Tuesday, October 27, 2015

St. Bahkita Pen Pal project continues

Our friend Charlie Roscoe, former Yarmouth resident who runs the non-profit Schools for Refugees, came in to talk with our 5th grade classes last week to kick off to this year's pen pal activities.

HMS students have sent St. Bahkita students over 1800 letters since our pen pal program began. Our students love the experience of sharing information about their daily lives, and learning about the lives of their friends at St. Bahkita.

Our continuing thanks to Paula Vicenzi for bringing this wonderful opportunity to HMS.
Charlie Roscoe


Monday, October 19, 2015

Mr. C. on 207

Check out Mr. C's performance on "207" available here . This band has a great sound and a SUPERB drummer!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Floating Think Lab Project-Take Two

Last June we shared a blog post about the Floating Think Lab project available here
Bob Gross shared an exciting follow up to this work:

Over the summer Oliver Peloquin and Emerson Perdales turned one of the boats that we created in Think Lab last year into a sailboat. These boats were funded by the Yarmouth Education Foundation. I attended the official launch event (Emerson was on the bus to a football game, so he missed the exciting event). The boat only leaked a little and moved fairly well when the breeze picked up.

Literary Cafe at HMS

The HMS Library celebrated their tenth Literary Cafe this week! This celebration is held  annually in recognition of Teen Read Week. Our students celebrate the joy of reading while enjoying delicious snacks provided by our wonderful parents. Thanks to Merry Stuhr, Tracy Weinrich, and all of the parent volunteers who make this event possible. Jess Townsend's photos capture this special time at HMS:

7th Grade Science Students Learn about Fungi

The 7th grade science classes welcomed Dan Argo, a local mycologist, on Friday, October 16th. Thanks to Morgan Cuthbert for sharing information about Dan's presentation:

Dan spoke to the classes about his specialty, fungi. The 7th grade science classes are beginning a unit on ecology. Decomposers are often overlooked during ecology studies next to the larger, more common organisms. Dan helped shed light on the importance of decomposers in our ecosystem, and they way they reproduce, which is quite a different process than occurs with other organisms. Also, Dan is a cook and foodie; he shared information and ideas about the delicious possibilities of eating local fungi!
Dan Argo

Saturday, October 10, 2015

6th Graders visit Mt. Apatite

Barb Ellis provided this update about the recent 6th grade field trip: 

Mt. Apatite in Auburn hosted approximately 160 sixth graders, teachers and parents on Thursday October 8th. Great fun was had by all as we collected rock samples, identified trees, and enticed catfish. We were pleased to hear students making connections to Alabama Moon, the book we are reading as part of the One Book, One School initiative. 

Friday, October 9, 2015

A Virtual Tour of 8th Grade STEAM

Mr. Dehetre shared this fascinating look at what goes on in 8th grade STEAM:
 Any visitor to Mr. Dehetre’s 8th grade STEAM class would be impressed with the variety of learning opportunities being offered. Let’s take a virtual look! 
If you were visiting today, you would see several 8th graders working on building a Blinky. What is a Blinky? It’s an electronic kit that students build to learn about basic electronics and soldering. Students are given resistors, capacitors, transistors, light emitting diodes, along with a battery strap and electrical switch. Students solder these parts to a printed circuit board and if done carefully, the Blinky blinks! In the pictures below you will see Michael McNeil carefully soldering a component on to the circuit board. Notice his safety glasses. Safety is very important and observed daily in STEAM. In other pictures you will see David Hattan and Emi Schneider displaying their completed and working Blinkies. Do you know what a capacitor is used for? These students should be able to tell you!
Michael McNeil
Emi Schneider
David Hattan

While some students are studying electronics, others are using the computers for computer programming. The students in STEAM are programming in the Python language. Students follow a teacher made tutorial that explains the code as they program a working number guessing game, a “weather” predictor, an Etch-A-Sketch program, and a calculator. These exercises give students just enough knowledge to do more studying independently if they'd like to. In the picture below you will see Jacob Veilleux studying the code he is writing. He has two windows open on his computer. One is the interactive window for checking small chunks of code while the other window is the scripting window used for holding the code for the program he is going to execute. Jacob has told me that he really enjoys coding and talks with his brother about coding games often. 

Jacob Veilleux

Another opportunity for 8th graders is learning how to illustrate with an application called AutoDesk SketchBook Pro. Students are not expected to be artists though they are encouraged to try out the program and many find that their digital drawing abilities improve more rapidly than expected. In the photo below, Harry Mellor is drawing a hot dog. Prior to this drawing, Harry drew a Minion and a copy of the minion is now displayed on the STEAM bulletin board. 

Harry Mellor

Lastly, students are taught the basics of SketchUp which is a 3D modeling application. Just about anything you can think of can be drawn on SketchUp and reproduced with a 3D printer. In the picture, you will see Abigail Hincks and Liam Sullivan looking at a house floor plan drawn to scale that Abi is working on completing. With SketchUp, students are able to move the model they are drawing so various perspectives of the object can be viewed. 

Abi Hincks and Liam Sullivan

What 8th grade students learn in STEAM is only limited to their imagination. We investigate just about anything that comes along. Learning and discovering is fun and Mr. Dehetre hopes that all his students will always have the desire to learn and discover new things. 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Brad Ciechomski's latest composition

Brad Ciechomski was commissioned to compose music for the Rochester NH Middle School band/chorus.  He was asked to compose a patriotic piece for the school's concert band and choir using a text written by an eighth grade student, which honors the men and women who served in Pearl Harbor during this tragic time.

The Piece will be premiered by the Rochester MS Band and Choir this November, in honor of Veteran's Day.

Charlotte Agell's work included in Melnicove exhibit

Charlotte Agell's work is included in this fascinating Mark Melnicove retrospective (Word Art) show at the Bowdoin campus library: 

Melnicove exhibit in HL turns literature into art

October 2, 2015

In an array of magazine clippings, photographs, photoglyphs, prints, collages, poems and audio, artist and poet Mark Melnicove presents “Word Art Collaborations.” This exhibit is now on display in the Hawthorne-Longfellow Library. Spanning the past 40 years of his life as an artist in Maine, the collection not only offers a distinct perspective of Melnicove’s evolution as an artist, but also illustrates the ability of text to contain meaning beyond literal translation.

“In the show, I’m emphasizing the intersection of art and literature, where the collection contains pure works of art and pure works of literature,” Melnicove said. “The intersection between the two has always been a focus of my work.”

The exhibit is composed mostly of what Melnicove calls “word art”—a synthesis of modified texts and images, torn apart or put together to create meaning beyond the original intent of their publication.

“It represents mine and other artists’ efforts to expand the notion of typography and text to make it more visual than we normally think about it,” Melnicove said. “When most people read a book they don’t think of it as a visual object. They try to read for meaning. What we’re doing is recognizing first that all text is visual, it’s not just words on a page.”

When Melnicove moved to Maine in 1977, he joined a community of writers and artists that not only shaped his creative content but also provided a means with which to collaborate. Since then, Melnicove has worked with artists such as Bern Porter, Carlo Pittore, Lee Sharkey, Grace Paley—all prominent figures in the Maine art community. The exhibit features Melnicove’s individual work as well as those pieces produced in partnership with fellow artists and writers.

Preparations for the exhibit began 11 years ago, when Melnicove began to work with Richard Lindemann, the former director of the Bowdoin Library’s George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections and Archives, to preserve his original work.

Caroline Moseley, the acting director of the George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections and Archives, noted that the library was drawn to the collection for its innovative approach towards art and literature.

“The way special collections works is by collecting around the strengths and the academic interests of the College,” Moseley said. “This collection ties in and makes for a really interesting way of looking at art and literature of a more avant-garde kind. It’s literature, it’s poetry, it’s photography, it’s word art. It’s different ways of looking at things and trying to shake things up a bit and get your message across in a different way. It’s very visually provocative.”

Divided into 21 sections, the exhibit is not arranged chronologically, but thematically by the medium that’s used within each chapter. With underlying themes of social and environmental justice woven throughout, the show uses a variety of word art mediums to convey a message.

“I have always been interested in making the world a better place,” Melnicove said. “This often involves working with, rather than against, nature. I want a just and peaceful world and have seen how art and literature can motivate people and systems to change...Experiencing word art is a sensual experience that stimulates and motivates the mind and changes our perceptions of the world.”

The show also includes unconventional art forms, such as mails art, or words gleaned from junk mail and then highlighted to bear extracted meanings, and what Melnicove calls “photoglyphs” or photographs of words as they appear on signs, windows and various other surfaces. 

The culmination of the show even includes art made by Melnicove’s students at Falmouth High School, where he teaches literature, creative writing and permaculture.

“Students tend to both ask important questions and demand substantial, meaningful answers,” Melnicove said. “This comes out in their word art. Students represent the future; they represent [and embody] hope.”

This engagement with high school students is translated into the overall goals of the exhibit, which Moseley mentions extends from Bowdoin students to members of the Brunswick community. 

“Maine is off the beaten track, and I like that. I’m interested not just in Maine art but art that exists on the margins of society at large,” Melnicove said. “Maine is not New York but there’s something that can be done here that can’t be done in New York. Obviously, our closeness to nature has something to do with that. Every region produces art in response to the region itself.”

Through its connections with Maine and the College, the exhibit aims to inspire by extending the innovation of Melnicove’s work to the community at large.

“I hope that people can just spend time with the exhibit and that maybe it will stimulate them to be creative themselves in different ways,” Moseley said. “It is about the creative impulse and getting a message across and the different and effective ways of doing that. Even if it’s just one or two people that look at that exhibit and think, ‘Wow, I want to try to do things differently’ or ‘I really want to take a class in that,’ that’s a great effect.”

“Word Art Collaborations” will be open for viewing on the second floor of the Hawthorne-Longfellow Library until the end of the semester.

Friday, October 2, 2015


Susan Parr, HMS Social Worker, is sharing her expertise on "Mindfulness" with our students and staff. Her work is having a profound and powerful impact on our school. 

What are you noticing right now?

This is the question I've been asking both students and staff over the past few weeks. Mindfulness, the practice of "paying attention to the present moment, on purpose, without judgement" (Jon Kabat-Zinn) is now being taught throughout HMS.  Over the past two weeks I have presented to five teams of staff, providing an overview of what Mindfulness is and teaching two Mindfulness "nuggets" they can use with their students every day. I've also started a Mindfulness Club open to all HMS students that meets every Wednesday.  

Additionally, I offer Mindfulness lunch groups, where we practice Mindful eating. 
With research demonstrating that Mindfulness reduces stress, improves concentration, and helps with emotional regulation, my goal is to have everyone at HMS taking a few minutes out of their day to slow down and notice the present moment.
 Lily Lonigan and Olivia Bailey
Lilly Lonigan
So, what are YOU noticing right now?

Izabel Cox-Faxon
Avery Schofield
        Photos by Jess Townsend