Archive for April, 2011

Room 202 is Ready to Research!

We are beginning to work towards an exciting research project discovering many famous and talented people that have ties to Massachusetts.

Some students have chosen one person who made a significant contribution to America and is connected to Massachusetts in some way. If your child has not brought back his/her top three choices, please do this as soon as possible. We will research important information about this person, write a well developed research report, and later “become” this person in our living wax museum. Please keep an eye out for additional information that will be coming home with your child on Wednesday.

Of note this week:

*On Tuesday, your child will participate in CAST (Cross-Age Science Teaching)!  Eighth grade students from the Lawrence School will come to our classroom to teach the children about circuits, insulators, conductors and electrical safety. It is a hands-on experience that is a fun & fantastic learning experience for all involved.

*Please be sure to come by for some dinner (Spaghetti Supper-5:15 PM) and to view the incredible artwork (Art Show 6:00 PM) created by the students of Mullen-Hall, including YOUR CHILD! :)

*On Friday, we will enjoy a special concert with Bill Harley!  ”Bill uses song and story to paint a vibrant and hilarious picture of growing up, schooling and family life. His work spans the generation gap, reminds us of our common humanity and challenges us to be our very best selves.”~

“…Harley’s witty, ebullient performances will have listeners young and old laughing out loud.” ~ Publisher’s Weekly
There will be a special FAMILY CONCERT on Friday, May 6, 2011 @ 7:00 PM
Lawrence School. More information will be sent home on Friday.
Tickets are available through Mullen-Hall, at Eight Cousins, Booksmith or at the door.
$4.00 Students
$6.00 Adults

Posted on April 11th, 2011 by hsawyer  |  No Comments »

Buddy’s Great Escape!

One day this week, late in the day, the classroom was a flurry of activity as we transitioned from Math to Science. Pencils fell, notebooks slapped desktops, and children scurried about in an attempt to get cleaned up and set up for our next activity. As the children pulled out their science notebooks and began to get settled, I noticed an unusual second upsurge of noise and movement. “Look!” Sara gasped. As I turned my head, a shadow caught my eye. Almost instantly I realized, “That’s no shadow!” My stomach dropped.  Cries of, “An anole! One of the anoles got loose!” rippled through the classroom. I tried to steady my voice and my hands. Why was I so afraid of these tiny little creatures? “Okay guys, it will be alright”, I soothed. Who was I kidding? They were thrilled! I was the only one regretting that no thick dictionary or thesaurus had been set on the cover of each terrarium that morning! “It’s Buddy! Buddy is not in his cage!” Ani said.

Despite my fear, I grabbed my camera from my desk drawer and cautiously approached the window screen. Buddy the Anole was casually climbing it with his special extended toes that help him climb trees and apparently screens as well! “Do those things bite?” someone asked nervously as I sloooowly inched closer, more for my protection than for Buddy’s! “They don’t bite”, I stated. I moved more purposefully toward him as I thought to myself, “I don’t know! Do they bite?? Ugh! Why had I never check that little tidbit?!”) I clicked the camera on to video and started to record.  “How do you think he got here?”  I asked the group. An uneven chorus of replies answered my query. “Could be…” I said to the group in general. Then the words, “And then he slithered over there” came from a nearby student scientist. “Look at his toes. Do you think he slithered or do you think he has pretty good climbing toes?” I asked. “CLIMBING TOES!” they responded as one. You bet! I clicked off the video, took a few quick snapshots and mumbled, “How are we going to get him down?” Apparently I had not said this as softly as I thought.

A round of “I WILL! I WILL!” echoed from seemingly every desk in the room. Matt’s voice added the comforting words, “I hold them all the time. My sister has one!”  Sold! I beckoned him over. Hmmm. That anole was significantly higher than he was. “Grab a chair, please.” I said. He dutifully dragged his chair over in front of the large, long brown shelf that functioned as a mailbox system for the class. As he climbed up, I realized this was still not going to be good enough. “Hoooold on” I cautioned in a sing-song voice. I lifted him up onto the top of the cabinet. “Be careful, please!” I cautioned nervously.  He leaned forward and stretched out his hands. Gingerly, he used both hands to try to unhook Buddy’s feet from the minuscule screen holes while supporting his underbelly. Buddy scrambled away and up a few more inches on the screen. Matt tried again and this time was able to unhook the little feet and cup Buddy safely in his hands. “Got him!” he breathed triumphantly! I lifted him down with his passenger in tow and I held my breath as Matt wrangled the lime green, defeated Buddy back into his terrarium. “Thanks Matt!” I said feeling both grateful and relieved. “You’re welcome” he replied with a smile and he sauntered back to his seat, pleased with himself. I smiled back and reached behind me to grab a bunch of thesauruses and piled them on top of each terrarium! No one was getting out again! “Okay class, it is time to examine some crickets. Matt?”

Posted on April 9th, 2011 by hsawyer  |  2 Comments »

Eagles in Action!

Mrs. Brooks recently shared an amazing link with me. It is a link to a live video feed that is streamed online 24/7. The video is of the Decorah Eagles from atop their tree at a fish hatchery in Decorah, Iowa. (At night an infrared light provides night vision to viewers through the camera. The infrared light is not visible to eagles. It does not bother them. They do not see it or know it is there.)

There are two adult eagles (both the male and the female) and their three new eaglets that hatched over the past week. They are in a nest that is about 80 feet high in a cottonwood tree. The nest is 5-6 feet across, 5-6 feet deep and weighs about 1 ½ tons! This video feed is an amazing way to view wildlife that we may not otherwise have a chance to see. It is also a great way to experience a natural food chain in action. Check out the pile of carcasses that the eagles feed from that is on the nest!

To watch the live feed go to: or check out the “Eagle Cam” link under our blogroll!

Posted on April 8th, 2011 by hsawyer  |  No Comments »

We Have Some New Additions!

Recently, our class was lucky enough to receive a SMARTBoard! A SMARTBoard is an interactive whiteboard (IWB). For those of you unfamiliar with this piece of technology, it is a technology device designed for whole group access to lessons that are interactive and can build cooperation.  The unit is mounted on the wall at a perfect height to allow the children to use it readily during lessons. Also, I have changed the configuration of our classroom so that we have easy access to the SMARTBoard and can use it seamlessly during the day.

I’m extremely excited about what this technology can bring to our classroom. I’ve already been scouring the Internet for lessons and inspiration on practical, effective ways to put the SMARTBoard to use. I’ve been participating in the SMART Exchange website, where teachers share lessons and ideas with each other. I am also working in collaboration with other Mullen-Hall teachers in a study group that will help us all learn more about this cool, new tool. I’ll be sure to keep all of you posted on our explorations, as this is new to me, and I’m excited about where it will take us!

Our Morning Board allows each child to show that he/she is present and choose lunch for the day by physically moving his/her name to the correct box.

We have also welcomed 4 new members to our classroom – our anoles!  They are named Aloe, Shy Guy, Geico and Buddy. They will be here until April school vacation and are helping us learn about Food Chains & Webs. If you‘d like to donate live crickets, please let me know!

Posted on April 8th, 2011 by hsawyer  |  No Comments »