Category Archives: school

Why I Play Violin

In 2009, there was an option offered to students of CK Burns school to play a string instrument in the school orchestra. I don’t remember why I joined, but that decision changed my life. Sometimes I try to imagine what my life would be like if I never joined, but it’s inconceivable. Violin is an integral part of me. Some people who have made a profound impact on me, I met in orchestra or String Camp.

It took many years to make my playing sound like music. I started learning in a class under the instruction of Anne Wilkinson. She got us started on the basics, but it was clear that I wasn’t getting very far. I never practiced, so for two years I progressed very little.

In 2011, my mom got me private lessons with a teacher named Susan LaVerriere. To this day, both Ms. Wilkinson and Susan are my teachers. SinceĀ I started taking lessons, my technique improved rapidly. I owe where I am today to Susan. My lessons are half an hour once a week, and our routine is usually the same: first, the scale I’m working on, then the solo or duet I’m working on and exercises to improve my technique. I don’t remember when it was exactly that I actually started to love playing violin or when I knew I wasn’t going to quit, but it was after I started taking lessons.
Continue reading Why I Play Violin

New School year

I’m in 7th grade now, and I am so happy to see my friend again! My favorite subject is science, like last year. Even though I really miss the Toucan team, I like my new team too.

There were some major changes this year in Saco Middle School. One, I have a new orchestra teacher. Two, the 7th/8th grade get to have iPads, which are really efficient. They reduce clutter, help us keep organized, and it… saves paper!

I’m in chorus this year, but I’m sorta kinda having second thoughts about it because the songs are not all that great. But we’ll see how it turns out.

It’s been about a month since the first day of school, and I am surprised at how quickly it’s passed by. In that one month, I’ve boosted many interests, mostly writing. I’m in the literature magazine club, and after we brainstormed ideas, I’ve been in the writing mood ever since! Now I can’t get away from my iPad, typing away at my new story, called ‘Unreachable.’ It’s a secret until I get it published. So don’t ask.

I know this year will be a great one, because I learned my lesson from last year, procrastinating all the time.

Happy Hanukkah,
Jenna Danler

Homeschool

I think that homeschooling is easy once Dad told us about Richard Dawkins new book, ‘The Magic Of Reality’, because it gave me a lot of questions. Before that, I was clueless with no ideas or big interests. How I like it? Well, I miss friends and all, but I bet I’ll adjust and get used to it. Besides, I still go to art, and strings (Which is so easy I was bored to tears).

I always imagined homeschool like public schools, but at home. Instead, I’m on my own. That’s probably what I’m not used to. Already several people at school that I see when I go to art or strings are very confused when they see that I have a visiter badge.

I’m going to be home schooled until high school. I spend my time with my violin, researching, and reading, and math.

Hayley’s Beach Party

Yesterday Kirsten and I had the opportunity to visit Hayley’s kindergarten class for an end-of-the-year beach party. It was a lot of fun. Mrs. Arnold’s pupils went through their usual morning routine before reading to us a book they’d written and illustrated. Then Mrs. Arnold played for us a slide show that was absolutely wonderful (a tear jerker). She is an extremely talented photographer and was able to capture not only the activities of the students, but their personalities as well.

Kirsten and I feel very fortunate that Hayley had Mrs. Arnold this year. She has great command of her students and exudes compassion for them.

Hayley was Star of the Day
Hayley was Star of the Day
Hayley got to sit in the rocking chair
Hayley got to sit in the rocking chair
Hayley reads her book to Kirsten
Hayley reads her book to Kirsten
The Flying Dog, illustrated by Hayley Danler
The Flying Dog, illustrated by Hayley Danler
The slideshow was phenomenal!
The slideshow was phenomenal!
Hayley's kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Arnold
Hayley's kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Arnold

Jenna’s “Author’s Tea Party”

Today Kirsten and I had the opportunity to visit Jenna and her classmates for an “Author’s Tea Party”. Jenna read to us a non-fiction book and then a book she wrote titled, “All About Wildlife”.

She did a fantastic job writing and illustrating her book. She discussed classes of animals, geology and the environment, dietary requirements, evolution, extinction and predation.

While reading her book she skipped the following sentence so as not to offend her classmates or their parents:

None of anything is made by Mother Nature or God. It’s all called Science.

After each pupil read their book the group was allowed one comment and one question. After one boy read about “little stars” Jenna asked, “How do you know the stars are small unless you’ve seen one up close?” Brilliant question, I thought.

Jenna listened as Miss Holland addressed the audience
Jenna listened as Miss Holland addressed the audience
Jenna read to us a non-fiction book
Jenna read to us a non-fiction book
Jenna read to our group her book, "All About Wildlife"
Jenna read to our group her book, All About Wildlife
Jenna likes the science section best
Jenna likes the science section best
Jenna and Thomas, a past crush
Jenna and Thomas, a past crush
Jenna and her second grade teacher, Miss Holland
Jenna and her second grade teacher, Miss Holland

Arizona

flag_of_arizonaSkye had to build a “float” about Arizona for a school project. At first she wrapped boxes with brown paper, made a banner out of paper and drinking straws, and affixed onto all that a plastic lettuce leaf. I couldn’t watch her flail and fail; she needed help, and I was glad to give it.

We talked about the requirements (flag, banner, six to ten items) and design. She did a lot of research on Arizona and the things that makes it unique and special. She made a list of possible items and revised it several times after I explained why certain items were neither unique nor special (e.g. high pollution).

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A Stupid Culture

I had the pleasure today of having a conference with Skye’s teacher to discuss Skye’s progress. Skye is doing very well. No surprises.

What troubled me about our meeting were a couple of statements made by her teacher.

She doesn’t give more homework because, quite frankly, it wouldn’t get done. The students are too involved with extracurricular activities, video games, and television. She said that for many parents academics takes a back seat to everything else in their children’s busy schedules.

She said her primary responsibility is to work with the pupils who struggle the most. Anything she does to challenge Skye and other bright kids, such as assigning independent work or helping them with advanced concepts, is beyond what is required. She has limited time and resources and is mandated to focus on the kids who need the most help. If it weren’t for her teacher making extra efforts Skye would be left to teach herself or simply go at a much slower pace than she is capable.

Continue reading A Stupid Culture

Art Exhibition

The girls’ artwork is current on exhibition at the Saco Museum. We visited yesterday morning. It was our first time at the museum.

Hayley made a stuffed fish in her art class. It’s isn’t a fish you could filet and eat for dinner. Nor could it swim in the ocean. It’s mostly made of paper. They drew with oil crayons over the paint. With the red crayon Hayley made lipstick. Then they cut out fish shapes, stapled the edges together and stuffed them with newspaper.

Hayley's stuffed fish (with lipstick)
Hayley's stuffed fish (with lipstick)

Continue reading Art Exhibition

Kirsten is a Brainiac!

Kirsten earned a 4.0 GPA this semester. She worked her butt off and deserves some recognition. I am wicked proud of her!!

You go girl. I love you, Kir.

She also aced (100%) every category of the math portion of the Nurse Entrance Test (NET) and earned a composite score on the entire exam that puts her in the 96th percentile of the nation! Hooray!

I think she deserves lunch at Gilbert’s Chowder House, at least. ;)