Note from Francie 5/19/17

Spring is the season for stepped up Outside Works at Marlboro School! The South EL trip last week is a great example. Kudos to staff members Gary Keiser, Andrea Howe, Nancie Schwartz Angell, and Erik Schickedanz, and parent chaperones, Emily Walsh, Forrest Holzapfel, and Tara Brown! The three main activities took us all over Vermont – to Fort Ticonderoga, VINS, and the Montshire where we learned about history, natural history, and engineering! These activities were great, but an unexpected bonus to the trip was our time in Tunbridge. Andrea has lots of family there and, thanks to her, we were offered amazing hospitality. One of her cousins is the president of the Tunbridge World’s Fairgrounds and he worked it out for us to stay in one of the pavilions – a surprisingly comfortable concrete floor! Another cousin is an organic dairy farmer and he invited us to his farm at the end of the evening milking. The kids had a chance to learn about dairying and to meet the cows up close and personal. All in all we learned a lot about many different aspects of Vermont!

Yesterday Kindergarten, Primary, and North EL attended a performance put on by NECCA, the New England Center for Circus Arts. We watched acrobatics of all kinds – on a pole, with fabric, and on the mat. It was amazing. I came away with admiration for the beauty of the physical feats and the strength that was required but there was something more. Throughout their routines, the performers smiled – even though they were working very hard with muscles straining and faces broken out in sweat. Those smiles put the audience at ease and made us smile, too. How different it would have been if the performers looked scared or worried or if it appeared that they weren’t enjoying themselves.

The Junior High students created the same sense of enjoyment and ease last night at their drama program. Just as with the NECCA performance, we, the audience, saw the final result of many hours of work – and the students made it look like fun! They had written scripts (and revised and edited), learned lines, blocked scenes, and rehearsed, rehearsed, rehearsed. I’m sure there were blood, sweat, and tears shed but you would never know it.

Ben K and Jordan pulled off “Hair Magic” (written by Jordan) without cracking up. Nieve and Samantha brought back Harry Potter with the scene “Quirrell” in which they played the character Quirrell (Samantha) whose body was inhabited by Voldemort (Nieve). Merou authored “Ferret Bueller’s Day Off’, which was acted effectively by Jeremiah, Zinabu, and Madison and full of more bad puns than you would think possible. Merou, Hunter, and Camilla pulled off “Pimples & other Distractions”, a perfect example of teenage self absorption. “Actors’ Challenge” featured TV viewers Hannah and Merou who had a magic remote control that allowed them to view scenes in different styles and from different times acted by Broden, Sloan, Lilly, Forrest, Sarah, Nikita, Senait and Ben C. The first half ended with Samantha belting out “Good Morning, Baltimore” from Hairspray. What talent!

After the Intermission the whole class came on stage to debate “To Build, or Not to Build”. This topic came out of their experience in Costa Rica where they learned about tourism. The debate centered on the advantages and disadvantages of building a hotel on a beach surrounded by rain forest. They came at the topic from many points of view – the local Development Review Board, a naturalist, an ecotourist, a not-so-ecotourist, and even the animals whose habitat would be disrupted. My favorite line came from the coati (Sarah) as it worried about cars – “They have big, bright eyes, but they don’t see us!”

Students in all classes are involved in presentations of learning as they pull together what they are learning. Kindergartners will know they are successful when the chicks hatch. The students in Primary know they’ve learned to read as they share readers’ theater plays with other classes. North EL students have to delay their gratification until next fall when they will enjoy the vegetables and fruits that they are planting in the garden this spring. South EL will culminate a unit on the Odyssey with dioramas from the Greek myths. The Junior High will pull together portfolios representing the Realms of Learning and present them in June. ~ Francie