Thursday, November 12, 2015

Green Mountain Farm to School Conference

      Last Wednesday, November 4, Land Stewardship staff attended the second annual Farm to School Conference hosted by Green Mountain Farm to School. The event fittingly took place at Sterling College in Craftsbury, VT, where over 70% of the school's food is procured from local, sustainable, fair trade, and humane sources via Real Food Challenge calculator guidelines. Workshops were held in the morning and included Using School Gardens as Outdoor Classrooms, in which participants were given hands-on ideas for school garden curriculum including garlic planting, bug observation, garden yoga, and the some-what challenging task of making a seed pot out of newspaper (apparently kids generally have an easier time making them than adults). Another workshop, Agriculture for Every Season, had tips on carrying land based curriculum into the winter months and included some tasty samples and butter making using a mason jar, heavy cream, and a popsicle stick. The end of the conference allowed for break out sessions, one of which focused on creating a Farm to School community of practice. Communities of practice can be defined as "groups of people who share an interest or passion for something they do and interact regularly to learn how to do it better". Laraway Land Stewardship staff are excited to be a part of the Farm to School community of practice and are looking forward to staying connected with the movement.  We are also bursting with ideas from just one day of meeting so many inspiring people and getting lots of fun Farm to School curriculum! 

Article by Ginny Cooke, Land Stewardship Americorps VISTA. Logo and photo from Green Mountain Farm to School website. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Kryptonite Soup anyone? LaraCon comes to Laraway

     Twas a few days before Halloween.  Laraway School students and staff we decked out in costumes, with more than a few Super Heroes represented.  Stations were set and ready with art and learning activities.  Cafeteria staff were busy preparing a special LaraCon menu of Kryptonite Soup, Batman Burgers and Cat Woman Carrots. There were spidery Spiderman Cookies, too. Costumed administrative staff were ready to dish out candy to a Halloween Parade of Trick-or-Treaters.
     "LaraCon is a celebration to raise awareness of, and appreciation for, comics and related popular art forms," said Jenn LeBlanc who coordinated the event.  "It's a way to celebrate the historic and ongoing contribution of comics to art and culture."
     LeBlanc worked with fellow teachers to design LaraCon after similar, larger events held around the globe.   Atlanta has MomoCon.  Connecticut has ConnectiCon.  Massachusetts has Anime Boston.  Houston has Delta H Con.  Rhode Island has Rhody Con.  Laraway School now has LaraCon!
     Vermont-based, best-selling author Kane Gilmour ( and highly-regarded illustrator Matthew Sylvester ( took time out to participate in the event.  Kane wowed everyone with his engaging talk  about creating comics inspired by established literature.  Sylvester put pen to paper, creating sketches of the kids and signing his mini-masterpieces.
Matthew Cameron donated over 150 comic books for our students and Dale Rock facilitated the donation.  
     Linking learning activities to fun is a great way to engage young people in learning.  Many hands came together to create a special and wonderful day for our students.
     "This should happen every year!!" one of our students said.  Yes, it should happen every year.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Jason Chin to visit Laraway School

     Awarding-winning children's author and illustrator Jason Chin will meet with Laraway School students on Friday, November 6th.  His latest book, Water is Water, is about the water cycle.  His earlier books, Gravity and Island: A Story of the Galapagos, were designated, respectively, as 2014 and 2013 Gryphon Honor Books by the Center for Children's Books.
     Chin's visit to Laraway School will include reading to students, talking with them about his writing process, and real-time illustration.  The event will conclude with a book giveaway.  Each student who attends will receive a brand new book to take home.
     Laraway is a recipient of a Children's Literacy Foundation (CLiF) Year of the Book Grant.  Chin's visit is one in a series of literacy activities planned for the 2015-16 school year.  We are very excited about this partnership with CLiF.  For more information on CliF, please visit  To learn more about Jason Chin, please visit