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Grey Matters, February 9, 2015; Volume 3, Number 22

posted Feb 8, 2015, 5:54 AM by Andrew Shen   [ updated Jul 6, 2015, 6:52 AM by James Marcotte ]

Hi Everyone,

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, my youngest son (aka Bacon Boy) and his classmates were tasked with writing a quick note of appreciation to someone they love. On Friday, he gave me the note, which was addressed to me and focused on how he loves when I read to him.  I appropriately gushed and exclaimed, “you chose me?!” To which he replied quite matter-of-factly, “yes, because your name was the easiest to spell with only three letters, D-A-D.”  The day after this oh-so flattering conversation, I came across an article summarizing a study/poll in England that offered some research on the tendency for younger (or the youngest) siblings to think they are the funniest (whether they actually are is a whole different conversation), and Parker seems to be part of their data set.  I will admit that I’ve never developed any strong opinions about the impact of birth order on the development of personality traits, though I know many of us will often make statements like, “well, she is the oldest, it’s not surprising.”  I did, however, make a point of sending my younger sister this other article about the sibling spillover effect, which posits that the success and efforts of the eldest child is often a contributor to improved performance and achievement by their younger siblings. At last, some real acknowledgement of the struggles and sacrifices we older siblings make for the benefit of our younger brothers and sisters .  

For the second week in a row, I am sending out Grey Matters on a Sunday afternoon because, for the second week in a row, there are question marks about the impact that weather will have on our Monday school plans.  I can see it being a real toss-up, and depending on what actually comes our way and the degree to which plows can keep up with the snowfall over the course of the next day or two.  So stay tuned.  For those looking towards the end of the year, our scheduled last day of school is currently Wednesday, June 24.

8th Grade parents, don’t forget about the Information Session being held at the High School this Wednesday at 7pm (in the HS Auditorium)!  The High School will be presenting an overview of transitioning to the High School, and you’ll have an opportunity to meet representatives from the different departments.  

Tickets are now available for Once on this Island, this year’s school musical!  The musical is a “rousing Calypso-flavored tale of one small girl who finds love in a world of prejudice” and an adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale, The Little Mermaid.  Shows are on the following dates: Friday, February 27th at 7pm; Saturday, February 28th at 2pm and 7pm; Sunday, March 1 at 2pm; and Saturday, March 7 at 2pm and 7pm.  All shows are at RJ Grey’s Dragonfly Theatre.  Tickets are $10 and can purchased in advance at the RJ Grey main office, Donelan’s and Red, White & Brew.  Families who have ABSAF passes can pick up their tickets at the RJ Grey main office. Tickets will also be sold at the door on a space-available basis.  

February Vacation starts at the end of this week, only compounding the feeling that we’ve barely seen each other this month due to snow days and scheduled early releases.  Maybe we should all agree to just come in to school next week and forego the break?  On Friday, we will enter the break by having our annual Blue & Gold Day assembly, which has traditionally served as a celebration of school spirit, and gather as a whole school (which only really happens a few times a year).  Last year’s assembly involved a Hunger Games-themed challenge with teachers battling it out in front of 930 screaming kids, and an anxious principal wondering and worrying what he would write down on any workplace injury forms that might need to be filled out. I am...curious…to see what’s in store this coming Friday.  I am sure we’ll post pictures of the event on our school’s Twitter page.  

For those of you whose kids have already participated in 7th grade Minuteman Tech (one of our Exploratories), they might have shared with you their experiences with designing and building bobsleds.  This has been a core aspect of Brian Crossman’s efforts to introduce some basics of the engineering design process, and was recently featured on the TeamUSA Bobsled website.  Check out the article by clicking here, and get a glimpse of something happening at our school.  

This year, Chinese New Year starts during the February Vacation (around February 19), so I wanted to wish everyone who celebrates the event (and even those who don’t), a happy and festive new year as we enter the Year of the Goat.  Perhaps some of you might want to use the new year as an opportunity to travel into Chinatown and eat some dim sum.  For those not entirely familiar with dim sum, I have a couple of resources for you.  First, there is a picture book (Dim Sum for Everyone!) that I actually read to my kids for a number of years to get them hyped for one of my favorite activities.  Then, you can use this Boston Magazine article or posting on Buzzfeed to get a sense of options that might appeal to you and your palette.  

Finally, we had another Poetry Friday moment at the end of last week.  With the hopes of transporting everyone, albeit briefly, to a peaceful summer location on one’s favorite shoreline, Mr. Malloy chose to read William Butler Yeats’ “The Lake Isle of Innisfree”.  As Mr. Malloy noted in his introduction, the speaker of the poem finds himself on the grey pavements of a city and dreams of breaking away and going to the island of Innsifree which is an uninhabited island in the northwestern part of Ireland.  Click here if you’d like to read the poem.  

Have a great week, everyone, and a wonderful February Vacation.  Send me a postcard if you’re going some place warm.