Projects Funded in 2015 - 2016

Trout in the Classroom:

From Mollie S.

As the centerpiece of our half-year-long study of ecology, we implemented a Trout in the Classroom project-based learning experience and designed curriculum around the ecology of these fish. The students raised brook trout (the only trout native to Vermont) from eggs to the fingerling stage of development, at which point students released them under the guidance of Vermont Fish and Wildlife into the New Haven River This project was nothing short of incredible in the number of students who bought in and dove right into the learning. I do not exaggerate when I say each and every student found some way to meaningfully engage in this project. There were so many points of entry that there truly was something for everyone. I was particularly impressed by how raising the trout captured the interests of students who typically struggle with academic work. Having the trout growing and thriving in our classroom made the entire group engage as naturalists and scientists. Throughout any given day, students would huddle around the tank and share their hypotheses and observations. The daily water testing engaged the students in hands-on learning. Having the fish and their habitat right in our learning space drew in the entire school community and also gave us many opportunities to host and educate younger students, sharing our expertise and presenting our knowledge to different ages of kids.

Flynn Theater Trips:

From Anna H.

For many students, the opportunity to see a live professional performance only happens via a school field trip. Simply driving into Burlington, seeing the lake and the Adirondacks, being a part of a throng of theater-goers and admiring the ornate decor of the historic Flynn Theater opens the students to the world beyond their small home community. Beyond this, the Peking Acrobats were astounding. Students were impacted by the astonishing feats and visual beauty of the performance. After the show they commented on: teamwork, flexibility, perseverance, strength, and bravery as key ingredients for the acrobats.

From Deb E.

The kindergartners were thrilled with the beauty and size of the Flynn Theater. The fact that so many other schools were also attending made the event more special. Also, there were students performing in the VYO. What a great opportunity to open the kindergartners to the possibility that they, too, could perform in an orchestra someday. The performance was educational, teaching us about the elements of musical composition. This was done in an interactive way incorporating video clips presented on a large screen, along with vibrant soloists. The children were engaged for the whole hour. The choice of music was fantastic, also!

Rikert Cross Country ski trips:

From Patty S. and Mollie S.

Getting outdoors with the entire class, and spending time together outside of school has a positive impact on the classroom as it promotes healthy connections and physical exercise outdoors. The connections made during these outings allow us to see one another in a different setting. Our day-to-day assumptions about one another are left behind and we have a new appreciation for each one of our individual strengths and challenges. Students and teachers return to school refreshed, invigorated, and with a deep appreciation for the beautiful country that surrounds us here in Vermont.

There is a student who started this year in the beginner group at Rikert. I noticed how balanced she was on her skis, and how easy it was for her to transfer what the instructor was teaching to her own skiing. Her confidence grew and with it, her skiing ability flourished. For the next two visits, she was placed in a more advanced group, which provided further experiences for her to grow as a cross-country skier. At the end of our last day, she announced to me that she loved cross-country skiing, and that she wanted to be a ski racer when she grew up! This student does not have a lot of resources to get her to places like Rikert; this experience has definitely widened her horizons. Thank you, Friends of L.C.S., for providing this opportunity to all children.

Author Visit:

From Beth N.

There is always a buzz when we have a visitor that travels through the school. Something exciting is happening! It also helped that classrooms came out to watch the sled dog races that she set-up. Instead of dogs, she used students.

I heard one student speaking to another student. She said, "I am going to write books." Also, out of the mouth of a sixth grader was said, "That was great" after the presentation.

Students will ever forget the sled dog races in the school hallway. I know I never will.

5/6 Grade Theater Production:

From Mollie S.

This performance had a unifying effect on our classroom. By taking on something entirely new and tapping into singing, dancing, and playwriting, students had multiple points of entry to shine in new ways. The group was regularly amazed at the hidden talents of its members. Some fairly shy students stepped up for solo singing parts. We discovered some unexpectedly great dancers among kids who would not show these talents without being given this opening. We all came to appreciate one another in deeper, more meaningful ways. The production called on our powers of collaboration, cooperation, and teamwork in completely unique ways. From the individual level on up to the entire class dynamic, the students knew the success of the production depended on their supporting one another all the way along through each rehearsal until the final show.

1st Grade Foss Science Kit:

From Tiffany D.

The first grade classroom was impacted because they could experience these experiments first hand and have all the materials at the ready. I had clear expectations aligned to the Next Generation Standards. We could really get into the science involved. I had in-depth information connected to exactly what we were doing beyond just the first grade material. This deepened my knowledge. It is a well thought out kit, something I, as a teacher would not have been able to string together. This is a unit that would take years to evolve. Now I am able to focus on differentiation and supplementing the kit to support and challenge students.

Students were excited and they felt like scientists. They were excited about this physical science unit and I frequently heard “Yes!” when were were beginning a new experiment.

Projects Funded in 2014 - 2015

LLI Reading System for Grades 5/6:

Towards the end of the school year we purchased the LLI reading system for grades 5/6. This was in response to the tremendous success of our initial grant to purchase the LLI system for grades 3/4.

From Bonnie M, Title 1 teacher:

"This year in particular, teachers are using books from the Red LLI System to meet with at level students on a daily basis while other students are reading independently. Leveled books are an important part of the reading curriculum. These books allow students to make incremental, well planned steps toward reading more difficult material. Teachers can adjust instruction to focus on comprehension, word decoding skills and/or fluency. Several students in grades 3 and 4 are reading at level, and using the LLI books is helping them remain at level. Often left to their own devices, many students reading at level do not make appropriate books choices during independent reading. They choose books that are too easy or too hard. Research shows that this does not result in increased proficiency."

From Devon M., 3-4 Teacher

" Books from the LLI Systems are elemental to a bullet proof guided reading group with any kids. Components of each lesson are clear, researched and rigorous. The lessons model outstanding teaching for any situation. The highly structured steps are powerful for struggling readers and easily adaptable to the needs of all readers. It is all there."

Harry Bliss Author Visit:

Every year we try to bring a well-known children's author to LCS. Our guest this year was author/illustrator Harry Bliss and it was awesome!

From Beth N., LCS Librarian:

"I believe that it was a very successful visit. The students admired Harry and seemed to listen closely to his words and his advice. He talked a great deal about the importance of mistakes, of making art a part of your life, whatever career you might decide on, of never giving up, and of using your brain."

We asked students what they learned from the visit:

  • I learned that you can make a scribble into something. And that when when you want to do something, you just have to practice.
  • I learned that making mistakes pushes you further in life.
  • I learned that a line can turn into a masterpiece.
  • I learned that making mistakes is good because then you learn what not to do next time.
  • I learned that a rough draft for authors is called a "dummy."
  • I learned that a simple drawing can turn into a miracle.
  • I learned that making mistakes can help you, not stop you.
  • I learned how to draw an ear.
  • I learned that to do what you love you have to love what you do.

Each group was given the chance to ask Harry questions. One kindergarten actually had the question, "How do you keep the words in a talk bubble?" He showed them how.

Flynn Theater Trips:

Each class and every student attended a performance at the Flynn Center in Burlington, Vt. This is our 6th year supporting Flynn trips at LCS!

From Tory R., LCS Principal:

"Flynn days" at LCS are exciting for everyone--those who are packing up to go to the city and those of us who stay behind. When the travelers return, it is common for adults to greet the students and chat about the performance. It becomes an experience shared beyond those who went. Adults who go keep the reflection and conversation alive. This discourse is vital--as adults share and expand their thinking, it affects the richness of conversation with students.

Student voices:

  • I just got back from Cirque Mechanics.
  • I think we should keep going to the Flynn.
  • The performance was amazing.
  • The lights changed with almost every part of the show.
  • The lights also made different shadows.
  • My favorite was a reddish-orange one.
  • It looked like the shadow was reflecting on a cave wall and the people were dancing around a fire.
  • I think you should look for more shows like what we saw today.
  • It was so fun and impressive.
  • I would like to do that.
  • Thank you for making this possible!

Cross Country Skiing at the Rikert Center:

Three times during the winter students travel to the Rikert Nordic Center in Middlebury, VT to cross county ski.

From Kindergarten:

"This shared group experience inspired class discussions, writing opportunities and shared memories. It is the most positive class trip we have each year."

All classes:

"This was a great year for snow, so most classes truly did get to go 3 times. This created more consistency and shared experience within classes and within grade bands (1-2, 3-4, 5-6). The trips provided opportunities for students to take on an activity with different peers and for them to develop and strengthen relationships with school staff."

From one class--what we learned:

  • I learned I can be a leader.
  • I learned that if you don't give up you don't get better.
  • I learned a lot about putting all your energy into skiing.
  • You don't always get to do what you want to outside.
  • I learned how to ski downhill better.
  • Falling is good practice.
  • Branching out to new people is good for friendship.
  • That if you do the duck walk, you go much faster.
  • Falling helps you learn.
  • If you duck walk, you can go up hills.
  • Going off a jump, it is hard not to fall over.

Slapstick Science workshops:

Students learned all about Newton's Laws of physics with Ted Lawrence, A science teacher and Ringling Brothers circus performer.

From Bonnie M, Title 1 teacher.

" Teachers will be able to use concepts presented as a jumping off point for further exploration in the classroom and teachers can connect future learning with ideas presented by Dr. Quark. Connections to many concepts presented: Inertia, Force, Acceleration, Action & Reaction, and Units of measurement are applicable to many areas beyond the realm of science."

Student reactions:

  • It wasn't just good, it was great!
  • Dr. Quark was funny but he still taught you about science. His skits showed us about Newton's Laws of Physics with humor.
  • He taught us about the Newton's Three Laws of Physics; Inertia, for every action there is an equal reaction, and every movement needs a force to start it.

Projects Funded in 2013 - 2014

Rikert Center Cross County Skiing

Every year we fund two trips for each class to the Rikert cross-country ski touring center.

From the Kindergarten teacher, Deb E:

"In the kindergarten class, cross-country skiing at Rikert is the first time skiing for many children. The experience is amazingly empowering for young children. Similar to the confidence that comes with learning to swim or ride a bike, children gain confidence from just two sessions of skiing. They have expressed how they persevered while climbing hills or learning to ski down a hill."

From the PE teacher, Emily D:

"I watched MANY students realize that they actually enjoyed an activity that they had not had great experience with in the past. Prior to going, students would come up to me and ask if they had to go xc-skiing. At the end of every grade's day, all of those students were asking why they only got to go twice! Students were coming and telling me that they now LOVED xc-skiing!"

Outdoor Classroom Gear

We funded the purchase of additional backpacks, snowshoes, and safety hats to outfit all third and fourth grade students for learning in the outdoor classroom.

From one 3rd/4th Grade Teacher, Anna H:

"Outdoor experiences are often cited as the most enriching part of our students' experiences in third and fourth grade. Our geology, northern forest and Vermont history curricula is brought to life through experiences such as exploring Lone Rock Point, conducting biodiversity plot studies on the town shed property, and visiting Lincoln's historical buildings. This gear enables these experiences. Collecting and processing data gathered from the natural community gives them information that is pertinent and specific to themselves and their local community. The gear allows students to study primary sources as historians and raw data as scientists. This is important as it allows learners to make sense of the world and draw their own conclusions."

Author in Residence

Ashley Wolff, author/illustrator worked with K through 6 for two days.

From the Librarian, Beth N:

"Students seemed enamored of Ashley Wolff. She had a fantastic presentation about making books: stressing the 4 Ps- passion, patience, practice and perseverance. She talked about where she got her ideas, and highlighted the fact that each and every student is an author and an artist, and all of their lives can give ideas for stories. Ashley also worked on artwork and a schoolbook. Not only were students inspired by her wisdom on story making, she conveyed valuable tips in the making of illustrations."

Quotes from students:

"Loved it."

"It was fun creating yourself into a human-al."

"If you stick with something, you'll really accomplish something."

"She encouraged me to draw better and to work on details."

"I want to write and illustrate children's books."

Flynn Theater Field Trips

Every year we fund a trip for every student in every grade to see a performance at the Flynn Theater.

From the Principal, Tory R:

"Students continue to learn and benefit from Flynn performances on so many levels. For some, it may be their first trip to a professional theater. For others, they focus on particular elements of interest--lighting, music, blocking. For many, the power of live performance lies in experiencing the unfamiliar, unknown, and unexpected. For our older students with some performance experience, they are able to imagine greater possibilities for performance arts."

From the 2nd Grade Teacher, Patty S:

"I had the pleasure of sitting next to Lisa during the performance of The Golden Dragon Acrobats at the Flynn Theater. We were in the front row and witnessed amazing acts of balance, strength and precision. Lisa was at the edge of her seat during the entire show. With wide and curious eyes she carefully watched every act, clapping enthusiastically at the end. During each transition, she turned to me to exclaim, "HOW can they do that? I can"t believe them!" She later explained that she wanted to tell her mom about the entire show, but was worried that she wouldn't remember it all. On the bus, Lisa thought through each act, describing specific details so that she could later remember what she had experienced. I imagine she will never forget the sparkles in the women's hair!"

Support for 5th/6th Grade School Play:

Friends of LCS supports the school play. In March 2014 the 5th & 6th Grade students performed "Mud and Water: Flood Stories from Potato Hill and Downstream with musical duo Swing Peepers. Support included partnering to fund a choreographer, songwriting residency and professional video recording.

From one 5th/6th Grade Teacher, Alice L:

"Students developed public speaking, collaboration and performance skills that will be useful for the rest of their lives. They developed confidence by presenting a significant presentation to their community."

Quotes from students:

"I learn best if I take things one step at a time. When I was memorizing my lines I started with each sentence and then put them together. I also learned that I like to perform on stage."

"I have more of a voice than I thought I had, and I really had to push myself to use that voice. Once I get on stage, I love it and I don't want to get off."

NIA Dance workshop

We provided funding to the PE program for a day of instruction by NIA dance teacher, Linda McCuen. NIA combines influences from martial arts, Yoga, and Modern, Jazz and African dance to deliver a whole body workout.

From the Librarian, Beth N:

"It was apparent that the students enjoyed the physical act of dancing and the instruction that the teacher gave the students. She had the students interpret emotions and act out characters and situations. In the class that I attended, I stood (actually danced) next to a student who was first reluctant to dance. By the end of the class, he was pleading for one more."

Literacy Intervention Program:

We funded the purchase of Fountas and Pinnell Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI) Red System. The system contains materials necessary to provide supplemental reading instruction for struggling third and fourth grade readers. The system includes 900 books (six copies of 144 titles plus 6 novels), four sets of practice test taking materials, two teachers' manuals, a professional development DVD, one program guide, access to online resources, student workbooks, folders for documenting progress, whiteboards, markers, and magnetic word cards.

From the Reading Specialist, Bonnie M:

"Two third grade students were very excited and proud to move up to the red boxes. They recognized that the materials were designed for older students and their ability to read these books meant they were making progress."

Chicken Incubator and Supplies:

We provided funding for the first grade to purchase a chicken incubator and related materials.

From an LCS Parent:

"My daughter and her classmates learned about and witnessed the entire process of hatching eggs. They learned how an egg is formed and what its different parts and functions are and how a chick embryo develops and hatches. Having the incubator in the classroom brought life and relevance to what they were learning about. My daughter was really enthusiastic and excited to go to school every day and check on the progress of the eggs. Caring for and watching the chicks grow was a very enriching experience! Thank you Friends of LCS."

Projects Funded in 2012 - 2013

Gymnastics equipment

We funded the purchase of new gymnastics equipment including a balance beam, spring board, tumbling aid, incline mat, octagonal trainer, and tumbling mats.

From the PE teacher:

"The new equipment has allowed me to better differentiate instruction from students who are just being introduced to gymnastics to those students who have advanced skills and want to expand their skill set. In addition, I was able to expand my curriculum and increase the type of movements that could be taught. As a teacher, I was excited to explore new movements and had the flexibility to expand my own teaching practices and learning. Furthermore, the new equipment allowed me to explore new methods of running my classroom because I had such a variety of movements to teach and could teach multiple skill progressions without helping every student individually. Students could use the equipment to explore a movement with little to no assistance once they learned how to use it safely. In addition to all LCS students using the equipment during the day, we will be able to offer after school gymnastics now that we have high-quality equipment on site."

Musical Instruments

We funded the purchase of an 88 key-weighted keyboard with pedals and bench for use in the music program and the annual 5/6 play.

From the music teacher:

"Students were accompanied by the keyboard for the spring performance of "Much Ado about Nothing." Students have also used the keyboard for piano duets and improvisation. The keyboard was used with all fifth and sixth graders through the play rehearsals and band students have been accompanied by the instrument while learning music about the Harlem Renaissance. The community as a whole got to hear the keyboard as part of the 5/6 play. It has made music easier to transport and therefore more accessible to classrooms and for special school functions. In the years before we had the keyboard, we would borrow one and always get it at the last minute before the performance. It was always difficult to learn the programming required in time for the show. With the new instrument, we could begin planning for exactly what the show would sound like in the months before, rather than days!"

Cross Country Skiing at Rikerts

We provided funding so that each class can take two trips per year to ski at the Rikert Nordic Center.

From LCS:

"The second graders had an incredible experience at Rikerts this year. It was the first time 90% of the second grade students had gone cross-country skiing. By the end of the first day, many of the kids were flying down the hill (successfully)!"

"The second day was icing on the cake. Students got to ski in the woods, and their self-confidence soared. Every single child learned something at Rikerts. How to ski, how to be patient and persevere, and how to help a friend. These two days at Rikerts were memorable! The kids really enjoyed the snow and ski tips from the instructors. First graders who had never been on skis were successful by the end of first day!"

"Rikert provides an opportunity for classes of students and their teachers to experience an inclusive winter sport together. It is largely a collaborative effort—not a competitive one—and it allows for students to support one another as they learn something new or take responsible risks to extend their expertise. Students and teachers return regularly from Rikerts exhilarated by being outdoors for a few hours, working together, and pushing themselves in a sport."

"X-country skiing is becoming part of our schools culture. Students have a growing comfort level with the sport and with heading out into what many of them perceive as the wild and snowy unknown. It is never obvious who is going to pick up the sport easily or especially like it. In that way, x-country skiing has been a great equalizer among peer groups."

Flynn Theater Field Trips

We provide transportation to and admission for Flynn Theater performances.

The 5-6 students provided written feedback about a performance they attended. A combined performance of the VSO and visionary vaudevillian and internationally acclaimed theater artist Tomas Kubinek. Asking students to reflect on their experience enriches the experience and their ability to transfer their observations to their own lives and performances. Here is a sampling of their observations:

  • It made me think about how much we can be funny sometimes.
  • Made me feel like I was at a circus.
  • It stood out because the magician said he could do stuff that sounded impossible and ridiculous, but he did it.
  • I liked the opening act where he ballooned a cup of juice and did somersaults.
  • Noticed that people in the performance spoke loudly.

From a 5/6 Teacher:

"Students had an opportunity to experience talented young musicians and be entertained by a wonderful performer. We’re currently preparing to present Much Ado about Nothing and the students saw a fine example of physical comedy."

From the kindergarten teacher:

"In the play If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, students had a chance to see stories they heard in class come to life on the stage. We read 7 books before going to the play and discussed them in detail. Everyone enjoyed the anticipation of wondering which parts of the stories would be present in the play. The experience really made the literature come to life. The children really enjoyed revisiting the stories that were in the play. We had the books in our classroom for 2 weeks after attending the Flynn and children were always going back to reread them. I don't think these books would have been read as much if it had not been for the play. Also, the choice of stories was fabulous! They are all very different stories and each one is a great piece of children's literature."

Theater Lighting

We funded the purchase of additional lights for the theatrical lighting setup in the multi purpose room.

From the 5/6 classroom:

This completed our theatrical lighting system that has allowed students to program and run the lights for our 5/6 performances these past two years. This year, two students ran the lights for the 5/6 performance of Much Ado About Nothing, and another student learned to run the lights as an apprentice. A sixth grader who ran lights for last year's performance, took charge of passing his skills along to these three apprentices. Each of these students rose to the occasion beautifully and felt the satisfaction of an important job well done. Now that students run lights for our shows, students feel an even broader sense of responsibility for our performances.

Theater Artists

We funded two guest Artists in Residence. Puppeteer Peg Jarvis and choreographer Joe Schine worked with students as part of our 5/6 performance of Much Ado About Nothing.

From the 5/6 classroom:

Students loved working with both of them! These two artists provided new opportunities for students to take part in our annual performance.

Peg worked with a group of four puppeteers who learned about the Punch & Judy tradition, conceived of a way to integrate puppet vignettes between acts in our play, created their own puppet characters and, finally, learned how to manipulate their puppets and create a distinctive voice and personality for them.

Joe choreographed two dance pieces that bridged Renaissance and hip- hop tradition, collaborated to develop music for the piece, and taught the dances to the ten or so 5/6 students who expressed interest in this aspect of our performance.

Every single student who participated in one of these experiences expressed a positive connection to their guest artist and had a chance to shine onstage.

Likewise, the students who did not participate as puppeteers or dancers enjoyed the results of both aspects of our performance and likewise learned more about this particular art form.

Cultural Study

We provided funding for the annual month long cultural study. This included bringing an Indian educator, Vijaya, to LCS to share her culture and funding for supplies for the craft and cooking workshops.

From the K -4 classrooms:

Students built an awareness of the geography and culture of India during this study. They were able to build a quiet respectful relationship with Vijaya during classroom discussions that combined art, philosophy, understanding another way of life, and even a bit of science. In doing this, they were able to reflect on what makes our culture unique.

Students were asked to reflect on information learned in individual workshops and discussions with Vijaya and synthesized that new learning with additional information introduced in classrooms during literacy and theme. Students asked many questions and exhibited the use of many habits of mind.

Later in the year we were able to refer to the India study to better understand geography and our history. For example, when learning about the impact of European settlers on the Native American tribes we referred to Columbus and his desire to find a route to India.

Guest teachers have a powerful impact on students. These are people who come to our community to share a gift and our students hold this gift dear.

Parents made many comments about the new learning their children were sharing with them at home. Parents and community members enjoyed the opportunity to come into the school and work together with teachers and children. We all have a common experience and understanding, a shared consciousness of another culture.

Library Books

We funded the purchase of ten Playaways for the school library. These are a combination of print and audio books that both very popular and very helpful for students learning to read.

From the school Librarian:

There was an instant buzz in the library! Students were and have continued to be excited about using Playaways. It is satisfying to watch a student borrow both the Playaway and the title in book form at the same time, and without a teacher demanding that they do this. I am hopeful that with the addition of the Playaways, reading instruction has been given a new pathway especially for those students who learn to read best while both listening to the text and reading the text. It is always fun to have a different and new type of resource to offer the community. Students have been both reserving and renewing the Playaways. We have been stringent about checking them out for just two weeks, since many students want to check them out.

After School Program

We provided funding for outdoor educator Mo Bissonnette to teach at the After School Program.

From the LCS principal:

Mo worked with students weekly at ASP starting mid-winter.

Some of the outdoor adventures children experienced and skills they gained included:

  • climbing up and down hills with ropes in different conditions;
  • safely crossing the river;
  • making rafts with knotweed and racing them;
  • playing survival to figure out what they needed to do to survive for the next 24 hours (gather and boil water, make shelters, make containers); tracking;
  • foraging for wild foods.

Through the above activities, students learned to persevere in unfamiliar situations. Each student met challenges at their own level and developed confidence in doing so. There is a core group of diverse students who attend the after school program. Mo’s program included challenges and group games designed to foster a sense of community among the group. Some of the activities required students who have difficulty working together to find their commonality in working towards authentic goals.

Computers for 5/6 classroom

We provided funding to purchase four new laptop computers for the 5/6 computer lab.

From a 5/6 teacher:

This grant completed the 5/6 computer lab, and allowed us to have a dedicated computer for each student on our 5/6 team. In this way, each student had access to his or her own computer throughout every school day. This lab situation provided us with a huge amount of flexibility in terms of computer projects. We were able to readily incorporate technology into any period of the school day, and we did that. Computers were integrated during science, social studies, writing, reading, study hall and math time. Likewise, this grant meant that the K-4 classes had greater access to the school computer lab where was previously shared with the entire K-6 population. Thus, everyone in the school had more opportunities to integrate technology into their curriculum.

Document Cameras for Library and Tech Lab

We provided funding to purchase two document cameras for use in the library and technology lab:

From the LCS librarian:

We now have a much more 21st century library and tech lab, which allow students to access media in the two public tech centers of our school—the library and the tech lab. We have the capability to project a wide variety of text and images. These originate from either laptop or a document camera. Previously, when we needed to share something from a computer or an existing book, we all needed to gather around a computer or a small book. Or we moved the cart with laptop and doc camera to the location needed. This has changed! Having both spaces fully equipped allows for more easily presenting planned lessons and spontaneous ones.

Technology Grant

Towards the end of the school year we funded a major technology initiative that brings digital cameras and interactive whiteboards to classrooms lacking them. We also purchased Ipads for shared use throughout the school. This technology is being installed and integrated in the classrooms for the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year. We will have more to report on this initiative in the near future.

Scholarship Fund

We are pleased to provide a standing scholarship fund for LCS field trips. When the additional cost of a field trip presents a financial hardship to a LCS family we are able to provide funding to ensure that all LCS students have the opportunity to fully participate.

Projects Funded in 2011 - 2012

Ten Laptop Computers

The purchase of these ten computers allowed each fifth and sixth grade student to have access to the same computer during all parts of their school day. Students and Teachers are able to use computers across the curriculum, including literacy, social studies, science, mathematics, library studies and technology education. This consistent use of technology resulted in students becoming more facile and confident with computers.

Since the fifth and sixth grade students have access to computers in their classroom, the Tech Lab will be available for the Kindergarten through fourth grade classes to use fully.

One teacher reported that a student had become so swift on the computer that when he showed her how to do something, it was too fast to follow. She asked the student to slow down, and he replied, Donna, you'll have to pay attention.

Interactive SmartBoard for 3rd/4th Grade Classes

We received a Smartboard interactive white board and two laptop computers to support our use of the board.

Students are highly motivated to interact with this new technology. The large format allows us to share and manipulate audio-visual resources, programs and shared documents with a larger group. The touch screen invites students to actively manipulate data and concepts in a way that furthers individual learning and group discussion. During our study of local school houses we located a primary document, Beer's Map, that was central to our research. Working with thirty three young historians, it was a challenge to share this document during discussion. Using the smartboard we were able to model the process of using the web to conduct historical research. We could then view the map in large format. In turn, students could all engage in an informed discovery discussion of this resource. We used the touch screen to mark up the map so as to record our observations and questions. We felt a sense of glee to be able to mark up a primary document! The map, in this digital format, became a place where we shared our process for historical inquiry.

Projectors for the 5/6 Classrooms

This past school year, our classroom received a computer projector that allows us to project any image or document on the computer onto a whiteboard or screen.

We have used the projector for a wide variety of purposes. Students shared their digital stories and viewed video recordings related to our units of study (disability awareness, ecology and theater). We used the projector to present literacy and technology lessons on revision strategies, PhotoStory3, spreadsheets and saving and inserting images. This technology expands our readily accessible options for presenting lessons, sharing student work and expanding what students can do. One day this winter our copier was not functioning, so we used the projector to display a number of student handouts. This helped me see that the technology is also a means to conserve on paper use.

Already, there have been instances when visiting teachers made use of this technology. For example, it was useful in the group writing process during Phoebe Stone's visit. During future open house events, we will have an easy means of sharing examples of students' work and activities.

The students themselves often suggest making use of the projector in the midst of a lesson and then efficiently help with setting it up. We don't currently have a dedicated laptop for that purpose, so one student in particular often takes charge of hooking his assigned laptop to the device.

Stage Lighting for Multi Purpose room.

This past school year, Friends of LCS funded control boards and lighting equipment installed in a protective cage in our multipurpose room. We would also like to extend a BIG thank you to community member, Mark Mulqueen for volunteering his expertise, time, enthusiasm and assistance. Thank you Mark, for supporting this project and making this project possible.

This technology opened up a whole new creative and technical component to our 5/6 program. It gave the students a broader sense of ownership of their performance as well as a feeling of respect for the students who took responsibility for the lights.

The fact that the entire show was run by the fifth and sixth grade students on our own equipment cannot be overstated. In the past, we've had to scramble both for equipment and qualified students to set it up and run the lights. Now that we have our own permanent setup, it's available for any number of purposes and can be readily set up and run by our own students. I foresee students sharing and passing along their lighting skills from one group of students to the next each year.

"One way I've improved my confidence is through theater. Last year I was kind of afraid to get up there and project my words loud and clearly in front of people. I 'm not as afraid to speak out at assembly now, and I like dancing onstage. T his year I also took a big step in theater and technology. I ran the lights, which was exhilarating! I hope to do lighting for Mount Abe, and maybe when I get into college I'll get a degree in lighting for shows at performances and run lights at the Flynn Theater. As you can see, the technical skills I learned here can affect my professional life. I look forward to running the lights at Mount Abe and becoming a part of the big school."

Box Out Bullying Presentations

This project consisted of one student presentation, one staff presentation, one parent presentation and 2 workshops for each class. The presentations were aimed at educating students about what bullying is; what empathy is; the role of the bystander in addressing bullying; and emphasizing the importance of finding an adult when bullying occurs. The class room based workshops facilitated discussions on what was happening here at school between peers and how to address the challenges peers are experiencing. One of the 3rd/4th grade classrooms used their workshop to dive into a deep revealing conversation about their experiences with each other as friends and classmates. Students took turns disclosing their specific difficulties they encountered, including acknowledging that they were not always kind to peers, and that it was difficult to stand up to their friends. The tone in the room was remarkably open, honest and caring. The students showed their willingness to take risks with one another in the name of creating a safe community.

Flynn Theater Trips

We received funding for each class to attend one performance at the Flynn Theater in Burlington. This included transportation.

The K-1 classes saw Duck for President, a musical that combined five books into one play. Grades 2-4 attended The Spirit of Uganda a singing/dance troupe of twenty-two 11-22 year olds from Uganda. The 5-6 classes attended a performance of the AXIS dance company and participated in a companion workshop with members of the company at LCS.

Given the variety of performances and the total number of students attending (about 120), the impact, of course, varied. As noted below, for some students this was their first time (and for others a rare occurrence) attending a professional performance in a full-scale theater. So many aspects of this affect students: the grandeur of the theater, the lighting, the sound; seeing professional actors, musicians, and dancers live; being able to more easily understand performance as a vital part of all cultures and performance as profession.

    "...when the lights dim and the production begins, it captivates and excites all ages and especially those who have never experienced a play or production." Tiffany Dennison, first grade teacher

    " was one of the most engaging and dynamic matinees I have seen at the Flynn." Patty Schoenhuber, second grade teacher

Most of our 5-6 students have limited experiences with people with disabilities. After the AXIS Dance Company workshop and performance, one student summed up the perspective of many: I had no idea people in wheelchairs could pop wheelies! They could do so much!

While popping a wheelie may seem like an odd detail on which to focus, to me it indicated an increased inclination to see someone who may appear outwardly quite different as enjoying the same things that an 11-year old might. Humanizing.

Cultural Study for K-4

The students embraced the learning that was happening in our school for the month of Februrary! Students were able to ask questions and listen to stories of Ghana from people who had lived there for most of their lives. Information was relevant, current and made so personal by the presence of Rory, Rita and Michael. Students came away with deeper understanding of the culture. I had many parents comment at parent/teacher/student conferences about the huge impact the cultural study had on their child. The multi-age classes, having a chance to talk with people from other countries and immersing ourselves in the culture are just some of the ways that children gain from our study. Many siblings have a chance to connect with their brother or sister at school and go home and share what they have learned with their family. The festival is a wonderful way to involve the Lincoln Community, as well.

Books for Independent Reading for Grades K-2

Providing students with appropriate reading material helps them develop into competent and independent readers. Access to a wide variety of titles at their just right and easy reading levels allows readers to find books that interest them and help them make the progress needed for reading increasingly difficult text. When more students meet the standards in reading, teachers are able to find more resources on the topics that interest their particular age group.

From Deb Eddington: "This is the first year that I have had the opportunity to send small books home for children to read to their parents and siblings. It has been a huge success. One student told me that she read her book 10 times at home to her family. At conference time, many parents commented on the fun they have had seeing their children read the little books they bring home. The enthusiasm shows in the growth the kindergartners are making in their reading skills as well."

Rikert Cross Country Field Trips

Cross-country skiing at Rikert impacts different students in different ways. Some students have never been cross-country skiing before their Rikert trip(s). Many of those students return from the instruction and experience with a sense of accomplishment and perseverance. When they are able to go a second time in one season, or in subsequent years, they are able to build on their initial experience both in terms of skill and confidence.

For more experienced skiers, the trips provide an opportunity to develop their skills with professional skiers and alongside their peers. The Rikert trip allows some athletes to shine in a sport not available at school. Rikert provides an opportunity for a class of students and their teachers to experience an inclusive winter sport together. It is largely a collaborative effort, not a competitive one, and it allows for students to support one another as they learn something new or take responsible risks to extend their expertise. Students and teachers return regularly from Rikert exhilarated by being outdoors for a few hours, working, together, and pushing themselves in a sport.

Phoebe Stone Author Residency

Phoebe Stone is an author and illustrator of childrens' picture books and author of chapter books. Stone visited each classroom and: talked about the process of making a book, coached the students regarding the book that they wanted to make together as a class, and guided them as they wrote the text and created the illustrations. Having a seasoned writer and illustrator be an integral part of this process was valuable. They not only learned from lessons Phoebe had learned, but also learned lessons as they were actually in the process themselves. We often witness our students in a high level engagement, but it was especially fun to see Phoebe Stone so impressed. Classes came together, took a big sigh, and created a beautiful and rich project. Each class wrote and illustrated their own picture book and each one is fantastic and unique.

Ten new Guitars for Music Program

For the first time in LCS history, all students in grade 3-6 have been given the opportunity to learn an instrument as part of their general music class. This has made music a much more real experience and has given students a hands-on approach to music. It has also given each student the tool with which to practice music literacy.

Many students have taken advantage of their new skills through performances at school assemblies and this gives the rest of the students a broader scope of what music entails both as a subject area and as a skill set.

After struggling with many songs on the recorder, a particular fourth grade student finally clicked on Juba one of the songs in the middle of the book. All of the sudden a child who was previously trying to hide within the sound of the group was asking to play this song with piano accompaniment. She decided to perform for the school at a Friday assembly with piano as well. It was a wonderful way to see the way that learning can be instantaneous and how that can spark the motivation to continue.

Projects Funded in 2010 - 2011

Non-fiction Guided Reading Books

Thank you again for providing LCS with funds to purchase non-fiction guided reading books. We were able to purchase ten sets at a variety of reading levels.

The books we chose are perfect for igniting conversations. Prior to this, many of our non-fiction titles at early reading levels contained information that was already part of the students' background knowledge. Discussing the texts was rather mundane because the information didn't lead students to ask questions or make inferences. Answers to teachers' questions were obvious. However, when a group of second graders read the new book, The Amazing Octopuses, the discussions were interesting and students needed to apply the comprehension skills they were learing in order to understand the author's message. Much of the information in the book was new to them.

Books purchased through the Friends of LCS, combined with the Fieldstone Foundation grant, have allowed teachers to go to the library and find great non-fiction titles at the appropriate level for their readers. With the additional exposure to informational texts, students as young as second grade are able to identify, and explain the purpose for, many of the non-fiction text features. They are on their way to becoming skillful navigators of non-fiction!

Three Document Cameras

The three document cameras and projectors that Friends of LCS helped us purchase have been used throughtout every school day to make learing more interactive. Students are better able to access mathematical, reading and writing instructions as teachers and students can model the work at hand so that the process required is visible to all. Thanks to the document cameras, students are given more opportunities to share their work at different stages, planning, drafting, and final.

In math, students will often be heard saying, "Let me show you..." as they leave their table to approach the document camera. Their fellow students (who could not follow their line of thinking when only verbalized) respond, "Oh, I see how you solved it, " as the image of the student's work is projected live and in color for all to see.

During writing, students can share their drafts and demonstrate the revision process as it happens. This sort of modeling has directly imporved students' ability to apply the same considerations and improvements through their writing. Having a shared visual model that we can color code and make up easily and efficiently has been very powerful.

Ten New Computers

Thanks to the Friends of LCS, we were able to purchase ten new computers. These replaced some of our oldest computers that were unable to do many of the things our students are doing these days, including editing audio and video files. These new computers are fast and capable and take up much less room than the old ones.

Here are two students with video editing running on the new computers.

Cultural Study; Ambassadors from China

Teachers in grades K-4 received funds from Friends of LCS to pay for cultural ambassadors from China. Cultural ambassadors make our cultural investigations and findings real. When children have the opportunity to meet people from different places they remember the human aspect to what we are studying. Students also show real fascination with both the similarities and differences in appearance, language, and mannerisms. Teachers feel that cultural ambassadors keep the teaching honest. The patterns, reflections and conversations that we have as a class can be and are shared with our visitiors. Any generalizations and assumptions are shared during discussion both with the ambassador and once they have left. A personal connection is vital to all our learning. We had the pleasure of hosting two ambassadors this year.

Xun He, a visiting teacher from northern China visited LCS four times. On each visit he presented to the two 3/4 classes and made presentations to the K-2 on two of these visits. He shared photos, customs, architecture and stories with students. One teacher shared, "Xun He entered our room quietly during class meeting. As the student facilitator brought the meeting to a close he looked up and noticed the visitor. With wide eyes and excitement in his voice he said, "The Chinese guy is here!" Xun He turned around and looked expectantly at the door. The student then looked at me and asked, "Does he even speak English?" Xun He responded, "Yes, he does and his name is Xun He."

We also had the pleasure of learning the traditions surrounding tea from John Wetzel from Stone Tea Leaf Tea House. Each class, K-4, participated in a brief ceremony and sipped from beautiful cups.

An important aspect of a cultural exchange is that we are asked to share and become hosts. As a school, we make a common friend, and as a community are asked to be welcoming, open and reflective about how our own cultural milieu impacts our guests.

Thank you Friends of LCS, for supporting this amazing opportunity for learning.

Two Stand-Up Desks

Thanks to the Friends of LCS, a 5th/6th grade classroom received two stand-up desks.

Students keep track of the ten days 'til a switch, they love them. As for impact on student behavior, students stay focused and move more freely as they stand and do work. There is one student that always uses this desk and it allows him to move often while he works. It also is easier for me to give him one-on-one help as I don't have to kneel down, I can lean!! Oh the joys of aging bones.

Believe it or not, the classroom seems quieter and more work oriented.

One student said, "I really like this desk because I can see better, because I am above everybody. It is easier to see the board and take notes."

A Visit from Kidpower Vermont

Laura Slesar from Kidpower Vermont visited LCS on March 25th, 2011. Kidpower is a national organization teaching children social awareness. She gave a workshop in each classroom and educated children about self-confidence, prevention strategies for bullying and learning skills for not taking others' unkind workds into our hearts, replaying negative messages with positive messages to ourselves.

Chart Stand for the Kindergarten

Dear Friends of LCS,

Thank you for the chart stand. We can use it for writing our morning letter. We can draw on it, too. It can be used to hold a big book that we can read to the class. The magnetic letters stay on it for making words. We spelled the words is, it, in and if. We are not sure how we are going to use the tubs, yet as the kindergarteners have lots of ideas. When we do math, the chart stand can turn easily and we can use it for math.

Thank you again for the gift. It was very generous of you to buy it for us.

From, The Kindergarten Class

A Bus ride to hear Natalie Kinsey Warnock Speak

Thanks to the funds from Friends of LCS, third and fourth grade students were able to participate in the opportunity to meet the author, Natalie Kinsey-Warnock, whose work they had been studying. Her lecture allowed students to further deepen their understanding of her work and her artistic process. She is a powerful role-model as Natalie is an active learner who demonstrates many habits of mind in many areas of her life as a writer, artist, naturalist, activist, athlete, historian and family member.

As students walked out of the Natalie Kinsey Warnock lecture they remarked at all they couldn't believe. "I can't believe she has rescued seven dogs!"; "I can't believe that the bear who heard crying is based on her ancestor's story!"; "I can't believe she really skied off a roof like she did in the book!"; "I can't believe she writes 30 drafts of each story she writes!"; "I can't believe she almost biked into the side of a moose!" They also left with a new purpose, to mine their families, as she does, for valuable stories that might otherwise be lost.

Swing Peepers; Artists in Residency

Singer-Songwriter Duo John Hadden and Matt Witten aka The Swing Peepers held a five-day songwriting residency at LCS in April 2011. The residence, "Play to Your Strengths" engaged students in each class in writing a song that enriched their musical capabilities as well as deepended their understanding of a unit of study.

Kindergartners spend the year studying themselves and their relationships to family and community. Here's the chorus from their original song.



I'm growing up and getting stronger

My teeth are falling out and my legs are getting longer

I feel so good, I'm learning a lot

My thinking cap's on

And my brain's getting hot.

The fifth and sixth grades had been studying the Elizabethan Renaissance and Shakespeare. Here's the chorus from their song about the Globe Theater:


I wanna be a star at the Globe

I'll dress up in a funky robe

Shakespeare's in the house

With a code for success

If the groundlings get bored

They'll make a real mess

At the Globe

At the Globe

Sheesham and Lotus

Thanks to the Friends of LCS we enjoyed this talented duo of multi-instrumentalists. They have been dubbed the "New Kings of Old-Time." They arrange and play traditional American music on both traditional instruments and wildly original instruments of thier own creating. They are famous for their lightning fast, highly coordinated, and eventually silly version of hambone. There is also a light-footed step-dance presentation. The whole experience is both enriching and delightful.

Sheesham and Lotus demonstrated and gave brief histories of the fiddle, harmonica, banjo, jaw harp, ham-bone, and clogging. The school community learned "the ham-bone" and then accompanied Shessham and Lotus in a song.


Snowboarding might look easy, but if you have ever tried it, you know it takes a great deal of patience, balance and falling to figure out how to make those graceful S turns down the slope. With the support of Friends of LCS, these 3 students had the opportunity to build and practice skills in frustration tolerance, healthy risk taking and supporting one another while learing to or improving their existing talent at snowboarding. These 2 trips to Sugarbush included individualized lessons provided by Vermont Adaptive Sprots and some time comtemplating how some important learning happens outside of school.