Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Chickadee November and December News

"Bring what you've got.
Put it in the pot.
Every bit counts,
from the largest to the least.
Together we can celebrate
a Stone Soup Feast!"
(Stone Soup retold by Heather Forest)
Finneas discovered the enormous stone in his soup!
"Stone Soup" is a special tradition in the Chickadee classroom, and throughout the school community, during the month of November. The story is a popular European folktale that has been told and retold for centuries. This contemporary version takes place in a village located anywhere that people learn about the pleasures of sharing.   
We went around the table and each student told what they were thankful for!

The month of November was full of "stone soup" excitement as we read the story and created our own "stone soup" activity for the classroom.  The activity was created for two children at a time to practice sitting together, cutting ingredients, preparing table settings, and serving and sharing soup together.
On Monday, November 25th the 3-day Chickadee students and Tuesday, November 26th the 2 day Chickadee students helped to prepare their very own classroom community stone soup feast.

Each student was given a choice for which ingredient they wanted to bring in for the soup and the classroom was quickly a buzz with washing, peeling, cutting, and stirring vegetables for soup. The children also enjoyed making and spreading their own butter, and serving themselves. Thank you all for your special contributions!

December has been a short and quick month of excitement as well. During this month we explore and learn about the special celebrations of light around the world, including Hanukkah, Christmas, St. Lucia, and the Winter Solstice.

On Friday, December 13th - "St. Lucia Day" Sofia Dalmann-Gothlin  (Freja's Mom) shared her special family celebration of St. Lucia Day with the 3-day Chickadee students. The students enjoyed hearing the special St. Lucia story, making a special craft, seeing Freja in her St. Lucia dress and crown, and were happy and thankful to try her delicious bread. Thank you Sophia for sharing your special Holiday Celebration with us! 

We wish you all a happy and peaceful new year!

Sunday, December 8, 2013


November/December news from the Cardinal room

We chopped and prepared foods for our classmates and we learned the proper way to pass and serve. We took great pride in these activities. Nut cracking and food prep proved to be two of the most popular works in our November classroom. Some other fun new works in November were Napkin folding and bread making. We learned 4 ways to fold a napkin. (Please ask your children to demonstrate when setting your table for a meal.) We made 3 different kinds of bread. All family recipes handed down to me from generations gone bye. The first bread was a simple white bread that I call "Eileen Bread". It was taught to me by our Irish cook. The second was a bread called "Mary Minor bread" given to me by a woman from way down south. It took a lot of convincing  for her to share her family's secret recipe with me. Both these breads were traditional yeast breads. The last bread was a quick bread called" Apple cider bread". We talked about the difference between using yeast and baking powder to help breads rise. We kneaded and watched in awe as the yeast breads doubled in size. I will share the Mary Minor recipe and hope that the owner of the recipe doesn't read this blog Shhhhh...

In a bowl combine 2 cups of Quaker oats, 3 tablespoons of butter and 4 cups boiling water, Let sit
In another bowl put in 2 packets of yeast with 1 cup hottish tap water stir once with a wooden spoon let sit
when oats are cooled at yeast to oats with 1 tablespoon of salt 1/2 cup of honey and 1/2 cup of dark molasses mix well.

  • add to this 5 cups of unbleached flour mix well
  • then add 4 cups of wheat flour a total of 9 cups
  •  No need to knead cover and let stand for 2 hours in a warm place
  • after 2 hours punch down and then glop into 3 well grease bread pans 22 x 11x 8 Cm
  • cover again and allow to sit for 1/2 hour
  • preheat oven 350 '
  • Bake 1 hour until browned.

Cool and slice and toast and serve with butter.

On Tuesday November 26 our community gathered as usual for an unusual day. It was Stone Soup day, a long time tradition in some Montessori schools. Our day began with a group discussion of sharing  and working together as a family. We placed our basket of collected items in the center of our circle and  then we dismissed to begin our day of communal preparing of the feast. Children helped to peel, slice and dice. We set tables with fancy table cloths and of course each child folded their cloth napkin. All the ingredients were added to a pot and as the soup simmered we continued to make our environment beautiful and ready for our celebration. A little before 11:00 we sat family style at our table and shared from our hearts our deep gratitude for everything. Some shared of gratitude for family, for Love and world peace, for teachers, for friends, for family, for health and for our community. Our soup and meal was deliciously made from love and sharing..

Thanksgiving was had by all. We returned to our classroom on December 2 to find our new theme of "Winter Solstice and World celebrations". This month we will study celebrations from different cultures. We began this journey with a visit from one of our student Jem Bywaters' mother Arielle Bywater. Arielle and her daughter Willa came in to our class to share about Hanukkah. They sang, danced  and taught us how to play dreidel and shared Gelt. We will also be studying the TomTon and Lucia, the Swedish celebration of winter which falls on Friday December 13. We hope to have a visit from Sophia Dahlmann-Gothlin.  We will also talk about Kawanzaa and Boxing day, both of which fall on December 26. Our main theme this month will be winter solstice. We will be creating crafts and art around this theme.  We will continue with art and hope to have more surprise performances for all of you. Our last day of school before Christmas break will be December 20. We will have a classroom celebration on Thursday December 19. Thank you for sharing your children with us and for the Birthday walks we have celebrated so far.

Thursday, November 21, 2013


The Ravens enjoyed a practical science activity with local veterinarian and Chickadee & Robin dad, Chris Tomalty.

The students used a centrifuge to conduct an investigation using density to determine what parasite eggs were present in fecal samples of 3 cows, 1 horse, 1 goat, and their resident rabbit Fuzzles von Skittles.   They observed whip worm and stomach worm eggs as well as pollen of digested hay under the microscope.  They also viewed preserved parasites and calculated the number of worm eggs a cow puts out daily.
Thank you Chris Tomalty for spending time in the classroom.

Saturday, November 16, 2013


News from The Cardinal Classroom;
So Much has gone on in these past seven weeks. We had a warm and beautiful send off for Monique on Thursday October 10th. We did a traditional candle walk with the theme of new beginnings. Each child was able to stand up and share their love and well wishes for Monique on her new path. We added a wish stone to the ceremony ,a beautiful varnished wish stone (natural gray stone with a while circle around it) from Lincolnviille Beach. We passed the stone around the circle and each child held it dearly in their hands as they gently blew a wish on it. We truly felt the love of our community as the stone was  passed from hand to hand. We sealed the stone in a jar and  gave it to Monique to always have apart of us with her. The class has remained in touch with Monique through snail mail. October brought us big changes in staff and classroom themes. We created our stick bundle to demonstrate the strength in numbers and that as individuals we are weak but as a team we are strong. The stick bundle will remain in the classroom all year as a symbol of our family/union and community. At the end of the school year, each child will bring their stick home to represent that a part of us and a part of them will forever be connected. Other areas of study in the classroom were, studying leaves and reading about pumpkin jack. We carved our own pumpkin Jack and learned loads of new songs about Autumn and Pumpkins. We rehearsed Fire drills and the procedures implemented throughout the school for each individual class. We even had real life firefighters join us for a demonstration of fire safety, fire equipment and a tour of a fire truck. We Thank the Liberty Fire Department for their valuable lessons. I am pleased to say that all our children experienced the real Fire siren w/o any ill effects. We will continue to practice fire safety once a month. October brought a deeper and more thorough focus on art. Sandee has worked hard with all the children to create incredible works of art. All the children's art is now available for sale in note card form. We encourage you to take a moment out of your morning to look over the thumb nails of note cards from the entire student body. 

October drew to a conclusion with parent teacher conferences. We want to extend a big thank you to all the parents who have shared their wonderful children with us. It was a pleasure to get to know you and a little more about your children through meaningful conversations.Thank you for your commitment to your child's education. November arrived with many new works and projects in our classroom. November's main themes will be Stone Soup and Gratitude. We will be talking, reading and expressing ways to give thanks and we will also continue to build on our new classroom community.We will be building community by learning to work together in drama, movement, food preparation, grace and courtesy and of course the main ingredient in Stone Soup"sharing".Some new works in the classroom that your child may share with you are, Nut cracking, Bread making, napkin folding,cutting and serving food and placing notes of Gratitude on our Gratitude tree. Please come in our classroom and sneak a peek and some of our leaves.Please also remember to contribute easy to cut foods for the classroom food prep and serving work like carrots, celery, cheese sticks or apples. We are beginning to fill our Wellness basket . Please sign up for contribute items and thank you to families who have begun to add gifts to our classroom Wellness basket. Any parent who would like to come in and lead bread baking on Monday November 25 please let us know. Monday the 25 will be our last bread baking day. Tuesday November 26 we will share this loaf at our stone soup celebration. On this day we will work together as a community to prep food, cook soup, set the table and organize for our family style meal. Tuesday will be the last day before our Thanksgiving Vacation begins.

Lastly we have been really enjoying yoga and movement. We hope your children are sharing the new postures and moves with you in your homes.


Tuesday, November 5, 2013



Our 3 day Chickadee students enjoyed our first class field trip to Mainly Apples in Dixmont.  It was an absolute beautiful day for apple picking, reading stories, sharing a snack and being outdoors together as a classroom community.  The orchard staff was very friendly and helpful in modeling the proper ways to pick apples and discussed the importance of respecting apple trees.  Thank you to all the parents who were able to drive and chaperone this event. 

As an extension of our apple picking trip and our introduction to community building in the classroom, the children participated in making and enjoying applesauce.  Apples were peeled, cut and cooked and then enjoyed together. Delicious!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Thank you Ken!

The Chickadee Classroom would like to give a special "thank-you" to Ken Cox
(and his little helper Kayden Cox)
On Thursday, February 7th Ken spent the morning in the Chickadee Classroom helping each child to assemble their very own "treasure box", as the children were calling them.  Each friend helped to assemble, hold and hammer their very own box. It was fun and exciting for everyone and we thank Ken for his fun Home Depot wooden kits, tool aprons and time.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Aftercare Projects

Students from our aftercare program enjoy special projects each day. On the last day of January during an unusually warm day and without any real snow on the ground, students from our afternoon program enjoyed making their own snowflakes.....eatable ones.

In celebration of groundhog day February 2nd, students from the afternoon program made groundhogs and read stories surrounding this topic throughout the week.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Science with the Ravens

The children explore US Customary measurement.

The children conduct experimentation on various solutions to discover the pH.

They used indicating paper that they made themselves.

 They then verified their findings with a pH Meter.
                                                                      And the pH level of toilet bowl cleaner is...