards, and other issues. Here he collects his essays published in a range of outlets, from the Phi Delta Kappan to the New York Times, over the last eight years. The main theme is that we know what practices make for a terrible educational experience yet we continue with them anyway because of inertia, politics, conventional wisdom, or even greed. In the title essay, Kohn disagrees with the assumption that high educational standards mean a joyless educational experience. VERDICT Kohn, a surprisingly accessible and at times witty educational policy expert, raises lots of issues about the educational system and how we might improve it. Readers interested in educational policy—parents, students, or professionals—will find Kohn’s well-written essays thought-provoking, even if they do not agree with his conclusions.—Mark Bay, Univ. of the Cumberlands Lib., Williamsburg, KY
FSP will be selling the book after vacation through May 3 and Alfie Kohn will be signing books after his talk! 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Alfie Kohn, Parenting for Peace, Friends School of Portland

Messing around with one of the sites (Google Search Story) I learned about on Thursday... (instead of cleaning the kitchen).

Here is my promo for Alfie Kohn on May 3 - let me know what you think!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Super cool technology

I am at the ACME conference for media literacy - much to share - this session, though, is about how to USE the internet (instead of shield from it, which is also a noble goal).

I'd never heard of Glogger before - it is a "poster" making site that allows people to combine images, voice, video (from internet or home) and text.  I know I'll have fun making a Glog (and posting it here) - I'm sure I'll face challenges knowing how long to let Grace play before it is too much screen time.

I had heard of Voice Threads, because of my brilliant friend Sara, but have never used them.  Can't be sure how they'd be useful but again the chance for fun (where people could call a # and leave a voice comment instead of writing). 

We all love YouTube (although I think it might be blocked @ FSP) but I'd never heard of Quietube - video without distraction - blocks the sound, comments, etc. so a youtube can be playing as part of a presentation

Blipsnips breaks videos into second chunks - can put tags at specific points to be able to easily watch clips or ask students to specifically address particular blips and snips - can enter text to direct attention to particular parts (will post an example someday!)  Universal Subtitles allows you to add captions and subtitles into youtubes.

3 new ways to create videos from our home computers... (xtranormal movie maker (does end up costing $$)  goanimate and stupeflix video maker)

Weebly -a website and blog maker (very easy, according to very tech-savvy presenter)

Tumblr - a combo of blogging and twitter

Can't get my head around this - Google Search Stories - (help see what comes up with google searches)

So much amazing info in just 90 minutes - could learn about this for hours - and if I had time/money, would, at Summercore!

Architalx & Creating Happy Neighborhoods

As a sociologist, I am drawn towards thinking about the world structurally - how do external factors shape our internal lives? I am not a visual person, but in some ways thinking about social structures is similar to thinking about design -- in other ways, totally different.  Craig is a much more aesthetically oriented thinker, and currently serving on the board of Architalx - a speaker series that brings internationally appreciated architects to Maine.   To prepare for tonight's lecture by Andrew Freear, we watched an amazing movie- " Citizen Architect"  -  about the founders of "Rural Studio" : - a program that brings interesting architecture to low income housing in rural areas.    [There is another film, called "Rural Studio" that we haven't yet seen.] 

Related cool idea:

Yes Magazine : How to Design Neighborhoods for Happiness

Design Principles for Child & Nature - a series of posts from the Cleveland Botanical Garden, based on David Sobel's work (Sobel's book of same title)

The Institute for Contemporary Art in Boston has some great April Vacation programs 
including :

April 30, 2011
Saturday , 10:00 AM to 04:00 PM
Tickets: Free (pre-registration is required)
KidsBuild!-ICA City 2011
Join the ICA and our partners The Boston Society of Architects in creating a model city—made by kids--on the stage of the ICA’s theater. Have fun while learning about architecture and design and building neighborhoods from the ground up.  *Pre-registration is required for this event only and will begin in mid-to-late March 2011. Check the website for registration forms and details. Sorry, we cannot accept phone registrations. The activity takes a minimum of 2 hours and is recommended for children aged 6 or older with adults.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Gifted Kids and Multiple Intelligences

One thing I love about Quaker Education is the idea that if we find seek the light in each of us and in each child, we can bring out the innate gifts we all have (and then also provide the skills and info needed to compensate for our weaknesses, through stronger self-knowledge and through basic skills).  Seeing the unique gifts in our children isn't always easy (although sometimes they make passions known clearly, strongly and definitively).

Here is a cool resource for kids with "fast brains" or who might be considered profoundly gifted in cognitive ways.  The Davidson Institute provides a ton of info for educators and parents, and also special opportunities for kids themselves (they have to qualify).Another good site is

Another great opportunity for educators comes from Harvard's Project Zero Summer Institutes - the work that stems from Gardner's work on Multiple Intelligences.  How can we value the range of gifts kids bring to the world - not just academic - and how can we build the multiple intelligences of all our children.

In Maine, there is a facebook page for Educators of Gifted and Talented that has some resources, and an organization that puts on an annual conferences, shares resources, etc.

I Am Not a Short Adult!: Getting Good at Being a Kid (A Brown Paper School Book) by Marilyn BurnsAnd 'cause I love books so much --  recommendations for early /precocious readers, books for kids that address giftedness itself, for budding perfectionists : Be A Perfect Person in Just 3 Days, and an oldie but a goody: I Am Not a Short Adult!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

And more to ponder - public hearings Wed

The taxation committee to hear bills that would provide tuition tax credits for those paying tuition to Religious schools:

Public hearing Wednesday on : 
   L.D. 1044    An Act To Allow a Tax Credit for Tuition Paid to Private Schools (Sponsor: Rep. FITZPATRICK of Houlton)
  L.D. 1092    An Act To Allow a Tax Credit for Tuition Paid to Private Schools (Sponsor: Sen. SHERMAN of Aroostook)

Here's the MCLU's take...  

At the same time, the Education Committee will hear testimony on:

        L.D. 1237    An Act To Prohibit Bullying in Schools (Sponsor: Rep. MORRISON of South Portland)

Monday, April 4, 2011

For all of us to ponder

NYT, April 1st, 2011
Quakers and Elite School Share Uneasy Ground
Friends Seminary’s $32,870 tuition, selective admissions and
private-school culture are anathema to some members of the Religious
Society of Friends in Manhattan.
(not sure how using the link effects paywall limits)

Musical Immigration and Fusion

Next Thursday, April 14th, at 6:30 p.m. Friends of the South Portland Library will present Two Old Friends, a story-telling in song about how immigrants came to this country from Ireland, Scotland, and Great Britain, bringing their melodies and instruments. The duo will show how the old time country ballads of the Appalachians are rooted in the newcomers' tunes.

Two Old Friends is free and open to the public. It will be held in the community room (downstairs) at the main library, at the corner of Broadway and Cottage Road. Entrance and parking are off of Highland Avenue next to Brown Elementary School.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Equal Pay Day - April 5 / April 12

In like a lion... April gives us the chance to recognize "Equal Pay Day" and think/learn/teach about income inequality in the United States.

Maine, by statute, recognizes Equal Pay Day on the 1st Tuesday of April (that would be this coming Tues)... Nationally, Equal Pay Day is April 12 this year (the amount of time it takes women to earn what men, as a group, earned in the prior year).

I am surprised to not quickly find more curriculum for elementary students about the Equal Pay movement - please leave suggestions in comments!  

Some friends and I watched Made in Dagenham last night -- it is a moving film about the Equal Pay movement in the UK that led to fairer laws/union rules about wages in Industrialized countries... worth watching and totally appropriate for middle schoolers (although might not completely hold their attention) [There is an educational site, recommended for ages 15-19]. It is at the PMA next weekend , and available on Netflix.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Alfie Kohn on Huffington Post

As If That Weren't Enough...

WalMart is set to launch a new line of anti-aging cosmetics called Geo Girl, geared toward 8 - 12 year old girls! The colors purportedly give girls' skin 'a healthy, natural glow.'

REALLY?! And I thought that came from being outdoors and enjoying life... Read more about it here and be outraged for, and with, your daughters.