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2015 Spring Field Trip - DAY 3: Our Day at the State House!

Day three of our field trip was a VERY big day! We were scheduled to be at the State of Maine complex for the entire day as a group and our schedule was jam-packed!

We had a hearty breakfast, an up-beat morning meeting lead by the Frenchboro School, and then it was time to get in our best, most official looking outfits and head to Augusta. Heck with Mr. Smith Goes to Washington... the TLC is going to the State House!

As usual our group was split up into different age groups for the day. The youngers got to tour the State House and check out all the official looking offices that seemed oh-so-important to them all!

The kids just wanted their picture taken with anything and everything that looked "official." It was so sweet to watch them look around in awe.

They were all on their best behavior during the tours... which is a lot to ask of these young ones. Our TLC students are always ready to rise to the occasion! 

The youngers and the middle grade students also got a tour of the Blaine House which they all thought was rather fancy. I heard A LOT about the gold chandeliers!

After all of the tours the youngers participated in some programs through the Maine State Museum.

They went on a 12,000 years of Maine tour AND got to make their own arrowheads. 

While the youngers were having tours and hands-on programming the olders spent their entire day at the State House... working! They served as honorary pages during the Senate hearing for the first two hours of their day.

But before they were put to work they got the opportunity to tour both the Senate and the House of Representative chambers. They even got to bang the gavel!

The students were hosted by Senator Langley, who is the representative for the Cranberry Isles. He and his staff helped set up our day at the State House and we so appreciated their hospitably! 

Our students also got the opportunity to meet Michael Thibodeau, the president of the Senate. President Thibodeau came and greeting each of the students before the Senate hearing began. 

When it was time for the students to start paging they were brought in and recognized by the entire Senate. Boy, did that make them feel important!

As Pages, our students performed such duties as delivering messages to Senators and distributing amendments and supplements in the chamber. The students had to sit at the front of the Senate and literally watch for Senators to raise their hand. If they saw a Senator do this they quickly and quietly went to that Senator and took whatever document and/or note they needed delivered to another official in the room. 

I was completely surprised how busy they were kept during their paging experience. As one student summarized later in the day, "Paging was kind of like helping Senators text, but in an old school way!" The kids were constantly up and down, delivering messages and passing out documents. Some of the kids had to deliver messages to the House of Representatives all the way on the other side of the building. It was such an awesome opportunity for our students to see what it’s like to work on the floor of the Senate and be part of a Legislative Session. 

After a fun lunch in the State House cafeteria (some students may say THAT was the highlight of their day!), it was time to head to the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee Meeting where the TLC olders were ask to give a presentation about the TLC. 

I am pretty sure I was more nervous than the kids since I knew what a HUGE moment this was for the TLC to present to a group of legislatures who actual make a HUGE difference in the world of education. When we practiced the presentation we assumed that all the students would be standing together as a group at the front of the room, but the set up of the committee room was different from what we imagined. Instead, each one of our students had to come up to the podium and speak into the microphone by themselves when it was their turn to present. I was so nervous that this new way of presenting would throw them off their game...

But like the rock stars they are, our TLC students walked up to the podium with confidence and grace. They spoke clearly and slowly. And they acted as if they were born ready for this presentation.

They gave their presentation about the TLC, most without a script. Many students had to stand out their tippy-toes to reach the microphone. They were confident, eloquent and sincere. They answered questions and obviously impressed the committee with their presentation skills and their love of the TLC.

 At one point one of our 7th grade boys was explaining how many students we had in the TLC. At the end of his explanation he went off script, leaned into the microphone and said, "And I am really proud to be one of those students." That gave me goosebumps. 

What a high we were all on after that presentation. Our students nailed it.  There are no real words to express how proud we are of these students and of how far we have come as a TLC.

Wow. What a day.

I really loved reliving it all over again.  


2015 Spring Field Trip - DAY 2: AFTERNOON/EVENING!

In the afternoon of day two of our field trip, we split the group up to explore some surrounding areas in central Maine.

The older students headed to the Viles Arboretum in Augusta to participate in one of their ecology programs that focused native plants and tree.

The program started with a kind of "show and tell" of cool artifacts that are and are NOT native to Maine. Students did a great job identifying different plants, trees, and other evidence of living creatures that can be found here in our state. 

Students then got a tour of the arboretum where they got an up-close look at the plant collections, habitats, and historical sites. 

We experienced the arboretum through ALL of our senses... including our sense of taste. Students went digging for wild carrots to eat and enjoy!

 We were all on information overload at the arboretum because there was just so much to take in and our tour guide was SO knowledgable. We did not want to leave!

On the other side of town, the TLC youngers were at the Children's Discovery Museum having their own adventure!

They got to explore the museum together for a couple of hours and it just looked like pure, honest-to-goodness FUN!

It is pretty sweet to see these students just get the opportunity to PLAY with kids their own age!

At the end of the day we all gathered back at the camp for a delicious taco dinner made by our awesome parent volunteers. Dinner was another favorite part of this trip for many of us. All of the parents and many of the kids worked together to make the meal and then we all sat down to share it together. On previoius TLC trip, it used to be that people would sit together by islands, but not on this trip! I noticed that at EVERY meal our school families were intermingled. You couldn't tell who was from what island or school, we were just all apart of the TLC! I loved that.

Once we all cleaned up after dinner, the olders got the chance to test out their presentation for the State House on all of the TLC chaperones. You could tell they were nervous, but they did a fantastic job.

The agenda for the rest of the evening was "indoor/outdoor game night." Some kids opted to stay inside and play group games together.

 Some just wanted some quiet drawing time.

And the rest of us spent the last couple of hours in the day at the basketball quart shooting some hoops! Where do we GET all of our energy?! I surely do not know...

Hopefully we saved some energy for day three... I know it was going to be a busy one. 


2015 Spring Field Trip - DAY 2: MORNING!

Day two of our field trip began with a festive morning meeting led by the Isle au Haut school. 

It is always fun to start the morning together and check-in before beginning a day of programming. During our field trips each school takes turns leading activities like morning meeting and/or outside field games. It helps build our community when everyone has different responsibilities!

After morning meeting it was time for, not our typical "virtual" book groups, but instead we got to meet with our book groups FACE-TO-FACE!

Our students got to meet with their book group classmates and teachers for the first time this trimester in PERSON to discuss the common books they had been reading together for the last few weeks. 


It was so fun to watch how comfortable everyone was working together. The rooms were all a buzz with discussion and laughter.  Due to the fact that we use technology to collaborate on a weekly basis in these groups, it felt just like a normal school day in the TLC!

It was just so rewarding to all be in the same room together! Maybe a highlight of the trip for me!

No one loved face-to-face book group time more than the TLC pre-k students who got to dance and sing and play together in perons, instead of just watching it through the computer screen!

Once our hour of book groups was complete, it was time to get MOVING. Miss Lauren Jacobs from Healthy Hometowns joined us for some fun outdoor activities.

The youngers got to start with Lauren first. They played every version of freeze-tag you can imagine!

While the youngers were running around outside, the olders were inside working with Miss Kathleen from  the Maine Historical Society. They were learning about what life was like for children in Maine during the 1800s.

The TLC has been studying Maine history all year, so it seemed very fitting to have the Maine Historical Society join us during our trip to do some programming with us. They heard some overview information from Kathleen about life for Maine children in the 1800s and then got to participate in some hands-on activities that were similar to what children during that time period experienced.

Some of our students made butter with just cream, a marble, a mason jar, and a whole lot of shaking...

We actually used the butter we made for the rest of our community meals during the trip!

Other students participated in an activity called "Game of Graces."The game is played with hoops and sticks and apparently was intended to teach girls in the 1800s how to be graceful! Ha!

The rest of the students got to make their own candles by slowly dipping a wick in wax over and over and over again! I couldn't believe how committed these kids were to making their own candles!

Soon enough it was time to switch up our programs... the olders headed to the field to play with Lauren Jacobs!

There was an epic game of "Fruits and Veggies Capture the Flag" that the kids went "bananas" over!

The youngers got their chance to make candles and butter and learn about about life in Maine in the 1800s.

This little gaggle of girls had NEVER met each other in person before this trip. They only knew each other from our collaborations online. They were glued to each others side through all of the programs! Can you stand the cuteness!?

And speaking of cuteness, our last program of the morning for the youngers was story-time with everyone's favorite librarian, Mr. Ben from the Rockport Library. Mr. Ben just happens to be marrying the TLC coordinator, so he was easily convinced to drive all the way over to Augusta to read to his favorite island kids during his lunch break!

While the youngers had story time, the olders practiced their presentation they were giving at the State House the following day. This was the first time they had ever practiced as a group and we were so proud of how quickly and easily they memorized their parts. 

It was a jammed-packed day and we had only gotten through the morning! 


2015 Spring Field Trip - DAY 1!

It was the day we had all been waiting for! Our first day of our spring TLC field trip was finally HERE! Everyone met at Camp Mechuwana in Winthrop, Maine on a grey Monday afternoon. This is where we would be staying for THREE days and nights as one, big, happy TLC!


We didn't waste ANY time having fun and diving into engaging programming. Our older students started the afternoon working with Scot Cannon, a super talented mime and musician who lives in Belfast. He got the kids moving and laughing with his hands-on activities.

Our youngers worked with Miss Anita from Project Learning Tree learning about tree rings and how trees in Maine grow. This tied in perfectly with the ecology unit we have been studying as a TLC this year in science.

After about an hour of programs, it was time to switch and the youngers went to go sing and work on their mime skills with Scot. Too bad they didn't look like they are having ANY fun at all!

The olders worked with Ms. Anita making their own tree rings to represent their own lives. Miss Audrey said that she was concerned about fitting ALL the rings on her tree cookie!

After making their own "tree cookies" the students participated in an activity called, "Every Tree for Itself." In this activity, students role played as trees and gathered plastic chips to represent sun, water, and nutrients that trees need to survive.

Some of the trees didn't survive and were turned into firewood. We are unsure why Ms. Lauren looks so pleased by the fact that she was chopped down from her place in the forest!

After our programs it was time to refuel with a delicious pizza dinner made by the FABULOUS staff at Camp Mechuwana! If you every need a great place to stay with a group in the central Maine area... you have GOT to check out this camp! 

The pizza and salad was delicious and the kids seemed ready for our evening activities!

We had an hour of art activities after dinner to create original island student masterpieces that we will be auctioning off during our TLC summer fundraising events this summer! Stay tuned for more information on that front!

After lots of art creating it was time for our KARAOKE/DANCE PARTY!!!  

And what would a party be without the epic TLC dress-up bag!?

Dressing up is a favorite pastime of the TLC! I like that our kids feel comfortable enough to get downright silly with their TLC pals. 

Everyone got a chance to sing karaoke that evening... I think Taylor Swift was the most popular artist of the night to sing along to.

Even though these little ones did bust-out some sweet Michael Jackson tunes that I was quite impressed with!

I am pretty sure we ended the night with a group sing-a-long to Frozen's "Let it Go!" It was a pretty awesome way to end our first night together. 


Race to GROW!

Our final collaboration in science for this year was our "Race to Grow" competition that our TLC teachers thought up this spring (those teachers have the BEST ideas!)! Students had been studying ecology and plant growth all year so it was time for them to take what they learned and participate in a little healthy competition with their TLC classmates.

In early April our TLC schools received these VERY official looking letters from "the President of the Bureau of Horticulture and Seed Growth Research" along with some mystery seeds for them to plant and take care of at their schools. Their mission was to try and grow the tallest plant by choosing different variables that might effect their plants growth. They were able to determine what kind of soil to plant it in, how much sunlight it got, and when and how much to water it. They could even go as far as decide to use heat lamps or bring their plants outside for part of the day or even sing little lullabies to their plants to help them grow! Each week students measured the growth of their plant and wrote down any changes they observed on a shared google spread sheet.

Although the TLC students caught on pretty fast that I was the one sending the "official letters" (they know my handwriting too well!), they took the competition very seriously.

Their mystery plants grew and grew and grew! 

Each week we watched everyone's measurements increase and our little plant-loving scientists tried new tactics to get their plants to grow.

Fierce competition faces!

The final week of the growing competition was the week before our TLC spring field trip. Students submitted their final measurements to our google sheet and I tallied the final scores!

At the field trip we gave out our official "Race to Grow" Awards (complete with lots of sparkles and glitter!) to our top plant growers! This super-cute-green-thumb from Cliff Island won the competition with the tallest plant at 14.5 inches! Holy-grow-a-lot!