Friday, October 21, 2011

Thumbs Up

The presentation left the audience feeling upbeat. Our principal gave it high praise in an e-mail to teachers last night when he described it as "interesting and...well paced..."
Congratulations to all.
Natalie, Louis and I will figure out a way to post a link to the presentation so anyone who missed it can have a look. I'll be posting a link to students' sources shortly.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Run Through tomorrow

After today's practice presentation and feedback, I'm really excited to see the run-through tomorrow afternoon at Waterman's. It will give us one more shot to smooth out the transitions and prepare to shine in the evening. Everyone's presentations have coalesced into a real group presentation, a synthesis of like experience from different perspectives.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Crunch Time

Though Friday morning's run through had the expected rough spots, the order felt logical and students seemed to begin to see the flow of the presentation.

 I urged students to use this space as a forum for sharing ideas. Again. I am finding it surprising that though they will share their thoughts on FaceBook w/ abandon, putting them on another form of digital publishing meets with resistance.

In general the presentations are better, more focused, more coherent, than the last time we saw them. However, several people, Riley, Avery/Ethan, Dalton, Gabe, Kennedy should get some advice on punctuation and language issues. Apostrophes seem to present a challenge. Remember, an apostrophe goes in "it's" only when it is short for "it is." "Its" is already possessive. Ex: Its zebra-like stripes were black and white. Also, Kristen wished for bigger fonts a few times.

I have specific notes for almost everyone, so I urge students to contact me via comments here, email, GoogleDocs, or at school Monday for those.

The assessment for this process and production is fully half your first trimester English grade.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

PSAT-lightened class

Kristen, Janis, Courtney and I rivaled the student numbers this morning as students worked on their fall presentations.

For the kids who were here, we made a GoogleDoc for a script as a place they can write an outline of their presentation.

Leta led a discussion to help us find an logic for the presentation and also connect the work we do for the presentation to the expedition itself.

We decided that we would find the logic of people's choices of topics according to the chronology of the trip. Click here for the current presentation order.

Each "Day Group" is responsible for writing its own introduction connecting the happenings of the day with the topics about to be explored.

Here is the place to make sure you are meeting our expectations regarding the rubrics that contain the word "script."

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Deadline Alert

We'll have another showing of work in progress Thursday morning first thing. For the most productive use of our time (part of our expectation), students will fill any major gaps in information or logic by then. We will address individually or collectively timing, script and/or technical issues and questions.

Between now and then, for the best possible presentation and best possible grade, students should take another look at the rubric(s).

No HS meeting this busy, short week...

means Thank-yous are still pending.

Friday I delivered the school's thank-you gift to my neighbors the Camerons, and they were delighted.

Ethan and Kennedy's note to the school board has been edited and forwarded to Kennedy, who will revise by tomorrow.

Friday, October 7, 2011

We saw two more presentations...

this morning, Dalton's look at log driving and Megan's work on solutions for polluting paper mills. Though we all thought the pictures worked well, the fact that he didn't know where many were taken creates a problem both as far as the project's focus on the Penobscot Watershed and the requirement that all information be carefully sourced.

Megan wants to work on her script and fill out her story more with details of obstacles to the closed system mill.

Riley finished his thank-you note. Others will work on them in advisory.

1005 update: Craig finished his time w/ G. Canter and showed us his presentation on electro-fishing. We agreed that it contained lots of information we'd never seen. Craig wants to replace his Wikipedia sourcing w/ the sources Wikipedia is using--double-checking, of course, that it is the actual source of his information.

When do we want to try hotlinking w/in the presentation? Tuesday?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Some debate...

amongst producers whether KeyNote or iMovie will work in a seamless presentation including several chapters. The general concern is whether a student will be able to stop and start the progression of slides at will in iMovie. Watching the tutorials linked to the blog for more information might help further understanding on this topic.

Ethan, one of the four producers, has his work currently in iMovie and he has little experience in KeyNote. The three producers, Ethan, Leta and Natalie, who are here today must come to a conclusion about the format as soon as possible. (My observation, at this point parenthetical, is that we may want the work be able to run start to finish without stopping and starting anyway.)

The work we saw this morning ran the gamut, some slick enough for show now and some needing more thought and research. You know who you are.

Specifically, Leta wants to focus her attention on statistics and Maine's possibly unused system of fining water polluters; Ethan and Avery want to look at the big picture of birch bark canoeing by putting their "Lamborghini" of prehistoric water travel image to work and helping us understand how this technology set the tribe(s) that used them apart. Also they will take the "you" out of their text. They'll remember they are the experts explaining something to an audience, not addressing peers or children.

Aidan's project wants more attention to dam removal in the Penobscot Watershed, the monetary and civic costs; Natalie wants to add sound and more detail regarding the national park creation process; Gabe will work on stating his problem/solution(s) clearly in words; Zeb will pull back from our experience to explain why we chose No Trace Camping in the first place; Riley wants to build on his Maine/community connection in his explanations of alternatives to hydropower.

Thank-you notes are still pending. Zeb, Ethan, Aidan (w/Natalie's help), and Riley have words on a page. All need help. Click here

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Beginning to Tie Loose Ends

Zeb "volunteered" to write a letter home to parents announcing the presentation.

Everyone missed the thank-you note deadline. We'll shoot for tomorrow, along with the eight slides and eight bits of information. If they're not yet Keynoted, GarageBanded or iMovied we'll move in that direction during class.

Students spent the English block focusing and working quietly on their presentations.

Courtney, Kristen and I finished a draft of the rubrics we plan to use to assess the evening's production.

For more tying, click here. (I put a permanent link on the upper right hand corner of the blog.)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

More Story Arcs

Due Thursday: at least eight slides; at least eight facts; keep attribution in mind. Let me know if you need a hotlink citation lesson. Also, start writing your script.

Chayse, Zeb--
Problem: Camping/human activity disrupts
Obstacle: Meeting human needs
Solution:  Find camping area that provides for human needs while disrupting the natural world as little as possible
Real solution--Camp cleanly, zero-impact camping

Ethan, Avery--
Problem: For Native Americans what's the best way to get through the Penobscot River
Solution: Making birch bark canoe
Obstacles: Available resources, traditional ways?

Problem: How do we study fish without killing them?
Solution: Electrofishing--history, why use this
Obstacles: What goes wrong? settings, lack of skills, techno failure
Real solution: Continued use of it--connect to project

Problem: Getting logs to mill and market
Solution: (historically) Log drives
Obstacles: (explore reasons for stopping) pollution, etc.
Today's solution: Trucking, is it economical, ecological?

Problem: Loss of alewives and habitat
Solutions: Take dams down
Obstacles: Need power
Real life solution: Replace the power sources, then remove dams

Problem: Pollution in Penobscot River could harm lobsters in Penobscot Bay
Solution: Bring river to the standards of the Clean Water Act
Obstacles: Failure of companies and people to follow law; lack of enforcement; economic difficulties
Real world solution: Strengthen enforcement, improve education of stakeholders

Monday, October 3, 2011


The high school will write thank-you notes to :

Nicatou-Dalton, Aidan
Sam-Zeb, Chayse
NMW, Ruth-Gabe, Ken
School Board-Kennedy, Ethan
Joan, Michael-Avery

These are due Wednesday morning first thing for a final edit and signing.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Presentation Story Arcs

Problem--need, sustainable power in Maine
Solution--hydroelectric should be a solution
Obstacles--need dams, fisheries affected, make lakes where there were none

Attainable solution?--suggest some balanced ideas

Problem--too many dams for wild species on Penobscot River watershed
Solution--take down
Obstacles--need power, expense to remove, recreational fishing, species spread
Attainable solution?--balance human needs and fisheries' needs

Problem--we need clean water
Solution--CWA 1972(?) nn re-authorization
Obstacles--permit licensing power awarded to state of Maine by EPA
, makes State subject to corporate influence
Attainable solution?--licensing back to EPA(?)

Problem--need jobs and clean watershed
Solution--mills without pollution
Obstacles--cost, lack of imagination
Attainable solution--corporate support, need more understanding of options

Problem--Roxanne Quimby restricting historic access 
Solution--compromise w/ locals & sportsmen
Obstacles--tribalism, resentment, lack of imagination and empathy

Attainable solution--education, PR, communication

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

And the initial rubric form is...

2011 Fall Expedition Presentation

Students will be able to:

demonstrate academic facility

A1 Evaluate information from multiple reputable sources, synthesize ideas about the Penobscot Watershed and present them to the community

A2 Communicate ideas clearly to a variety of audiences, incorporating appropriate media

A3 Use multiple strategies to adapt to novel problem solving situations (for example not finding enough information or biases)

A4 Use creative expression to develop and communicate in their own voice

(hot-linked attributions?)

use social skills while learning

S1 Cooperate to achieve the group goal of presenting to the community

S2 Independently manage time and resources

S3 Persevere to successfully overcome failures, setbacks and obstacles (keep truckin’!)

S4 Seek out, evaluate, apply and give constructive feedback

S5 Assume responsibility for their own learning

connect their work to the larger community

C1 Apply what they have learned to real world events in Maine

C2 Engage with current events through reading, viewing and discussion

In the process of creating your work, students should ask themselves:

What format do you want your presentation to take?

Keep in mind that some portion of it must be digital and able to be posted on the blog.

Though both Courtney and Lee like this and appreciate the students' assistance in creating it, we reserve the right to amend or alter as necessary.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

It's Time to Make the Presentation

Here's our second brainstorm on the what and how of our presentation.

Notes from Combined HS English Class   


Presentation Producers: Natalie, Megan, Leta, Ethan

Presentation Date: 20.October.2011, Waterman's Community Center

Topics included: Policy, History, Government, Environment, Sport/Recreation

    Logging Industry; Mills Re-Opening; Public v. Private; National Park Feasibility/Desirability; Dam Removal; Pollution; Canoeing; Camping

Zeb suggested: Four Boards w/ Four Basic Subjects plus Slide Show(s)

Courtney clarified purpose and history of presentation.

Leta explained earlier presentation work: Plum Creek Presentation--Debate; attended press conference, said it seemed they had weeks to work on it.

Courtney suggested everybody writes/creates work of art/documentation about one topic, whether it be historic or experiential.

Leta volunteered to compile the photos for a slide show.

Lee reminded everyone that the blog is a place for work and could be a place for what cannot fit in the presentation’s time frame.


In tomorrow's class we will outline the rubric for the presentation's success.

Here is one of our starting places:

21st Century Learning Expectations

Students will be able to: • Evaluate information, synthesize ideas and carry them out in the real world. • Communicate ideas clearly to a variety of audiences, incorporating appropriate media. • Use multiple strategies to adapt to novel problem solving situations. • Use creative expression to develop and communicate in their own voice.
Students will be able to: • Successfully assume multiple roles in a group, including leader and team member as appropriate. • Independently manage time and resources. • Persevere to successfully overcome failures, setbacks and obstacles. • Seek out, evaluate, apply and give constructive feedback. • Assume responsibility for their own learning.
Students will be able to: • Apply what they have learned to real world issues in their community. • Engage with current events through reading, viewing, discussion and debate.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Documenting the Expedition

NHCS HS Fall Expedition – SY2011-12

During the fall expedition, you may be assigned the job of documenting the trip. You may also have a personal camera with you. Some of you will have cameras with you or will be assigned the job of documenting the day, so you might find this a helpful way to think about what would make interesting photos beyond the basic snaps. Remember that you will be making a presentation to the community on your return! What would you want others to know about your experience?

Photo Subjects: Telling the Story

People: whole group
smaller groups: leaders, chaperones, teachers, boat-mates,
study groups, friends, individuals

Places: in canoes, on land, in camp

Activities: traveling, loading/unloading gear
cooking, eating, sleeping, down-time
canoeing, landing, while ashore
hiking, resting, on the trail, at the summit
educational activities, study sessions, meeting with leaders/teachers
demonstrations, data gathering
writing, reading, photographing, drawing

Events: candid / unexpected: funny, dramatic, symbolic
staged / directed: “before and after”, acting-out, re-enacting something

Viewpoint: close-up, details, individuals
overall, wide-angle, panoramic (series)

Nature/Scenic: weather / clouds / sky
landscape: rocks, trees, water
sunset / sunrise
shadows, reflections
views “on the way”

Time: before / after , stages of the trip
Time of day: dawn- dusk; night shots?

As always, the quality of the light and the clarity of the composition make the difference between an ok and a great photo. Try to include in your photos ONLY what you really want to be there. Get in as close as possible.

KEEP YOUR CAMERA HANDY! You never know when a potential photo will occur!

Have a great trip!

CPR Training

John Dietter, EMT, explains the principles
of CPR to high school students in
preparation for the expedition.

Then students have a chance to practice on the mannequins.

Photos by Leta Hallowell

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The NHCS High School Fall Expedition

For more than fifteen years, the high school students and staff of NHCS have undertaken a 4 - 5 day experiential learning wilderness “expedition” at the start of the school year.  The planning and scheduling of an annual fall expedition has been approved in concept as a part of the school’s curriculum and program by the Board of Directors of MSAD #7.  

The high school fall trip has evolved over the years from a wilderness team-building experience to a more curriculum-based, integrated field study expedition.  Planning for each fall’s trip has been a collaboration between students and staff, with much of the actual preparation legwork being done by high school teachers during the summer prior to the start of the school year.  The type of trip and the final plan have been collaborative decisions based upon student interest and input and the experience, interest and expertise of the high school teachers available to go on the trip.  The final (proposed) expedition plan is presented for approval to the School Board by the principal, students and teachers, usually at the Board’s September business meeting. 

That the fall expedition is a wilderness experience is intentional.  Our belief is that going into the wilderness reduces outside distractions to allow our students and teachers to focus on themselves, on their development as a team for the school year, and on the task - the curricular goals and goals of the expedition.  There is also something important about the connections made with the natural world that, even living in North Haven, are becoming lost in the miasma of modern technology, transportation and communication. 

A four-year sequence of fall expeditions was proposed a few years ago: hiking/backpacking; canoeing/kayaking/rafting; sailing; and biking.  While such a sequence was viewed as a good guideline for discussing each year’s trip, it was understood that other factors, such as costs, staff skills, and student numbers and needs, might dictate the best (most educational, appropriate, affordable, doable) trip in a given year. 

Over the years, the fall expedition has involved canoeing, white water rafting, sailing in Hurricane Island pulling boats, hiking, rock climbing, bushwhacking, kayaking, and biking.  Academic research topics have included the Plum Creek development of the Moosehead Lake region, a German prisoner of war camp on the Seboomok, the culture and economy of Washington County, the wood harvest clear cutting referendum, and the Passamaquoddy Land Claims case, among others. 

An important conclusion to each year’s fall expedition is the community presentation.  Students present both the details of the trip and their individual (and group) research projects to the community, recently at Waterman’s Community Center.  Students are assessed on their work on the basis of predetermined curriculum standards and NHCS 21st Century Learning Expectations.

The fall expedition has several important components that are central to our school’s mission and guiding motto:

Competence - The fall expedition focuses on and develops competencies in both academic curriculum areas and field/leadership skills.  Students have the opportunity to develop relevant skills and study firsthand a topic in depth, applying their learning to meaningful, real-life situations. 

Compassion - One of the great things about these trips is the shared social experience.  Because students bring to these trips their own sets of skills, strengths, likes, apprehensions, dislikes, and fears, they often learn to see each other in a whole new light.  Out in the field, away from the comfort and familiarity of home and island, they come to appreciate and depend on each other in ways that cannot be accomplished back in school.  Leadership, cooperation, empathy, and teamwork are revealed and developed from working in real-life conditions toward a common goal.  

Challenge - Again, the reality of challenge comes from living simply and energetically, and in some cases, pushing oneself beyond the comfortable limits of life in the modern world.  There is challenge for many in learning to live and work in a group situation that requires cooperation and collaboration, in living without creature comforts, and in discovering one’s capacity for leadership.

Community - A primary objective of the fall expedition is to build a sense of community among our students and staff that will carry through the school year.  We are a small, isolated school, the smallest in the state.  Interdependence, tolerance, empathy and mutual support are vital to the success of a school year, and even of our school itself.  Doing meaningful work for the benefit of the larger community of the town, state or nation, and presenting our fall expedition to our own community, promote the sense of responsibility that we must have to function effectively as members of community, and as citizens of the world.

NHCS Faculty & Staff
revised September 2011
Barney Hallowell, Principal

HS Commons Pre-Packing Inventory

The good news is, our crack team of shoppers is on the mainland at this moment gathering the items needed to fill out this list.

Yellow Dri-bag #20; #22

2 Tents each

Yellow Dri-bag #24: 1 Tent

Tote # 1:

2 stoves
2 funnels (tote list says 3)
3 lighters
1 hammer
4 fuel bottles (two need filling)
1 whisper light stove

Tote #2

1 half-full box of 20 trash bags
0 storage bags
4 little bottles of hand sanitizer
1 bottle mystery sunblock
18 coils of rope
2 rolls of duct tape
1 bottle eco-blends insect repellant
3 bottles of seam sealant
4 orange plastic trowels
6 partial rolls of toilet paper
1 folding handsaw
2 hanging black water bags
1 nylon repair kit
2 AA batteries

Tote #3

3 large pots w/lids
1 large cast iron skillet
0 cutting board--need one
1 large knife
1 medium knives
2 medium pot
1 colander
1 strainer
2 ladles
1 spatula
0 set of tongs
2 pot gripper
1 butter knife
0 cheese graters
2 large saute pans
1 small saute pan
0 sponges
0 tubs for washing dishes
0 biodegradable soap
0 bleach for cleaning
0 quick dry towels
2 slotted spoons
1 spork
1 1/3 cup measuring cup
1 1 cup measuring cup
1 can opener
4 assorted mixing bowls
1 2 qt. saucepan
1 cast iron griddle

Tote #5

1 raincoat XXL
1 raincoat L
0 baseball hat
0 wool hat
1 XXL fleece pullover
3 pairs wool socks
1 pair L fleece pants
1 fleece M/L sweater
1 poly long-sleeved shirt
1 pair girls shorts
1 pair windpants
1 sweater

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Pre-expedition readings

As part of our focus on defining nature and studying the sustainability of public access to "nature," students will read works posted on the high school English class blog.

Students have seen video clips to help them understand the importance of the health of a watershed to the health of a bay. They watched a video of the last logging drive on the Kennebec River, a clip from the documentary "Homeland" about the Penobscot Tribe's failed attempt to maintain the federal government's control over the Penobscot River's pollution licensing. (In a unique ruling in 2000, the EPA awarded the State of Maine licensing jurisdiction.)

In English and in history classes, students have been introduced to the concept of the Justinian Doctrine, that access to nature is "common to all mankind." Roman Emperor Justinian's rewriting of Roman law in CE 529 has been reflected in governing documents from the Magna Carta to the constitutions of several countries.

Getting Ready to Go

Here is a central place for us to compile the results of all our hard work getting ready for this wilderness trip.

Leta's press release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: North Haven High School Prepares For Annual Fall Expedition
North Haven, Maine - September 9, 2011- This year the North Haven High School is once again preparing to embark on “Fall Expedition,” a week long wilderness trip that the entire high school, thirteen students and six faculty members, participates in. For this expedition, they will be traveling by canoe on West Branch of the Penobscot River
Unusually, NHCS always has the students as the primary executors of the trip. The students take the task of planning the details of the trip, from meals to tents. They divide themselves into four groups: equipment, food, navigation, and safety. Each group has specific responsibilities that they focus on throughout the week.
“I think it teaches responsibility,” says Kennedy Cooper, 9th grade, “we are in charge of making the trip a success.”
The equipment group is checking that the tents, stoves, and dry bags function properly. At the same time, the food group is planning the meals and choosing appropriate snacks for each day. The navigation group decides the route and how many miles will be traveled each day. The safety group collects and organizes safety protocols, first aid kit, and making sure everyone has permission to attend the expedition.
“Planning the expedition really connects the group together and gives us a sense of ownership over the trip. I love the feeling of accomplishment after a great fall expedition,” says the sole twelfth grade girl, Leta Hallowell.
Not only are the students responsible for planning the trip but also during the trip the students take care of the most important tasks. Everyday on the expedition there is an assigned student leader, who is accountable for the decision making and helping the group work together.
“Expedition builds our leadership experience and teaches us skills that we can use in the future” says Riley Venger, one of the two eleventh graders at the school.
Upon the high school╩╝s return students must prepare a community presentation which take place Oct. 20th at Waterman╩╝s Community Center. Students plan to collect sound and create a audio accompaniment to the presentation.