Sunday, June 7, 2015

Everybody Camp Now!

It's here, it's here! It's finally here! Our annual camping trip to the Common Ground center is upon us and everyone is excited. We gave out cabin assignments to the team on Friday afternoon and things continued to bubble up after the kids started planning. It has been nice to hear from so many parents via email this weekend asking how they can help make this trip a success. I love that about this crew! I will go into great detail about camping in a paragraph or two.

We have been extremely busy in Room 110 and at MCS in general as we prepare for the end of the year and all the trappings therein. It was wonderful that so many parents and family members could come out to the first-ever Monkton Mini-Makerfaire on Thursday. The feedback we got from teachers was that this experience was similar to, but far exceeded the coolness of, the Science Fairs of yesteryear. I think it's safe to say that we will continue in the Makerfaire vein for years to come--well, until we find the next revolutionary thing to tackle, that is. At the last minute, I called Doug Webster, executive director of the Champlain Mini Makerfaire and he was able to stop by. The fact that this guy was in town was miraculous; he was heading to meetings in Ireland after he cruised through our 'Faire and is a wicked busy individual! It's also really cool that the kids are aware of the people who are aware of them. Many wondered if our friend and champion Lucie DeLaBruere was going to make it, as well as ANESU Innovation Coach Lauren Parren. Hearing someone ask, "Is Lucie coming?" means that the kids know who the players are and that's pretty cool. Anyway, Doug was hugely receptive to our event and was able to connect with and talk to many of our student makers. He scouted us to be a part of the CMF in September as well as an upcoming K-12 maker expo at UVM in the early winter. Yeehaw! We were also visited by reporter Evan Johnson and photographer Trent Campbell of the Addison Independent, who were fortunate to have a clear enough docket to swing through and spend quite a bit of time at the 'Faire. Look for Evan's story in the Indy on Monday with plenty of Trent's pictures. If you need a quicker fix, head to the Facebook page or our Twitter feed @TheGagnerGang to see snaps I took.

Upcoming Dates:
  • June 8th-9th: Camp Common Ground
  • June 10th: MCS Field Days (afternoon)
  • June 12th: Field Days rain date; placement letters mailed home
  • June 15th: Step-Up Day at 12:30pm; final All School Meeting (1:45pm) and closing ceremonies; Staff vs. 6th Graders Kickball game to follow
  • June 16th: Promotion and Last Day of school (half-day; bus send-off at 11:50am)
Once we get the camping trip behind us, Ms. Pierpont and I will buckle down and iron out details for the Promotion ceremony on the 16th. Though it will be similar to years past, we always like to spruce it up and put a new twist on it from year to year. After the ceremony, I believe there is an event for families and you can get in touch with Kristen Howard or Sarah Cook for information about that.

We hope to--and should easily--have yearbooks in-house on the 16th (if not the 15th) for pick-up by those students who pre-ordered. It's not too late to do that, but after Tuesday, it definitely will be. We saw proofs in sixth grade math on Friday and they look TIGHT. Lucas and Quincy spent time fixing pictures with resolution issues, so we have a darn-near-perfect product on our hands... and just wait until you see the centerfold. J. Geils has nothing on this one.

Okay, you have waited long enough for camping news, so here goes.
  • Bus departure is from MCS at 8:15am tomorrow. We will return in time for dismissal on Tuesday (~3pm). Parents are encouraged to ride the bus over and leave cars in the far or lower lot at MCS. Ms. Pierpont and I drive to the site so that we have emergency vehicles. She and I do not return to the school on the bus on day two as we have to do a final site sweep and sign-out with the CCG staff. Having a bevy of parents on the bus is key.
  • The weather isn't supposed to be perfect, so I have encouraged campers to bring books, cards, or other games just in case we get rained in. There are games and a library in the main hall, not to mention other diversions.
  • A team of students did a grocery run with Julianna last week and we are told that we have more food than Carter had pills. Chaperones will be in charge of the kitchen so that water and healthy snacks are available all day. Lunch will be at roughly the same time as we eat each day with dinner between 5 and 6pm and breakfast first thing on Tuesday. Personal snacks are allowed, but they must be stored in the camp kitchen in a zip-top bag or plastic container. Food is not allowed in the cabins.
  • Students who take medicine at home should have worked through those details and form with Nurse Nancy last week. Many managed this on their own, which is awesome. Medicine that has not been processed through the school nurse cannot accompany us on the trip. Tomorrow won't be too late, but it will be cutting it close. Call Nurse Nancy at the school a.s.a.p. if you need to take care of this.
  • Electronics are permitted on the trip, but there is no wifi, no mobile service, and really no point to gadgets other than for taking pictures or listening to music. There is electricity for charging pods and phones in the main hall.
  • Please don't feel compelled to run to Dick's today to outfit yourself or anyone else for a six week hike through the high peaks of Europe. This is a simple, no-frills trip (says the woman who packed four bags last year...). Toiletries, like food, must be kept in a zip-top bag or plastic container and will be stored in the bathhouse. Label everything! There are only a handful of must-haves on your packing list:
      • Sleeping bag/sheet and blanket (bunks are equipped with mattress pads)
      • Pillow
      • Weather-appropriate clothes and shoes
      • Deodorant
  • The should-haves could go on for days (and many of them are arguably must-haves):
      • Rain gear (poncho, umbrella, Wellies, etc.)
      • Swimsuit (swimming is planned for Monday; the weather might usurp that)
      • Towel (for showers and/or swimming)
      • Flip flops (for showers and general use)
      • Sunscreen
      • Bug spray (borderline must-have)
      • Changes of clothes, including sleepwear
      • Soap/Shampoo
      • Toothbrush/paste
      • Flashlight
      • Blankie
      • Games/books
      • Gadget/charger
Please email me questions throughout the day today. I will check intermittently and respond as soon as I can.

Lastly, be aware that this is the penultimate issue of the blog newsletter for the year. Look for the final issue later next week to include details about Promotion and the last day of school. For now, I'll leave you with a little before and after. The top picture was taken on the first day of school, August 27, 2014. We recreated it (below, bottom) on June 5, 2015.

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