King o’ the Cats

Storytelling shenanigans continue with our extraordinary START volunteers!  We explored stories behind our own names, played a giant Mad Libs game to remind ourselves of the importance of creative and careful word choices in our storytelling, and then worked as a team to act out various parts of an old English fairy tale called “King o’ the Cats”.  MEOW!

Romance Points

So the followup on today’s history lesson on Shays’ Rebellion and other events leading up to the writing of the Constitution was to “pretend that you are George Washington. You must leave Mount Vernon and go to Philadelphia. Write about what you will miss.”

All of the letters were wonderful, but these three by third grade young men who shall remain nameless (except to say that Margaret, Alyssa, and Julie owe their husbands big time romance points for their outstanding modeling) left Mrs. Shedd and me in stitches all afternoon.

July 2, 1787

Dear Wife,

I am leaving Mount Vernon.  I will miss you and the children.  I will stay safe, and the Lord will give me strength.  You will always be in my heart.




Dear Martha,

I am leaving Mount Vernon to help my country.  I will miss the comfort of home.  You I will miss the most.  And the wonderful food.  The pets.  My children.  Everything!  I am praying for the trip that God will serve me well.


George Washington


Dear Martha,

I will miss sitting on the couch working and hugging you.  I bet my bed at home is much more comfortable than the beds in Philadelphia will be.  I will miss you.  I promise I will keep writing letters to you, Dear.



Sneak Preview of Corps of Discovery Day 2017

Curious and courageous explorers heading into the unknown!

Our host park ranger, Karen Hoey, of the Army Corps of Engineers,

taught all about New England animals.

Tree expert Ken Desmarais, of the White Mountain National Forest Rangers,

shared so much tree knowledge with us.

We loved experimenting with our own photography of the “wilderness”

with IT specialist, Chris Hunewell.

Can you believe even our lunch had a Lewis and Clark theme?  Mr. Huebner loves hunting, and he not only taught us about food on the trail, but he rustled up some Corps of Discovery lunch including squash, potatoes, venison, squirrel, and BEAVER!

Music teacher, Mrs. Brown, led worship at the falls.  Some chose painting, some writing, and some music as they enjoyed their own personal waterfall location.

Camp expert, Ginny Clasby, led an archery workshop which included Buffalo Archery Tag.  We had never seen anything like that before–hilarious!

Sacagawea guided us through our day.

Thank You, Lord, for the most marvelous day of learning imaginable!

START Storytelling Takes Off on Dragons’ Wings

Our delightful START volunteers grabbed us immediately with their dragon tale, and we freshened our understanding of story elements such as plot, mood, character, and setting through a variety of engaging activities.  The whole session was full of laughter . . . and frightful moments . . . and heartbreaking loss of ice cream . . . . and joyful dragon feasts . . . and so much more.  We can’t wait for our next storytelling escapade!

Introducing our Fall START Volunteers!

Have you heard?  It’s time for START to begin!  We welcome our totally awesome Dartmouth students once again, as they infuse our curriculum goals with the arts in their own unique way.  They will be visiting every Tuesday for six weeks starting October 3rd.  The third graders will be jumping for joy to see Autumn from our Animals session is back, and some of our older students will be so excited to catch a glimpse of Emily in the hall after her session with them on Engineering.  Welcome!  We can’t wait to learn with you!

START volunteers Emily, Halley, and Autumn, with Dartmouth HOP Center Outreach Coordinator, the inspiring Mary Gaetz

***Welcome back, Emily!  Emily is a senior government major, French and Chinese minor.  She just spent five months in China and is planning to move back there after graduation to do a year of research.  She is in love with the moon, everything about the moon.  One thing she finds fascinating is that while the stars are different depending on where you are on the globe, the moon is the same.  Ask her for some lunar facts!

***Halley is studying English and education.  She is a senior from Arkansas.  She especially enjoys travel, and when she was growing up, dancing was one of her passions.  Ask her for a little tap dance demo!

***Autumn is a junior psychology major, and she especially loves running, running, running.  She was in 4-H growing up, and she was excited to hear that not only do we know about 4-H around here, but some members of our class have their own farm animals and know about showing.  She had horses and goats in 4-H, and she is from Virginia.  She has just returned from several months studying in India, and she hopes you will ask all about it!

***Don’t forget our wonderful leader, Mary Gaetz!  Mary is the outreach coordinator at the Hopkins Center.  She studied theater, brings lots of children’s theater to the area, and directs plays in the community as well.  She has a husband and two cats, and she grew up in Kansas.