Monday, August 29, 2016

It’s Odyssey of the Mind Time Again!

Students in grades 4, 5, & 6 will soon be gearing up for our 16th year of Odyssey of the Mind, a national problem solving contest that challenges kids to work together to solve a long term problem. I will be visiting classrooms over the next couple of weeks to explain the program and share this year's problems. We are now looking for coaches to work with teams of up to 7 students each. Teams generally meet once a week after school throughout the year to work on one of the long term problems listed below. There is a state competition in March where solutions to the problems are presented and judged. Training & support is provided for coaches. We’d love to have you join us as a parent volunteer or a student team member. Please call or email me  if you'd like to talk about the program. You can also find lots of information on Odyssey of the Mind’s website

Problem 1: Catch Us If You Can Design, build, and run vehicles from a multi-level Parking Garage to a secret meeting place without being stopped. Vehicles will travel different routes to reach the same destination. During their Odyssey, the vehicles will do something that prevents them from being followed. The performance will include the reason for the meeting, someone that wants to prevent the meeting, a simulation of a scene taking place inside a vehicle as it travels, and a soundtrack to accompany the vehicles’ travel.

Problem 2: Odd-a-Bot Create a humorous story about a family that brings home an “Odd-a-Bot.” Instead of being programmed to perform tasks, this Odd-a-Bot robot learns from watching others. Teams will design, build, and operate an original robot that demonstrates human characteristics when performing tasks. In the performance, the Odd-a-Bot will move and learn human actions from watching characters perform activities such as household chores, creating art, and dancing. The Odd-a-Bot learns more than it was expected to learn, and will confuse its actions with humorous results.

Problem 3: Classics... It's Time, OMER The future and the past collide in this problem about important works of art – both existing and yet-to-be-created. Teams will create and present an original performance about time travelers looking to discover the inspiration for great works of art, little did they know – it was OMER every time! The travelers go back in time — twice into our past and once into our future. They will see OMER inspire two classical artists and a team-created artist from our future. The performance will include how the three works of art positively impact the world, a visual and audible effect that indicates when time travel is occurring, two re-creations of the classic works of art selected from a list, and a team-created work of art.

Problem 4: Ready, Set, Balsa, Build!
Creativity can be defined by using only what you have to get a job done. In this problem, teams will design, build, and test a structure made of only balsa wood and glue that will balance and support as much weight as possible. The structure must include sets of balsa pieces of predetermined sizes and quantities as listed in the problem. Some sets must be parts of the structure while others, if incorporated, will receive additional score - the more sets of pieces used, the higher the score! Teams will present a performance with a theme about using what's available and that incorporates weight-placement and assembling original team creations.

Problem 5: To Be Continued: A Superhero Cliffhanger
Creativity is being taken away from the world, and it is up to Odyssey teams to rescue it! Teams will create and present a humorous performance about an unexpected superhero that encounters three different situations where it must save creativity in some way. The superhero will change appearance when it displays its superpowers and go back to blending in with society when not. The performance will also include a clumsy sidekick, a nemesis character, a choreographed battle, and a cliffhanger ending.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Circus A Grand Success!!

Many thanks to Troy Wunderle for bringing the Big Top Circus to CES!! All last week our K-4 students juggled, balanced, and pedaled with great enthusiasm and increasing success as Troy taught us how to be circus performers. Students worked together to learn how to use some very challenging equipment while persevering and problem solving, planning routines, and having a whole lot of fun. These feats require a high degree of fine motor skills and quick reflexes and the smiles on our students' faces reflected their pride and personal growth. We also thank the Cambridge PTA, Vermont Arts Council, Ben & Jerry's, High Mowing Seeds, The Vermont Community Foundation, Concept 2, and the Ronald McDonald House Charities for making this residency possible!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Circus Comes to CES!

The Circus Comes to CES!

Students in kindergarten through grade 4 have an exciting opportunity to work with Troy Wunderle of Wunderle’s Big Top this year. Troy will kick off a circus residency on Monday, November 23 with workshops for each classroom and then continue the fun and learning the week of January 19 - 21. Troy calls his residency, “ an interactive circus adventure.” He is a world class coach who also works for Circus Smirkus. Troy will direct us through the ancient art forms of juggling, plate spinning, feather balancing, hula hooping, feather balancing, jump roping, pogo sticking, unicycling, rolling globe walking, rolla bolla balancing, clowning and stilt dancing. These skills improve balance, reflexes and fine motor skills while promoting a healthy, active lifestyle. Additionally, they emphasize collaboration, goal setting, perseverance, cooperation, and personal growth. Students will also be experiencing integrated projects in music, art and enrichment to extend the circus theme.

We thank the Cambridge PTA, Vermont Arts Council, Ben & Jerry’s, High Mowing Seeds, The Vermont Community Foundation, Concept 2, and Ronald McDonald House Charities for making this residency possible. Please contact Ellen Koier at school if you would like to learn more about our circus residency or find ways that you can help us out.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Here is an interesting opportunity for parents. I have gone to SENG trainings in the past and found them very valuable. 

2015 Adult Gifted Series webinarsSENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted) offers 90-minute webinars designed for parents, educators and mental health professionals who work with gifted children. Upcoming webinars are on October 6th, November 10th, and December 17th.

I found this in the Vermont Council for Gifted Education (VCGE) newsletter - lots of other good information too. VCGE Newsletter

Monday, September 14, 2015

Odyssey of the Mind

A reminder that Odyssey of the Mind permission slips are due Tuesday, Sept 15th. It's fine if you want to just email me at to give your child permission to participate.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Welcome to my first attempt in the blogging world! This blog is a work in progress that I will update throughout the year. I'll post general announcements on the home page as well as on the individual pages. I welcome your feedback anytime!