November 16th

posted Nov 16, 2011, 10:21 AM by mstevens@maynard.k12.ma.us

Upcoming Events:

The Fowler Talent Show will take place on Thursday November 17th at 6:00 p.m. at the Fowler Auditorium.

Parents of 7th Grade students are invited to attend a Writing Celebration.  Mrs. Sullivan's 7th grade writing students are celebrating the publishing of their personal narratives.  Come stop by the Fowler library to read student stories, hear students read their stories, and listen to students discuss their writing process.  The date is November 18th and the times are 7:50 and 10:30 a.m.  We hope you can join us!

Recent Events to Report:

National Honor Society Induction Ceremony

Last Wednesday evening, Maynard High School held its National Honor Society Induction Ceremony.  I want to recognize all of the current National Honor Students and those inducted that night.  Becoming a member of the National Honor Society is quite an achievement.  Selection is based on the four criteria of Scholarship, Leadership, Service, and Character.  Those attributes will help them in every endeavor.

The Superintendent's Award was given to the Female and Male National Honor Student with the highest grade point average.  Anna Gubula and Chris Wagman received this Award.  I am proud of these two students and all of our Maynard National Honor Society members who represent our school community extremely well!

Scholarship Signing

Last Wednesday afternoon at Maynard High School, senior Michael Marshall signed his letter of intent to attend Bryant University.  This scholarship will allow him to attend one of the most prestigious business schools in the United States.  In addition to this academic advantage, he will be playing Division I baseball for Bryant University next year.  Dr. Chesson told me that Michael is not only an outstanding scholar athlete, but a great person too! 

Academic Success:

Experiential education has been debated by the great philosophers including Aristotle, Plato, Dewey, Paiget, Vygotski, and Friere.  In the book "Catching Up or Leading the Way: American Education in the Age of Globalization" (Zhao, 2009), the author sites these type of educational experiences as being the positive difference in American Education that has kept us an economic superpower for the last half century. 

This author was raised and educated in China but now raises his children in Michigan where he is a college professor.  He claims that the innovation and creativity that we include in our education system is what gives our nation an advantage.

Natures Classroom

Nature’s Classroom is a program that Maynard and most of the Metro-Boston Communities participate in.  It is an outstanding example of Experiential Education that has great value.  I asked Fowler Principal, Jeff Mela, to write about Natures Classroom and the following is an excerpt of what he gave me:

When students become seventh graders at Fowler School they all have an opportunity to participate in an experience that they will remember for the rest of their lives.  For the last 28 years, thousands of students have left their families and Maynard for one school week in the fall to attend Nature’s Classroom in Boston Harbor’s Thompson Island or in the Berkshires in Beckett, MA.  Nature’s Classroom is a unique educational experience, which allows students to learn about nature and the environment while building cooperation, trust, and mutual respect with their peers and teachers.  After a week of sleeping in cabins and being incredibly physically active, the students return tired and happy, filled with stories to share about their adventures in the woods.

Nature’s Classroom teachers encourage students to participate in classes such as Fire Building, Shark Dissection, Geo Dome, Natural Facials, Building a Rope Bridge, Edible Plants and many others.  The evening activities include a nighttime walk, science fair, and the most popular Thursday Night Live Skits.  Fowler teachers serve as chaperones during the days and evenings.  In the environment outside of school, students see their teachers differently and thus student-teacher relationships are established, strengthened and a community of seventh graders begins.  For many years, Pat Adams and Chris Fleming have directed the program with great attention-to-detail, thoughtful planning and success.

While there are many attributes about Nature’s Classroom that are appealing to me, I feel very proud that Nature’s Classroom is a totally inclusive program meaning that all students can attend and be successful.  Each year, the Fowler Fair helps to provide scholarships to families so all students have the opportunity to attend.  Students with significant disabilities attend Nature’s Classroom with proper support and assistance so they can access everything available.  Fowler teachers and staff work incredibly hard to make sure that all students are happy, nurtured, safe, and productive during the week.  If you have a child who has experienced Nature’s Classroom in the past, please ask them about their own special memories from their week of learning outside of the traditional classroom. (Mela, 2011) 

Family Field Trips

My wife, Kristen, is an avid reader and much more astute than I am at making learning fun.  My daughter, Ella, is in 2nd grade and they are studying Pilgrims and Thanksgiving.  Kristen is always looking for afterschool or weekend activities that we can do as a family to supplement the curriculum that our children are learning at school. 

This weekend we had a family field trip to Plymouth MA.  On Saturday we were able to visit the Plimoth Plantation http://www.plimoth.org/; The Mayflower II http://www.plimoth.org/what-see-do/mayflower-ii, the Pilgrim Hall Museum http://www.pilgrimhall.org/; and Plymouth Rock http://www.visit-plymouth.com/plymouthrock.htm all in one day.  Our family had a lot of fun seeing and experiencing things that my children are learning about in school.

My son, Rob, is an avid reader like his mom and he got Ella excited about reading the "Magic Tree House" series of books.  He gave Ella the book titled "Thanksgiving on Thursday" (Pope Osborne, 2002).  Ella liked it so much that she went to the library and got the Magic tree house research guide on Pilgrims and read that as well. 

Whether we as parents provide experiential learning or exciting literature, we provide our children special opportunities to make learning fun and exciting.

"Tell me and I will forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I will understand."

(Confucius)

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