The Ashley Bryan School

The Ashley Bryan School
Serving Children in Grades K-8 from the Cranberry Isles

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

TLC Fall Field Trip!

Pulling up to the Challenger Center after a day of travel, seeing all our friends. Rushing off the van, screaming our friends' names. Hugs, still screaming. Yup. It's another Inter Island Field Trip. This year we're in Bangor, doing lots of stuff about Space.

After piling off the vans, cars and more cars that we traveled in, we had a few minutes to catch up. So, in other words, a lot of screaming, hugging, jumping, trying to run up buildings, and all the other craziness we do. We are special that way. Then we had one of our famous circle-ups. (Surprise, right?) The best part is, they are never circles. Blobs, squares, ovals, stars, anything besides a circle. We went over the plans, then trooped inside the center for our first activity.

The K-3 graders were doing a program called Astronaut Life. It was a program where they learned what it would be like to be an astronaut. What they ate, how they slept, all that good stuff. The 5-8 graders did a Simulated Space Mission. The fourth graders could choose what they wanted to do. The Simulated Space Mission was a program where we had to be astronauts. We had two groups: people in Mission Control and people in the space shuttle. Halfway through we switched. A few hours later we went back to Camp Jordan for dinner.

Dinner was delicious. Who doesn't love spaghetti? Once everyone was eating and deep in conversation, music started. Kid after kid jumped up and started dancing. Soon almost everyone was dancing and having fun. It was a flash-mob, started by Islesford. After the music ended, everyone went back to dinner like nothing had happened.

The next morning, bright and early (well, actually it was still dark) we had breakfast then left (after we had a circle-up). A field trip isn't a field trip without a sufficient amount of circle-ups. Then we got onto the school bus and settled in for the long ride to the University of Maine. We waited next to the planetarium for a few minutes, waving to people to pass the time. The younger kids went inside a few minutes later for their program, Earth, Moon and Sun. The older kids headed off to the rock wall for a morning of climbing. We were there for about an hour, then left to meet up for a snack. Then the olders went inside for a show on black holes and the youngers went to the climbing wall. An hour later we met for lunch. After lunch we were off the rec center for the challenger course. After yet another circle-up, we split into two groups. This time it wasn't olders and youngers. It was one-twos. One group was on the high ropes course and the other was on the low course. Actually, the name ropes course is sort of misleading because it has nothing to do with ropes except that you are in a harness. The high ropes course had two options: The cat-walk and multi-vine. The cat-walk was a log between two trees about thirty feet in the air. There was a ladder that you climbed, climbed up some staples in the tree, onto the log and across. The multi-vine was like a tightrope with ropes hanging down to hold onto. You climbed the ladder on the staples, onto the wire and across. Scary but addicting. The low course was called Whale Watch. It was like a short, wide teeter-totter. The group split in half. Each person had a partner that was on the opposite side from you. The pairs switched, one at a time when the "boat" was balanced. It took a little while.

Back to camp for dinner and the Halloween Party!! Dinner was burritos. Yum! It was quick, because everyone was eager to get in their costumes and start the party. There was a runway where people could show off their costumes. Dessert followed, then the awards. Then the music started, and the dancing began. We're big on dance parties.

Friday morning arrived. The time had flown by. We couldn't believe it was already time to leave. Monhegan had to leave early, before everyone else. The rest of us ate breakfast and had... guess what? YES! ANOTHER circle-up! Are you noticing a theme here? Then we had a few minutes for good-byes. Reluctantly, we all got into our cars, vans, whatevers. Another field trip had come and gone.

Monday, October 24, 2011


It was completely dark, broken only by the bright light from the co-op dock. We were standing on the dock at 5:00am, staring out at the water, expecting the boat the turn the corner at any second. Waiting, talking, still waiting. The youngers were talking about the lights from Northeast harbor. "Maybe they are alien ships," they said. The teacher was talking on the phone. Finally, the dads got their own boats, since our ride didn't show. Riding over to Northeast in the dark, arriving at the dock and climbing onto the Sunbeam. "Sorry we're late," the teacher said. Finally, we left the dock. We were heading for Matinicus for IIE 2011. We settled in for the long ride. We stopped at Frenchboro, said hello then went back to sleep. We picked up the kids on Isle au Haut and left again.

Six hours later we arrived at Matinicus, seasick and tired but super excited. We walked to the school and had time to set up our tents on their playground. When we were all set up and our stuff in our tents, we had a few minutes to just hang out, then we had a circle-up. Well, it was more like a square, but whatever. We did an activity where someone pulled a name-tag out of the bag, and gave the name-tag to its respective person. That person then said something that they would bring to space that began with the same letter as their name. Some people ended up with more than one name-tag.

Then we played a game that was sort of like Sardines, but in teams. One team hid, and the first team to find them was named a certain explorer. Then we were off to our first options. There was Capture the Flag, Baking and Landscape Painting. When we came back, we had a snack break. We all hung out with our friends and caught up with what we had done over the summer. Then we had second options. Those were Variety Show Preparations, Sandcastle Making or Mural Painting.

Time for dinner, followed by the variety show. For me, the preparations for the show were more fun than the show itself. There were just a few of us, and we were all ridiculously hyper. We couldn't stop laughing at nothing in particular. It was just one of those days when everything strikes you as hilarious. We set up a computer, then we were like, "Okay. It's set up. Now what?" So we listened to music, blasting it super loud. The people setting up downstairs probably thought we had finally lost our minds. We sort of had. We were jumping around, dancing, laughing, and just being crazy middle-schoolers having fun. The time flew by. The variety show itself was a big hit. There were tons of great acts, some funny, some serious. There was dancing, singing and skits. All the schools were well-represented.

Then we went to bed. We all crawled into our tents and talked. And talked. And talked some more. Technically we were supposed to go to bed, but no one did. We were whispering, so was everyone around us. We were catching up on what had happened that summer, stuff that didn't really matter but seemed so important right then.

The next morning we woke up and were off to breakfast, then options. It was our last day. Options were Hiking, Kickball and Drumming. Only a few of us did hiking, and in a way I'm glad there weren't many people. It was just four students and a few adults. We walked through the woods and over the rocks and back through the woods. We stopped at the rocks and just watched the water. It was a misty morning, and the gray water with clouds hanging over it and land in the background was breathtaking. We didn't mind that our feet got soaked and we were muddy all over. When we were in the truck driving back to the school, we passed the kickball people. They were sliding around on the grass and yelling and having fun. When they saw us in the truck, a few of them ran after us, trying to jump in. We couldn't stop laughing.

When everyone was back from their options, we brought out the yearbooks and started the signing. It was our first year with yearbooks, and it was a big success. We crowded around each other, trying to make sure everyone signed. It was all over too soon. The youngers had to leave. We all walked down the boat to see them off. Us old peoples had to stay an extra day to plan science and social studies for this year. More on that later.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Catching Up!

It has been ages since I last posted, and my goodness have done we a lot since February.  Here is a little zoom through the last couple of months....

Separating the thin layer of skin from the onion to make a wet-mount slide!

The wet-mount onion skin slide. 

Using our new digital microscope to see the cells from the onion skin. 

Learning about measuring and graphing by collecting data about how far we can jump.

The recycling bins are finally done, but we seem to have discarded some very important things!

Finishing up our inter-island book groups with a video conference with Isle Au Haut, Monhegan, Cliff and Matinicus islands!

A special visit from our fire chief, Richard Howland and the Islesford Fire Department Organizer, Katelyn Damon!  Thanks for the great hats and the lessons about how to stay safe in a fire!

The year has flown right by, and we've had so much fun! 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Plant Experiment Update 2

The plants are growing like crazy!  Over the weekend the nasturtium plant grew 14cm!

And that's not the only plant that grew!  Everyone took turns measuring the plants, and the second and third graders recorded the data on their graphs.  Check it out!

Look at how much the pea grew over the weekend!

A new way to collect data!

Today the younger kids began to collect data a bit differently--they began to measure!  The first graders used measuring strips that were four different lengths and the second grader used a meter stick, a ruler, and a five foot measuring tape to hunt for objects in the room of varying lengths.  They also came up with a great list of measuring words that will be very handy....

Is this the same length?  
Yup!  Now it's time to record the data!

How about this?  

 Here's  different thing to measure!

How about this pea?  

Friday, February 4, 2011

Enjoying the Snow

The Islesford School is covered in snow!  The snow is so deep, it's hard to walk across the playground!

It is perfect conditions for great recess work--digging tunnels!  The commander begins his instructions....

Dig!  Dig!  Dig!

Keeping working, friends!

All of that digging is just right for studying Math.  These older kids are working on writing equivalent expressions for models of area and perimeter.  Pretty impressive.  

And this middle student is using the formula for area  to figure out the area of different objects around the room like the marker board, the door, the little kids' desks, etc.  
Thank goodness it's time for Physical Education class!  It's time to get into that glorious snow again!

Oops!  Can someone help me up?

We love snowshoeing!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Link...

I was looking at the Monhegan School blog this morning and discovered their blog entry about the last time they visited us for a week.  Here is a link to their post:

It brought back great memories of their past visit, and it's making me eager to share school with them again soon.  We are so lucky they landed on our island this week!


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Look What the Blizzard Blew In!

This morning when we arrived at school, we had a special surprise:  Jessie and the boys from Monhegan were here for a two day visit!  They came on a great day.  Because of the historical blizzard, we saved the afternoon for a "Snow Day."  The kids had an extended recess to play in the snow.  Then we all came in a sang songs together with the guitar.  After that the students enjoyed partner reading with each other, followed by games like "You've Been Sentenced" and "Multifactor."  It was a great way to celebrate all of the glorious snow!!

Enjoying our guests at Morning Meeting!

It's dancing time!  We always start the day with a song or dance, but today was extra special!

Partner Read!

Another extra special guest joined us after lunch:  Ben!  A former student!  

Playing "Bananagrams."

Reading, reading, reading!

"You've Been Sentenced"

Reading, reading, reading!

Survey Questions

As part of their math class, the younger students have been busily surveying the Islesford School population to discover more information about our students and teachers.  Tomorrow they will make graphs of their data--stay tuned!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Plant Experiment Update

The plants have begun to sprout!  Well, they actually began to sprout a week ago, but we have been very bad scientists!  Today we decided to get back on track and we began to collect data.  We brought out the plants from each station and went from plant group to plant group to make observations.  The students drew pictures of what they saw and then they shared their observations as a group.  

Here are the observations so far!  The students also began to think about why some plants have come up while others haven't and why the plants that have come up look different (shorter, taller, sturdier, darker green, lighter green, etc.)  depending on where they're growing.