Laissez les bon temps roulez!       

 

Are you ready for the greatest FUNdraiser of the year? We hope you will join us at Dogtown Roadhouse on February 6th from 6:00 pm to midnight for great music, great food, and great friends at the 7th Annual Tom Ryan Memorial Floyd Mardi Gras Costume Ball. Let the good times roll!

 

Stay tuned to your email and our Facebook group for more information and pictures.



Direction
Shelly Emmett
Shelly Emmett
 
Learning Something New

Last Friday during Odyssey of the Mind, our students worked on building individual bridges that ended up connecting with each other and finally took up a whole classroom. It was an amazing feat of engineering and problem solving! The students building the bridges were ages 5-11, and they all worked together on this creation.

The kids also worked on building structures out of straws, q-tips, and other materials, and then worked in teams for an egg drop. Each group created safety gear to protect their precious eggs (which many of them named!) during a fall from the upstairs deck. 

Seeing our students working in groups spanning such a wide age range, which they normally wouldn't have much opportunity to do during the usual school week, helped me to realize something. When the unexpected happens (like needing to add days to our calendar), there are often unforeseen positives that we wouldn't  have experienced if we'd continued to do what we initially set out to do. Sometimes stepping off course can really help us make new discoveries about ourselves and each other!
 
We are working on developing several options for next school year's calendar. We will be sending those out soon in a survey, so that we can get our school community's feedback. I know that all of us--parents, students, and staff--are determined to develop a calendar that reflects the unique needs and values of our community.


Knights of the Round Trailer
Andy Anderson
Andy Anderson
 
Come to our trailer this week to see a hand-crank generator power a Christmas light-bulb, learn the formula for acceleration, delve into the circle of fifths, and compare Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech to the Gettysburg Address and the Declaration of Independence!

Next week, Lore and I will be taking the Knights on a trip to see their own MLK-inspired artwork at the Perspective Gallery at Squires Student Center in downtown Blacksburg. We'll also enjoy a special lunch to celebrate the Chinese New Year. We'll wrap up the day back in Floyd by cleaning up Christiansburg Pike for Adopt a Highway.

I am also working with all the students on Fridays for Odyssey of the Mind. Our egg drop experiment was a smash success! The objective was to drop an egg from the balcony without cracking it. All of the students succeeded in their mission. The only egg that cracked belonged to me!
 


Black Falcons
Shelly Sherman
Shelly Sherman
 
Eagles are one of the topics of interest in the our class this month. We are currently checking in on a webcam which is focused on an eagles nest in Decorah, Iowa. So far we have seen the eagles working to fix up their nest. We are looking forward to eggs and baby eaglets in the future. If you would like to watch with us here is the website.  

After a month's worth of story writing, we have decided to write our own play! We are creating our own characters, which include an evil witch, an elf, a fairy, a cat and a creature called a copolymer. We are currently working out the plot and dialogue. We hope to be able to perform our play, which is called The Three Woodlems, an Evil Witch and her Normal Cat for anyone who would like to watch. We will let you know when we are ready to go!



Ruby Diamond Dragons
Hari Berzins & Jenni Heartway
Hari Berzins
Jenni Heartway

Hari says...

The Ruby Diamond Dragons are learning about worms!

Each child helped drill holes into our worm bin. 


We painted their home, and then we gently moved the worms into their new digs. Each student created a worm journal to record their scientific questions and observations. The first questions were:

"If you cut a worm in half, will it live?"

"Do worms pee?"

We plan to feed the worms what we used to put in the compost (except for citrus).

Jenni says...

The Role of Mistakes

Helping our students feel safe enough to make mistakes in the classroom is a necessary part of our child-led curriculum. If mistakes are allowed to happen and students have the opportunity to identify and correct them on their own, there is more knowledge gained.
 
Last week, as an invitation to create, we shared poster board with holes and tempera paints with the students. Three students quickly began creating people with the holes as faces. Then they covered the holes and created puppets. And if you create puppets, you need a puppet show!

On the next day, they assured me they were ready to present. The students used a table as a stage and set up a space for the audience.  
It did not go well. The stage fell into audience members, and we heard murmurings of "I'm so embarrassed" as they tried to decide what to say.   

It proved to be a great learning opportunity for our Writers Workshop.  We slid the stage to the side and talked about how plays and puppet shows are created. We talked about the importance of writing our plans down, and we talked about how some really amazing writing can begin with an idea for a great character (just like the characters they already had).

Over the next three days they created more props and backgrounds for their puppet show. They also wrote pages of plans. We talked about stages that would not fall down and giggled over the fact that it had fallen down during the first try. But no one was afraid to try again. They felt safe enough in our space and with their peers to take another risk.  

As teachers, it is essential to create classrooms where risks are okay, and mistakes are opportunities for growth. That is why we share student work that isn't perfect. You won't see identical, perfect art in our hallways. You will see celebrations of growth and experimentation. You will also see great puppet shows!



Rosa Sharks
Stefi Schafer
Stefi Schafer

A lot has happened in the last month. We added a new Shark to our class, and some friends are now here on Thursdays, too. And I returned from my trip to Germany with lots of stories to share.

A lot of friends took trips over the holidays, and so we talked about traveling and distances. Distance is relative in the the Rosa Shark world as evidenced by a friend who stated, "I went a long way to see my friends in Roanoke!" A few miles is as important a journey as flying across the ocean because what's important is who we see when we get there. 

At this age, experiencing distance is similar to passage of time. It may be the beginning of February, but a child is still likely to say, "yesterday on Christmas," or " tomorrow when its summer." We have a calendar in the classroom and talk about it daily. The Rosa Sharks mark the passage of time not by reciting the days of the week but by noting events that are relevant to our lives, concrete examples of past, present and future. Stay-home days, birthdays, Taco-party days, snow-days, sunny days,. Mindful Mondays and Try it Tuesday. All those occasions and many more are on our calendar.

Of course the beginning of a new year is note worthy, but how do you explain it's now 2016 to a 4 year old? Tear off the last page on the calendar and ask "Now where do we write the weather?" The solution: "We need a new CALENDAR!" So, a new year means a new calendar, just like a new month means a new page. Yes, the days of the week, the months and dates are introduced as vocabulary, but thank goodness my crowd is not attached to the implied importance of the numbers on the calendar. Rather we value the happenings of each moment.



Yoga & Physical Education
Sarah McCarthy
Sarah McCarthy
 
Partner Yoga

We have been getting into partner yoga in these indoor winter months. There is definitely something very cool and fun about partner yoga! The kids really enjoy it. Partner yoga develops trust, care for others, and helps students move deeper into the poses, among other things.

During partner yoga, your partner helps you balance, and you help each other stay in the pose. This develops concentration and trust. Helping each other in the poses also help us to practice correct alignment of poses such as in assisted cobra. In assisted cobra, one child is on their stomach with their hands by the side, palms up. The other partner is holding and moving the arms up, helping move the chest and shoulders up and back.

In this pose you get a real sense of how the chest opens and how the shoulders should be moving down the back. The kids really have to listen to instructions in this pose so the arms can be safe and their partner is comfortable.

Tree pose is another great yoga pose that has many variations as a partner pose. This one also re-enforces trust and balance. Usually the younger classes use the wall to balance, which I encourage. For this one they have to trust their partner to help them balance.

Lizard on Rock is a new one that we have been doing this year. One person is crouched like a rock on the ground and the other is sitting with legs stretched out and back and arms reaching back over the partner.

This one is a chest and heart opener; it also stretches the neck. I hear kids talking about how this one feels 'great' and that it is relaxing too.

Another pose we are doing is a simple forward fold with hands on each other's shoulders. Each person bends forward leading with the chest. This one is a great hamstring stretch.

Some kids want to do the pose quickly, so we are working on listening and going slower. Partner yoga is a great way to let other classmates help you deepen into the poses. We switch partners frequently so we can get a turn with all our classmates. This kind of 'yoga together' is a great teacher on' interbeing,' Thich Hnat Hahn's idea that we cannot exist alone. We depend on everyone around us to thrive!


Art
Lore Deighan
Lore Deighan
 
In the three younger classes we have been working with faces and portraits. The Rosa Sharks and the Ruby Diamond Dragons all worked with collage as we discussed how many different colors, shapes, and sizes our facial features come in. We discussed our differences and our similarities (we all have two eyes, but no two eyes are the same!), and we also agreed that no matter what we look like, we all have feelings and emotions and we should never treat people differently because of the way they look. We had fun searching through magazines and seeing different faces and ways of living (thank you National Geographic), and then we collaged the different facial features into our own unique characters Early The Black Falcons just completed self portrait drawings, and they all blew me away!  We began our drawings by mapping out the human figure (six heads tall) and learning about proportion. Then we talked about putting our figures in a landscape and learned about horizon lines and drawing our landscapes so that the ground and sky are not only below and above us, but behind our bodies as well. 
The Knights of the Round Trailer just finished drawings that are now hanging in the Perspective Gallery in Blacksburg at the Path to Peace: Annual Martin Luther King, Jr., Children and Teen Art Exhibit. I went to the opening reception and was very proud of our students work. Here is a link for more information. Please go by and see the show if you have a chance!


Spanish
Jami Eaton
Jami Eaton
 
This winter has been one for crazy weather in Virginia!  We've been talking about how to talk about the weather in Spanish.  We are also going to expand our body part vocabulary in the coming weeks. The older students are eagerly waiting letters back from their pen pals in Barcelona and have been working on constructing sentences.


We hope you enjoyed reading the Indigo Messenger.

Be sure to  it to anyone you think may be interested.

 
Thank you,

The folks at


In This Issue
  
Feb 5: OM
Feb 6: Floyd Mardi Gras
Feb 12: Friday Class & Special Person Tea
Feb 15-16: Mid-Winter Break
Feb 19: OM
Feb 26: OM


 
Registration for Summer Camp will begin on March 1. Keep your eyes open for more information! 
Board of Trustees

The next meeting of the Board of Trustees is Wednesday, February 10, at 5:30 in the enrichment room. The public is welcome to attend.  

 

In Gratitude We Thank
 
Anne & Aaron Vaughan for donating craft supplies.

Jerry Brown and Virginia Klara for donating art supplies, books, and other materials.

Ashera Rose for teaching us about the Universal Dances of Peace.

Charmian Washburn
for donating to the scholarship fund.

Linda Johnson, Jessica Maas, and Max Biskup
for helping in the classroom.
 

 

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Blue Mountain School 

470 Christiansburg Pike, Floyd, Virginia 24091