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Class 3-4 Trip to Beech Hill. By Class Teacher Robert Kaczor

snowy-owl-landing-quebec

It was a damp, foggy, almost springlike day on Friday, January 17, when the Grade 3-4 class left campus to hike Beech Hill in Rockport.  We had been studying local geography and it was my hope that we would be able to see and sketch some of the islands and mountains the students had been learning about.  It was obvious even before we left campus that the low clouds and thick fog were going to be a hindrance on this endeavor but I decided we would go for it anyway.

Though my plan would certainly need to be modified, the students seemed unperturbed by the conditions.  As we hiked/ran/splashed/trudged up the dirt path to the top of the hill, the students sang, talked, and joked with one another in high spirits.  As we looked out the blueberry fields faded away into the fog and, before us, the path itself seemed to disappear into nothing.

“It looks like we’re walking off the end of the world” one student observed.  I was feeling the same way.  I was determined to find some worthwhile experience from this trip since my original plan for the day was being swallowed by the ubiquitous fog so we took a moment to imagine that we were at the edge of the world.  Then I let the student run to explore the stone Beech Nut “hut.”

In the first local geography block, I start in concentric circles from our immediate surroundings, the classroom, school building, campus, and gradually work to the range of the furthest students’ homes.  Though not very tall or difficult to hike, Beech Hill offers a view of just about that distance and certainly manifest the character of the Camden Hills and Penobscot Bay.  The fog however, was forcing us to focus back in on our immediate surroundings so we explored the grounds of Beech Nut and identified some of the plants and trees that we found; black spruce, blueberries, bayberries, wild rose, etc.

“An owl!” called one student excitedly.  More enthusiastic echoes came from his classmates.  I hurried over to see.  About 50 yards from us, almost our total visibility, perched a large bird with a bright white head.

“A bald eagle perhaps?” I suggested.

“No, it’s turning its head like an owl.” Indeed, it was, and, it had the unmistakable face of an owl.  But what kind of owl?  White face; grey plumage; LARGE body.  We observed it as carefully as we could but it had already assessed us far better.

It decided that our romping around was either going to scare up some critters or convince them to stay in their homes.  With a few wide flaps it took off into the air and circled right over our heads to see if any of us were small enough to carry off; we stayed bunched together.  As it flew directly over us, it was clear to me what we were seeing.  From below the owl was as white as the fog it was carving through.  Had it not already been reported in the area I might not have known that it was – a snowy owl.

It circled above us for a few more silent moments before disappearing into the fog.  I felt my eyes well slightly at such a rare and beautiful sight.  The students also seemed to sense the significance of what we had just seen and began to dance and play and recount the experience to one another.

The rest of our visit to Beech Hill was as stimulating as I had hoped it would be.  We walked the forest paths and identified any and all of the local flora and fauna that we could.  By the time we made it back to the hut for a snack, the sky had finally cleared enough for us to look out and take in Penobscot Bay and the Camden Hills.

Our trip to Beech Hill was not as I imagined it would be.  The paper I brought to make sketches was damp and we didn’t have a lot of time to identify all the geographical features around us, though we named many.  However, the real lesson that I took away from that day, and hope the students did too, was perseverance; we could easily have rescheduled our trip for a nicer day but we stayed committed and were rewarded for it.

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”

-William Hutchinson Murray, The Scottish Himalayan Expedition

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Growing and learning through the joy of play

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Bringing life to learning through the power of the imagination

Grade School Overview

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Hats Off! Auction – New Items!

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Only two weeks to bid on your special items!

 

Check out the new items!

Over 250 items on which to bid!

Bidding ends April 25th at 8pm.

 

Live event to follow on April 27th, 6:30pm at the Rockport Opera House

 

Example of what you might receive every month!

Example of what you might receive every month!

Creature a Month – Surprise yourself, or someone you love, with 12 magical monthly gifts. Once a month for a year, you will receive a felted item in the mail, handmade by the talented and creative Early Childhood teacher Liz Ferrero. If you’ve seen LIz’s remarkable fairy houses and charming little gnomes and critters, you know how incredible her work is, and how much children and adults love it. You choose the dates, the theme, and the recipient, and Liz will do the rest. All items will be handmade and felted, with the potential for some embroidered accents and other varying details depending on the chosen theme.

 

Home, Clean, Home!

Home, Clean, Home!

Chemical-Free House Cleaning – It’s Spring, the sun is warm and strong… illuminating all the spots in your house that could use some attention! Treat yourself to the gift of 2 hours of Chemical – Free House Cleaning with Marlee Luehman! Using only non-toxic cleaners, Marlee will give you a jump start on your spring cleaning. She has been in business for 3 years and it can be hard to break into her weekly schedule, so this is your chance to pamper your home… creating a “Healthy Haven” for your family.

 

Everybody loves Toki!

Everybody loves Toki!

Wearable Toki Art and Birthday Calendar – Everyone loves TokiArt, and you’ll especially love wearing it with these two 100 percent cotton white t-shirts, each featuring one of Maine artist and Waldorf teacher Toki Oshima’s lovely, folksy drawings. You’ll get “The Neighbor’s Tractor” (adult small), featuring a fabulous red vintage machine drawn in Toki’s trademark style, and “Afternoon Visit” (adult medium), featuring a sweet image of a cow with a blackbird perched on its head. Also,

Eighth Grade Intro 3

I am impressed by their capacity to take on such a challenge and see it through to completion. These young people have experienced what I like to think of as an initiation process, requiring each of them to gain a deeper understanding of time management, accountability and follow through. The responsibility and maturity required to complete these projects, to me, illustrates their ability to achieve success in life. My hope for this class, is that they will use this ability to serve humanity in a positive and meaningful way.

Grocery Cards a Win-Win Fundraiser

Finally, a school fundraiser that costs you nothing… and you don’t have to bake either!

The Grocery Gift Card Fundraiser is as easy as doing the grocery shopping. Just stop by the school office anytime and purchase a gift card. Then, the next time you are at the checkout counter at any Hannaford’s or Shaw’s, just whip out the card and use it to pay for your groceries.

Your grocery gift card is just like cash. Dollar for dollar, what you pay for your gift card pays for your groceries (or dog food or shampoo or movie rental or…). There are no hidden fees.

And here’s the best part: Ashwood will earn approximately 5% on the weekly grocery expenditures of everyone who participates.

This fundraiser has the potential to be a huge success, earning thousands of dollars for our tuition assistance fund.

Gift cards will be sold in the school office in denominations of $50 and $100. Pay for them with cash or check. Buy as many as you like. There’s no expiration date. Come on into the office and get your gift cards, and get shopping today!

If you have any questions, contact Catherine Marin at 207-975-5886 or cathwmar@gmail.com.