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Vineyard Gazette
Edgartown, Massachusetts
April 23, 2010     Vineyard Gazette
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April 23, 2010

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FRIDAY, APRIL 23, 2010 VINEYARD GAZETTE, MARTHA'S VINEYARD, MASS. THREE GIVING CHILDREN CHOICES ALLOWS THEM TO MAKE A PERSONAL INVESTMENT IN EDUCATION. Ms. Smith, Teacher of the Year Nominee "What's the word for color?" Kindergarten and first grade teacher Robin Smith dove head first into her class Spanish lesson at the Chilmark School on a recent Wednesday morn- ing last week, despite not knowing the language. Parent and volunteer Anja May stepped in with the translation, sending Ms. Smith back to her task with the kids. It's not standard on the Island for the lowest elementary school grades to learn a foreign language, but Ms. Smith herself is far from standard, and her study of child development has taught her that young minds often find it easier to grasp new concepts like languages. Better to start them early, and let interactive play activi- ties supplement the instruction, she reasons. It's this kind of dedication to the field of education and early learn- ing that recently earned Ms. Smith a prestigious nomination for Teacher of the Year, an award granted annu- ally by the Massachusetts Department of Education. And though she didn't make the final cut, she said she was just delighted that her coworkers and community felt that she qualified for the title in the first place. Please Adopt Us Last week was a very special week at the Animal Shelter of Martha's Vine- yard. Two wonderful dogs were adopted, the sweet bunny was adopted and the By MEGAN DOOLEY She received her nomination packet -- including a I4-page application document -- last fall. The Department of Education was stamped as the re- turn address. "I was like, oh my gosh! Did I lapse one of my certifications?" she laughed as she recalled fearing the worst. But as she tore open the pack- age and read through its contents, her anxiety turned to gratitude."I felt very prestigious about it," she said. Ms. Smith has been teaching for 30 years -- 20 of them at the Chil- mark School. She's seen the face of education change over the past three decades, and filling out the detailed application brought her own evolution flooding back to her. "I spent many hours agonizing over these questions," she joked, flipping through the application during a brief respite from morning teaching. "It was really a fabulous opportunity to reflect on the trends in education." Despite the trends, Ms. Smith's dedi- cation and philosophy have remained mostly constant. She approaches each child as an individual learner, and considers choice to be the most im- portant ingredient in a well-rounded education. "Every child can learn," she said, but a,m: to' t p.:, lmrsdays and Fridays 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The telephone number is 508-627-8662. If you have an animal that you want to give up for adoption, please call Lisa and make arrangements to bring the animal in. Please do not drop off any animal without someone being at the shelter to check them in! We need volunteers, especially now that summer and the tourists will be ar- riving and the shelter will be very busy. Call Lisa Hayes to get on the volunteer list. She will be glad to answer any ques- tions you may have. she believes giving children choices in what they learn and how they learn it sparks a more personal investment in the material. "They become lifelong learners if they are given the choice," she said. Her techniques are evident in her colorful classroom, decorated floor to ceiling with vibrant art projects, educa- tional posters and task charts.The room is divided into what she calls learn- ing centers, which promote hands-on learning activities that center around a guiding theme. Right now, the subject is farming. In an alcove against a back wall, there is a station with worksheets relating to mathematics and vocabu- lary, and a chart for each student to mark as they complete a series of as- siguments. This is where choice comes in. Students are expected to do the work, but allowed to choose their pace; they may start with their favorites or get the tougher stuff out of the way first. And because each assignment is disguised as an activity or game, the children are eager to dive in. ROBIN SMITH'S STUDENTS ARE TREATED AS INDIVIDUAL LEARNERS. Ms. Smith, always there if they need her, also touts the importance of giving the students freedom. "We guide their play," she said of herself and her fellow teacher for 20 years, Eleanor Neubert. "I believe that the teacher should truly be the facilita- tor, and the children should lead." Ms. Smith and Ms. Neubert have an easy camaraderie that seems only at- tainable after years of working side by side. "We're like an old married couple. We finish each other's sentences," said Ms. Smith. It's a kind of relationship easily fostered in an environment like Benefit to Send Island Actors to Scotland two kittens have an "adoption pending" sign on their cage. But check with us at the shelter because sometimes people change their minds and the kittens may not be adopted. They are the cutest things, very playful and love people. The other animals have been at the shelter for awhile and really do need to find homes. They are: Dixie, the striking orange, white and black calico; Phoebe, the big orange and white cat; Binx, the black cat with long white whiskers; and Cyrus, the big black fellow who loves people and follows everyone around looking for treats. All the adoptable animals are either neutered o spayed and have had all their shots. Shelter hours are Wednesdays 8:30 Lobster Rolls at Grace Church in Vineyard Haven EVERY FRIDAY 4:30-7:30 PM BEGINNING t MAY 7 th - OCT. lS i VINEYARD GAZETI'E (US 659-940) Published weekly on Friday, from October through May; pubfished semi- weekly on Tuesday and Friday from June through September. Office at 34 South Summer Street, Edgartown, Mass. 02539 (Tel. 508-627- 4311; FAX 508-627-7444). Periodicals postage paid at Edgartown, Mass. 02539. E-mail: POSTMASTER: Send address changes to VINEYARD GAZETTE, P.O. Box 66, Edgartown, MA 02539. This newspaper does not assume re- sponsibility for errors in advertisements printed herein, but will print-without charge that part of any advertisement in which an error occurs. redeemable year-round; two seats at a.Red Sox game; two, seats ,for ithe entire 2010 season at the .Yard;' and two seats for dinner at Alchemy= Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish will round out the evening, taking over proceedings at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30 at the door, or in advance at the Bunch of Grapes, Our Market and at Vineyard Complementary Medicine. For details, call 914-830-9288. Bravncore is hosting Seats for Scotland, a gala dinner at the Harbor View Hotel in Edgartown on Thu- day, April 29, in an effort to raise money for the travel expenses of the 17 Martha's Vineyard Regional High School students invited to represent their country in Edinburgh this Au- gust, at the 2010 Fringe Festival, the largest theatre festival in the world. The menu includes endless appe- tizers and a pasta bar. The evening's excitement begins at 6 p.m., with bagpipes and a silent auction. A live auction follows at 7 p.m. Both auc- tions place an emphasis on seating: among the items to be won are two seats on a round-trip Cape Air flight, iive Blood: Save Lives JESS NOWS THE KEY TO A OOD BANK IS GREAT RVICE Now that 3esse has made the switch to artha's Vineyard Savings Bank, he's got at[ the tools and professional expertise to hetp him prepare for a great financia[ He also has access to the latest technology services like 24 hour tetephone and online banking, eStatements, and ontine bit[ pay to make[ire more efficient. With our hetp 3esse witt be making keys for many years to come. , Martha's V'meyard : S AV I N G S B A N K Member FDIC MemberDIF Pictures by Peter Simon Banking that's Vineyard Sound 508.627.4266 _ M LENDER the Chilmark School, which operates under a strong sense of cooperation and consideration. And that's another one of the things that makes her job such a pleasure, Ms. Smith said. "It's a true sense of community and family here," she said. Multi-age classrooms largely elimi- nate feelings of personal failing among students, who span many levels of ability and understanding within the classroom setting. "It eliminates the pressure on the kids," Ms. Smith said. Older children are quick to lend a hand to younger ones, and vice versa. "Every one of us is a teacher," said Ms. Smith. She doesn't take it lightly that after all this time, her job just doesn't feel much like work at the end of the day. "I'm blessed every single day to come O, work, after 30 years of teaching," lae" Said. .......... RE - ELECT TRISTAN ISRAEL FOR TISBURY SELECTMAN AT CHILMARK SCHOOL, PLAYTIME DOES NOT MEAN DOWNTIME. Family Planning of Martha's Vineyard Rapid Results! FREE Rapid HIV Screening Mon/Wed, 4:30 - 6:30 517 State Road, Vineyard Haven (508) 693-1208 Mon-Thurs 9-4:30 Paid for by Friends of Famil Planning of MV, Inc 82 NORTH WATER STREET This classic Edgartown home is in good original condition and lies rocked away in an in-town location. The home features tall ceilings, undisturbed period millwork and six fireplaces. There are six bedrooms and four baths. There is a gracious first floor layout consisting of a parlor, office, living room, dining room, and an old fashioned pantry and kitchen. Beautiful gardens and mature trees surround this wonderful property. Exclusively offered at $3,950,000. ,, i"i!i;ii ,!r:i:!! : i :I It111"1]I1q11:|11111111 ........ _ ........ t)111  .... ':