Thursday, September 27, 2012

Mornings at Sego Lily School

What do mornings look like at Sego Lily School?  Students arrive excited and ready to take on learning in all of its forms. Sometimes they continue projects that they have been working on for awhile, sometimes they start something new.  Sometimes they're already prepared, sometimes they wonder for a moment, "Hmmm... what should I do today?" then they settle on a possibility and they're off!  Here's a typical morning at Sego Lily School:

Cassandra has been working on this crocheting project since yesterday.

Santa brought his Lego's with him... what will he build today?
MrJunior1 picks up the guitar and shows off his latest solos.

Solshine explains one quadrillionth to Blueberry.

Blueberry continues playing math on her own.

Princess Birdie teaches Godzilla how to finger knit.

FireKnight brought his latest Lego creation with him.

Princess Birdie, Blueberry and Godzilla gather to play Jenga.
The activities vary but mornings are filled to the brim at Sego Lily School!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Peace is in the air - and in the building!

Five minutes into my Monday morning, there are shouts of "There is a bird in the Lego Room!" Sure enough, there is - we often keep the front door open on nice mornings, and a sweet dove had flown in and gone into the Lego room (right by the front door). She was trying to get out through the window, and the shouts intensified her anxiety. We quieted everyone down, I grabbed a jacket from the lost and found, and quickly captured the bird.

Everyone wanted to see her, of course - Blueberry & Princess Birdie both gently touched her head & I set her on the front porch wall.

We watched quietly from the doorway, but she was either too stunned to leave, or too interested in all of the attention she was getting to want to fly away! I reached for her, thinking she would immediately take off. Instead, she looked at me as I pet her gently. Then all of the kids wanted in on the action!

Eventually, she took off from her perch, and flew to the sidewalk. She watched us awhile longer, and made her way to the park across the street. The excitement here is still palatable - "I touched a real dove!" "I got to pet a wild bird!" "She was so soft!" can be heard throughout the building.

Doves are symbols of peace, love, and messengers in many traditions. We would all like to thank this gracious bird for the bringing of peace & love to our week, and hope that any messages you bring are the ones we are hoping to receive shortly!

Friday, September 14, 2012

It's official: We have an Odyssey Team!

What began as an engineering professor's passion to inspire his students has become an international competition for children as young as 5 to explore creative solutions to simple - yet intricate - problems. For over 25 years, the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals have involved students from Kindergarten through college in showcasing their teamwork, technical skills, and creativity. This year, 7 Sego Lily School students will be joining in this fun-filled, yet intense, competition.

After some debate, the team has decided to work on the following problem this year: 

Problem 4: Tumble-wood
Teams will design and build a structure made of only balsa wood and glue that will balance and support as much weight as possible. Before weight placement begins, the team will present a commercial that includes the structure rolling down a ramp. The structure will be scored for how far it rolls and for how much weight it holds. The team will integrate the placement of the weights into the performance.

Sounds simple, right? Not when you get to look at the 6-8 page description of the problem that outlines weight & size limits, style inclusions, potential penalties, and more. The team is a bit daunted just knowing that they will have to work inside these strict guidelines. They also are excited, and as Powner11 said today, "The purpose of our corporation is to WIN."

Win or lose, the team of Skippy, Cassandra, Dar6win, Ebag, Dirk, Inkheart, & Powner11 have some big challenges ahead of them. Aside from solving the problem, they must train to solve 'spontaneous' problems, create costumes & backdrops, memorize lines for their skit, and raise funds to cover expenses. If they do win the state competition in April, there will be the added challenge of raising funds to get the team & their coach to the world finals in Michigan. Are they up to these challenges? Cassandra & Inkheart say, "Totally."

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

We are going APPLES!

 We have the pleasure of  enjoying a lovely front yard with mature fruit trees: cherry, apricot, pear, plum, and apple trees.  This time of year, to our delight, there are apples, apples everywhere. Through out the day a student will declare, "I feel like eating an apple," and out the door they pop with a buddy in tow and soon an apple in hand. This time of year if you venture on to our campus you will see two trees heavily laden with not only apples but also with students picking and happily munching apples.

Cassandra happily munching.
Princess Birdie is an expert tree climber and apple picker!
Isaac exclaimed after biting into a freshly picked apple, "This apple is so much better than a store bought apple!"

Fire Knight and Princess Birdie work together to pick out of reach apples with the apple picker.

After picking three bags of apples we headed to the kitchen to make an apple concoction.
In the kitchen we prepared the apples by first washing and then using the apple peeler-corer (the red contraption in the picture) before popping the apples into a pot with cinnamon. Apples were added one by one to the pot after a student took his/her turn using the "amazing red contraption" until the pot was filled to the brim with Sego Lily apples. We added cinnamon, a sprinkle of sugar, and periodically stirred the apple concoction until the apples transformed into applesauce.
MrJunior1 thought the apple peeler -corer was, "Totally Awesome!"

Princess Birdie was delighted by the apple spiral.

Cassandra and Princess Birdie stretch an apple peel.

Soon we will have delicious  homemade applesauce.

We are going apples for our homemade applesauce!

Paper Mache!

How to keep a small school busy:

Step One: Take a group of kids who have been separated for the summer due to the school being closed.
       *Optional: Add new students who have been waiting all summer to meet the aforementioned group of students.
Step Two: Bring all of the ideas they each had over the summer to day one.
Step Three: Corner a staff member to get every conceivable activity posted on the front room calendar.
Step Four: Start working on projects.

Needless to say, with these steps in place, it has been a BUSY first week! Science projects, constructive problem solving activities, sewing, pretzel making, etc... and now, a group creating the base for paper mache masks.
 Fast Flash, Jongleuse, FireKnight, GorgiePorgie, Godzilla, Inkheart & Princess Birdie pause for a photo.

Fortunately, after nine years (yes folks, NINE YEARS!) of messy art projects, we have this kind of mess containment pretty well handled. I'm sure it will still take awhile to completely clean up after the balloons have been fully papered. But you know what? The mess is the last thing on our minds. This kind of mess is FUN.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Odyssey of the Mind

Time's Up!  Team 2 completes their bridge
 Yesterday was our first day of school and we started out with an exciting new project.  Sego Lily School students interested in participating in the Odyssey of the Mind competition got together to do a spontaneous problem solving exercise.  We split up into two groups, younger students and older students.  The younger students went first (the older students weren't allowed to watch so that they wouldn't be influenced by the solution the younger students came up with).  

Here's the problems they were given.  Each team had 15 minutes to come up with a solution and build it.

Team 1 (Younger students):  Build a bridge between the two tables.  The bridge can only touch the tables in the pink squares.  The bridge must be strong enough to support a pencil.  Use only the materials given (playdough, popsicle sticks, mailing labels, ribbon, paperclips, paper and a rubber band).

Team 2 (Older students):  The problem was similar but instead of simply supporting a pencil, the pencil had to spin around 60 times while being supported by the bridge.

Both teams built suspension bridges, using the playdough to anchor the supports on either side.  The older team came up with a clever box-truss structure for the supports while the younger students used a cantilever system.  Both teams achieved their goal!!

The students had a great time and are planning to form at least one team to participate in the Odyssey of the Mind competition this year!

Team 1 with finished bridge

Team 2 with finished bridge