One Morning (or 4) in Maine...
Each spring the Upper Elementary class takes a week-long Big Trip. These trips rotate through a three year cycle: NYC, Washington, DC and Maine.
The trips encompass several components of the UE curriculum including language, history, geography, science and practical life.
The following are emails that were sent to the Upper Elementary parents during this year's trip to Maine from Stephen Kayiwa, UE teacher:
Subject: LMS: Big Trip Update Take 2
What a day it has been. It is a little after 9:00pm and we are finally putting your kids to bed after a 15-hour day. In a few minutes the lights will be out and all that will be heard is the humming of the HVAC system.
Breakfast was at 6:00 am and after packing our lunches we were off to Bar Harbor. The weather… well it was a pretty cloudy and misty but somehow appropriate for our early morning activities on the lobster boat. From the boat we got to see Cadillac Mountain (only the part that wasn't engulfed in fog) the lighthouse and sea dogs with their pups. Captain Jack taught us all about lobsters; from how to identify a “keeper” to what Maine does to make sure that the lobster population stays healthy.
While we were on the Lulu Lobster boat, Erin Campbell and Doran Donovan went into town and found activities for us before going to the Abbe Museum. We had lunch on the bus on our way to The Acadia National Park Information Center. The rangers there gave us an impromptu lesson on Bar Harbor, Mt Desert Island and Acadia National Park. They recommended that we visit Sand Beach and Thunder Hole. Those were a hit with the kids.
Later that afternoon we visited the Abbe Museum where our kids impressed the museum guide with their vast knowledge of the Wabanaki. We made it back to the Schoodic Institute where we had dinner, played on the grounds, saw a beautiful rainbow and wound down with an art activity.
Here are the questions for your kids.
- What is the difference between a sea dog and a sea lion?
- How old is a one-pound lobster?
- Maine has a lot of lighthouses, what state has the most lighthouses?
- Cadillac Mountain is the highest point on the Eastern seaboard in North America. What city has the highest point on the eastern seaboard in South America?
Please visit the website for pictures.
Stephen and the UE team
Subject: LMS: Big Trip Day 3
It is 10:00pm and we just called "Lights out!" about half an hour ago. It has been a long day filled with goats, cows, chickens and a very energetic dog.
We weeded and lay down mulch on garlic beds, played with baby goats and got our boots stuck in muddy tidal flats. While exploring the grounds we even found moose antlers. All I can say is Tide Mill Farm was a blast. I overheard one of the students saying that it was well worth the hour and a half drive.
Later in the evening we were treated to an evening of learning and entertainment by George Neptune, a Passamaquody historian and storyteller. He is great! He got us all to laugh, dance and experience his culture. This was a beautiful participatory learning experience.
My words cannot do justice to the experiences we have had today. So please take a look at the website to see all of the things we did.
Here are your questions for the day:
- What Passamaquoddy word have we all used? (Hint: It is an animal)
- How many gallons of milk does a cow produce in a day?
Stephen and the UE team
Subject: LMS: The Final Chapter
It is Thursday evening and in 24 hours you will be well in to your Memorial Weekend plans. Please give your children a day or so to recover from a week filled with great learning experiences, bonding and laughter.
13 hours on the bus
3 partial movies
1000+ periwinkles with nail polish. (Ask your kids)
1 moose antler
1 porcupine in a tree
2 lobsters (they weren't keepers)
1 bull frog
100 French braids
I gigantic map
2 Park Rangers
18 GPS devices
1 amazing storyteller
3 Passamaquoddy dances
4 creative skits (one with a great imitation of myself)
18, 000 steps (8.6 miles) per day
4 overcast days
And finally one beautiful sunny day framed by 36 smiling faces.
We woke up this morning just as the sun was burning through the fog. What we thought was a teaser turned in to a beautiful sunny day. In the morning we had an interactive mapping lesson on a map that filled up the entire room. Later in the morning we looked at tidal pools and collected specimens. You will be happy to know that the National Park Service invited the UE to collect periwinkle samples and mark them for future studies.
In the afternoon we had a GPS mapping lesson and did some fresh water exploration. We ended our day with a pizza party birthday celebration and skits.
Before I sign off I would like to highlight a recurring observation that has been made about your children this week. Everyone who worked with us talked about how well behaved and gracious your children are. They also noted how knowledgeable they were about the geology, geography and culture. We were the first group to spend time here at the Schoodic institute and I am happy to say that the bar has been set and it is very high.
We look forward to seeing you tomorrow. You will be getting alerts notifying you of our progress once we get into MA.
Stephen and the UE team
Question of the day?
- How do you identify the two types of periwinkles?
P.S. Lots of new albums available online