February 2015 Bookworm Schedule

Reading is fun!A book is a dream you can hold in your hand.

–Neil Gaiman

Have you heard about Bikes for Books (B4B)? We hope so… if not, start keeping track of every book you read!

Tuesday, February 3 – Mrs. Kimball will be at school to read, 9:30 AM

Thursday, February 5 – Mr. Boomsma will be at school to read, 8:30 AM

Tuesday, February 10 – Ms. Erwin will be at school to read, 9:30 AM

Thursday, February 12 – Mr Lange will be at school to read, 8:30 AM

PCES Fifth Grade Band Concert tonight at 6 PM!

Monday, February 16 – Friday February 20 VACATION WEEK! Don’t take a vaction from reading!

Friday, February 16 — Monthly Valley Grange Meeting – potluck supper at 6 PM, meeting at 7 PM.

Tuesday, February 24 – Mrs. Kimball will be at school to read, 9:30 AM

Thursday, February 26 – Mrs Lander will be at school to read, 8:30 AM

GrowME 2015 Sprouts!

GrowME logoWhile it might be difficult to think about gardening and farming in mid-January, a group of volunteers are doing just that as they are preparing a fourth year of the GrowME program. The program is offered to K-3 teachers and schools in Piscataquis County and the surrounding areas. The program is organized by a collaboration between Valley Grange of Guilford, PCSWCD (Piscataquis County Soil and Water Conservation District) and UMaine Piscataquis County Extension.

GrowME aims to utilize local volunteers who will work with teachers to schedule an agricultural activity in their classrooms during Maine Agriculture Week (March 24-28). Ana Bonstedt, Home Horticulture Coordinator for Piscataquis County UMaine Extension is particularly excited over the “hands on” aspect of the activities. “Thanks to our rural nature in Piscataquis County, we don’t have the ‘nature deficit’ that some more urban areas experience,” she said. “But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be offering our kids an opportunity to involve all their senses and get some hands on learning.”

Walter Boomsma, program director for Valley Grange agrees. One of his specialties is visiting second graders at PCES to make butter. “We have fun and the kids almost don’t realize they are learning–some have even asked for instructions and then made butter at home as a family activity.” Volunteers also conduct seed planting activities, apple tasting and create animal graphs. “We also spend some time just talking with the kids—many have chickens and gardens and it’s fun to share experiences.”

Boomsma notes that last year volunteers visited with over 60 classrooms and 800 kids “from Greenville to Dexter to Milo,” but says there should be no shortage of volunteers and resources thanks to the collaboration. “We’ve got master gardeners and farmers available through Extension Programs and PCSWCD includes partners and resources that are committed to good stewardship. Our continued goal is to keep this informal, local, and a true partnership between our schools, teachers, and volunteers. It’s not so much that we have a program to offer—it’s more about working together to make good use of our resources. Our volunteers will have the sort of agricultural experience and background to be especially relevant to students while providing insight into the importance of agriculture in our area.”

The group focuses on kindergarten through third grade but is willing to consider requests from teachers of other grades.

GrowME volunteers visit for about thirty minutes and work with students on a simple, grade appropriate activity. Teachers and administrators who are interested need only furnish contact information: teacher’s name-email address and grade. Interested teachers may email or call Boomsma at 343-1842. An online sign-up form is also available at http://growmehelp.wordpress.com.