It's holiday season! We trust you've had a wonderful Thanksgiving, catching up with family, friends and/or yourself. Relationships are such a big part of our focus here at BMS, so this is a very special time for us.

One relationship that we value deeply is our relationship with our local community. This is why we introduced the Local Gifts campaign several years back, as we wanted to give back to the community by encouraging people to spend their money locally and support our economy here in Floyd.

We feel we have improved on that idea this year with the Floyd Local Gifts Coupon Book, which features over 90 local businesses. This project is what is known as a Triple Bottom Line: local businesses benefit by getting more sales, consumers benefit by getting great deals, and we benefit from the sale of every book.

Please consider not only using this book as you do your holiday shopping, but also giving it as a gift. 

We appreciate that you can't buy everything you need in town, so please remember when using Amazon to bookmark and use this link, as a percentage of every purchase then goes to the school!

Due to last week's weather, we postponed our special Thankful Celebration to Tuesday, December 3rd, at the Elementary School. During this event, we are thanking the donors who took part in the Growing Pains campaign - especially the donors who earned Trailer Naming Rights. Commencing at 2 pm, the students will sing a song for the top donor, and the ceremony will be followed by a potluck in their honor. Please bring something yummy to eat and join us!

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

Elementary Direction
Shelly Emmett
Shelly Emmett


We have all had experiences which, because of how challenging they are, require us to reflect on some important questions. Our school community is working through just such an experience right now. As uncomfortable as these things can be, the opportunity for significant growth cannot be overlooked. In trying to make sense of difficult experiences, many questions can come up. Our Board of Directors and Staff have been asking questions like: What are our values? What are our beliefs? What is our role in sharing these values in this community, in Floyd, and in the wider world community?  

We Value Community & Diversity
We celebrate diversity in our membership and in the world. We explore Wisdom Traditions and cultural celebrations, engage in service learning, and work to contribute positively to both our local community and the larger global community.

We Value Relationships and Balance
We nurture loving, respectful relationships and seek emotional balance. We take responsibility for ourselves and work to develop our understanding of others. We also engage in activities that foster self-awareness, encourage our unique enthusiasms, and demonstrate healthy living.

We Value Reverence for Life
We promote environmental stewardship by participating in nature-based activities and by exploring the connection between all living things, to establish a genuine sense of wonder and responsibility in our students.

When I reflect on these values, I am reminded again about how grateful I am to be working at Blue Mountain School. It is our intention for these values to inform everything we say and do at our school, and to truly embody these values in our everyday lives. When challenging situations arise, it is important to come back to these values and use them as a foundation and guide for resolution and moving forward. 


Brien Egan and Inge Terrill

Brien Egan
Inge Terrill


Brien says...


What an interesting November it's been!  We started the month with three teachers and now we are at two.  Jonathan will be missed and we are grateful for the time we had with him teaching in our class.  Life is about growth and change and we are learning this first hand as we take each experience and find meaning and spiritual truth in everything around us.  The world is our mirror and we are learning this through the simple and profound.


We have been hard at work with our projects for The Giver and should be finished up with them in the next couple weeks.  We are also well into our next book, The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan.  We have been finishing up our examination of nouns and their various functions.  We began our work on English centers where we have been writing persuasive letters to Santa, creating interesting "how to" paragraphs and analyzing different short stories and poetry.  We are also getting our feet wet in the literary magazine area wit
h our recent work with Colored Pencils.  Yeshe Cooley and Milo Duffy gave Wendell Berry, the famous environmentalist and activist who was here a couple weeks ago for the Biological Woodsmen conference, an interview to be included in this year's edition at his book signing.  We have been planning and organizing to make this year's magazine another success.


Did you know that modern cell phone antennas use fractal geometry patterns in their design to be able to send out and receive so many different signals and work as quickly as they do?  We didn't either until our investigation into Sacred Geometry led us down the path to fractals.  We created Sierpinski triangles and have been making a larger, more intricate Fractal design together as a group.  We have been examining the connections to this knowledge in our daily life.  Our recent investigation into area of polygons has been interesting with figuring out the acreage of a large piece of land.  We will be exploring volume next and working with variables in equations into our math progression.  Math centers have been continuing in a positive direction as well as we have added some new centers into the mix this past week. 


Physical Science and Geography
Our Geography books we are making are progressing.  We just examined landforms and will continue our study by analyzing what our major landforms are in the United States and where they are located.  Physical Science has us looking at chemical and physical properties of matter as we continue our dissection of the natural world to the atomic and subatomic levels.
Inge says...

Wow!  Did the month of November just fly by or what?  Soon we will be celebrating the New Year!  The science highlights for the Demigods class include digging deeper into Health, learning about Taxonomy, and more about Insects.


This past month we wrapped up our studies about the Respiratory System and reviewed briefly all of the 13 body systems.  We began learning about the human Endocrine System, our glands and hormones.  We also learned some of the illnesses and diseases that can arise when our glands are not functioning properly.


The Demigods studied, using a dissecting microscope, the wings of different categories of insects.  We looked at the membranous wings of the Hymenoptera (wasps, bees, ants), the clear wings of the Diptera (true flies), the hard outer wings of the Coleoptera (beetles), and more. 


We studied how taxonomy works and why scientists use this system world-wide.  We learned the terms Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Genus, Species and figured out how human beings fall into all of those categories and compared that to a small creature like the mosquito.


With much "to do" and "debate" the Demigods were given a quiz to review all the science and health they learned this school year so far.  To give them a "leg up" so to speak, I allowed the class to use their notes and handouts to take the quiz.  The students all did very well and were rewarded by taking a trip to the infamous tree swing where we all took turns swinging and then played tag amongst the pines.


We are all excited to have a new student in our class.  We welcome Skye into our fold.


Silverberries: Around the Town
Jenni Heartway
Jenni Heartway


"If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales." Albert Einstein 


After wrapping up our study of towns, the Silverberries were quick to choose a new topic.  We have embarked on a study of Fairy and Folk Tales. 



It is obvious when I look at my students' faces 

that they are completely and totally immersed in the stories we are reading.  The conversations they are having are rich.  The responses they are creating are detailed and reflective. 


Not only are they making important text-to-text connections (connecting the stories we read with other stories or other versions), but they're also dissecting the stories.  We are talking about characters, settings, lessons and how similar stories appear in a variety of cultures. 


They have been very interested in reading fairytales that are told from another point of view (The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Lane Smith).  Just as adults are drawn to Wicked by Gregory McGuire, the retelling of familiar stories with a twist is very appealing.


The themes that are emerging from these stories are nice reminders to all of us ... we're braver and stronger and wiser than we know. 


We look forward to sharing what we are learning with everyone!  


The Firehawks
Hari Berzins
Hari Berzins

The Firehawks are soaring into winter, ready for snow and Christmas. 'Tis the season for learning about germs and skin and how to care for our bodies. Several Firehawks have mastered counting to 20 while also learning to properly wash hands.

Our group has been making strides in the cooperation department. They enjoy being part of a group and thrive on our daily routine. Work time is busy and productive, and free play is bursting with imagination. Through play, they are 
learning to consider others' feelings.
We each set a personal goal, and at 10:30 every morning we check-in on our goals. We monitor our own progress and decide whether we get a sticker or need to work a bit more. We are learning to set goals and put forth effort to meet them. 

The Firehawks enjoy organized games like Red Light Green Light and Simon Says, and like learning through hands on activities--sorting is a favorite. We continue to learn handwriting and phonics and are celebrating learning the sounds of all short vowels and consonants. We all love singing our phonics songs.

We can count to 100 by 10s and are practicing counting and writing numbers to 100. We are also beginning simple addition.

In December we will weave rugs from old T-shirts and jersey sheets as we study crafts and gifts from around the world. If you have any old t-shirts or sheets to donate, please drop them by our classroom.

Fun, fun!

Literacy & Culture:
Reading Development Part 2
Virginia Klara
Virginia Klara

In this season of gifting, consider giving books to the children you love. Provide them with books to choose from for bedtime reading, read-alouds with the family, or even a snowstorm-induced reading marathon.


During the next few weeks, try to set aside a little time to have fun at a local bookstore selecting age-appropriate books for your loved ones.


Books for Infants and Toddlers

For infants to toddlers (birth to age 2) look for durable books that are a good size and shape for little hands. Coated-cardboard 'board' books or washable fabric books give a lot of service and frequently become pass-alongs to the next little ones. For this group, choose books with pages that use big, bright pictures to depict familiar objects and books that stimulate the senses (those with texture, mirrors, or crinkly, squeaky, scented areas, etc.) If the book has a story, it should be told in simple short sentences that explain the pictures.


Books for Preschoolers

Preschoolers (2+ to age 5) readily engage with books that have clear photos or illustrations and simple, fun plots. The action in a storybook should move along quickly so that the book can be easily read in one sitting, with time allowed for discussing experiences that relate the child's world to the story. Children of this age relate well to characters their age or slightly older, or friendly animals (real or imaginary).

Many books for preschoolers reinforce basic learning concepts such as letters, numbers, and shapes in a fun format. Repeated rhymes and repetitive lines give children something to remember and a way to participate in reading.


Books for Ages 5 to 11

Youngsters (ages 5 to 11) who are reading or learning to read most readily engage with books that are about their current interests. Books printed in a clear, easy-to-read font, coupled with attractive illustrations or photos, help new readers become interested in the text and give clues to decode new words and information. Simple how-to and recipe books are perennial favorites with this age group; children gain skills and are entertained by the activities.


Proficient young readers are ready for short chapter books that can be read over several days. To encourage reading for pleasure, select books for your child which are written by well-known children's' authors and illustrators and have familiar characters.


Books for Adolescents

Adolescents (ages 11 and up) appreciate books about subjects that interest them. World record books are always popular with this age group. Historical fiction, fantasy, mythology, biographies, and classics are other books to consider. Many young adult novels contain stories that help children cope with the daily challenges of growing up by allowing the reader to see how a character deals with similar experiences. Stimulate discussions by continuing to share books as read-alouds with tweens.


While choosing gift books for the youngsters in your life, remember to treat yourself to a good read, too. When you pick up your new book, you model an interest in reading and illustrate the pleasure that comes from it. Provide tea or hot chocolate to enhance the pleasure of the experience for your child.

Yoga & Physical Education:
Peace Places at Home
Sarah McCarthy
Sarah McCarthy


Learning  in Group Games     

Playing with kids is one of the best things about my job at Blue Mountain.  I also treasure starting out our classes with centering and silent reflection time, then moving to group games and movement.  I realize I need  lots of both, silence and social time, in my life and am still learning when I need the right balance of both!  I think it's one of those awesome aspects of being human!


We all know kids need lots of movement and play in their lives.  At Blue Mountain teachers are encouraged to be outside with kids as much as possible.  When children are outside in my class, lots of observation and  guidance is required; kids are learning about boundaries, how to positively interact in a group, and how to listen, etc.  There is lots of learning navigating when a child does not want to play a movement game or when she isn't feeling confident enough to participate in an obstacle course.  As long as a child is healthy I always encourage and require participation. 


There are many things that our children are exploring and learning through group games and activities.  Some are: understanding the qualities of being a leader and, just as important, how to be a good follower, how to listen, how to cooperate (which can be a hard lesson!), creativity, how to adapt to changing situations and guidelines in games, how to let go, compassion for teammates (when everyone hasn't gotten a turn!), and  how important and good it feels to move our bodies! The list goes on.


When everyone's needs are met in the group everyone can enjoy themselves and have a more pleasant time during games and activities. 








Contemplative Studies


This past month we have finished up our Pebble Mediation cards and laminated them. Each student in each class should have received their own set and taken them home. I have asked each student to practice with their parents at home. Have you practiced Pebble Meditation with your child? If you need more help on it you can visit the Planting Seeds website.


The Demigods have started projects where students present to the class something they love to do 'mindfully'. Two students have presented so far and the  presentations have been inspiring. Everyone was captivated by the interests and creativity of their classmates. Realizing that you already practice mindfulness can be empowering!


In the Dragon Tamers class one day I asked all students to face the wall for meditation as in Soto Zen tradition. Of course at first most thought this was very strange! However, it turned out to be the best quiet time ever. No one was distracted and the students could work within themselves.


The Firehawks (Kindergarten) class, the last class of the day, when everyone is very tired, has been challenging. With the help of Shelly and Hari, we discussed what to do. You may have heard from the kids that they are practicing silent meditation and mindfulness for 2 minutes and after listening to the bell having 2 minutes of play. We are exercising our mindfulness muscles and hopefully we will all improve!  


Creative Expression
Katie Wells
Katie Wells


Precious Moments in Creative Expression: 


One day the Firehawks and I needed a break. "I know, we can roll each other into burritos!" one of the kids suggested. The imaginary ingredients went flying, chocolate, marshmallows, cheese, sprinkles and more. That was the most we had ever laughed together - a perfect reminder to take a break sometimes and not to take ourselves too seriously!    

This month I have been talking with the Demigods and the Dragon Tamers about what they are thankful for at BMS. I integrated their answers into a song that they will be singing at the Thanksgiving and Trailer Naming celebration. This is an ode to Blue Mountain School and those who make Blue Mountain School possible:

Thank you for the place to love my self and love the human race.
Thank you for the time to grow in body, heart and mind. 
Thank you for your hand that guides me outside to be with the land.
Thank you for the faith that I can live my life happy and safe.

Lore Deighan & Corey Avellar
Lore Deighan
Corey Avellar


Corey says...
I have really enjoyed teaching art this Fall. We have really had fun meandering through the concepts of patterns, perspective, light, shading, shadows, and dimensions in art. Only one more quick month and then you will get Lori back. Our latest project has been Pattern and nature mobiles.  It has been interesting finding balance with our own style. Very creative! Many of these are going to be gifts either for the upcoming holidays or one we all worked on for the BMS fundraising donor gift. I hope you enjoy them. Also in the hall down stairs of the main building are all the students silhouettes with riddles. Read the riddle to guess who every one is. Then lift the top sheet of the riddle to see if you were correct. Enjoy!
Lore says...
I am looking forward to returning as the art teacher in January!!!  I will do two half days with Corey in December to ease back in and get acquainted with the students, and I am excited to see what they have been doing over the past semester.  From the look of the art room it seems that Corey has been having a lot of fun with the kids and I want to thank her dearly for filling in for me while on maternity leave - THANKS COREY!!!  I have continued to stay close to the school and have participated as a staff member, but without being with the kids in a classroom mentality I feel a disconnect that I am eager to change.  I love sharing my love for art and making art with the kids and have really felt the loss of that relationship over the past months.  But here it is - How time flies!!  I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season and I'll see you in January!! 

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
Elementary Direction
Literacy and Culture
Yoga & PE
Contemplative Studies
Creative Expression
Parent Reminder
Dec 11-12: BMHS Student Presentations
Dec 16: World Cafe
Dec 16-17: BMHS Student Conferences
Dec 18: Half Day
Dec 18:  Winter Celebration
Dec 19-Jan 5: Winter Break 

Chess Club: 3:15 Weds.
Adult Yoga: 3:15 Thurs. 

Did you know there are several committees within the BMS Board of Trustees?  Each of them are eagerly awaiting your input!  Here are just a few:

Community committee is responsible for increasing Blue Mountain School's web of influence, through marketing, public relations, and relationship building. 


Development committee is responsible for creating and maintaining development planning and policy, marketing and advertising the school, fundraising, grant development, and creating an endowment.

Facilities committee is responsible for oversight of current facility maintenance and planning for future facilities.

Each committee meets monthly and offers the perfect way to become involved in the "village"!
Contact Kristan Morrison for more details.

In Gratitude We Thank

Jonathan and Kerry Fay Vandergrift for their dedicated service to our school.

All the donors
to the Growing Pains campaign, which raised nearly $8,000 for the school.

The Wall Family Foundation for paying the high school's rent.

Corey Avellar for overseeing the production of dozens of thank you cards for the Growing Pains campaign.

Pamela Pinto for her invaluable support reviewing the Growing Pains strategy and emails.

Greg Ward for donating a print of Elvis Has Left The Building to the Tom Ryan Room.

Natasha's Market Cafe for providing the space for the Coupon Book launch.

Elaine Martinez for her awesome design work in the Coupon Book.

Linda Johnson, Martha Taylor, Winter Koeppe, and Sunny Brontosaurus for helping in the classroom.

Anonymous Donor for paying the school mortgage.

Wilder Publications for donating to the scholarship fund.
Wilder Publications for donating dozens of copies of Colored Pencils to the Growing Pains campaign. 



Shopping on Amazon?

We encourage everyone to support local businesses whenever you can. However, if you find yourself shopping on Amazon, please use the link below, and a portion of your purchase will go into our scholarship fund.


Blue Mountain School will follow the Floyd County Public School's (FCPS) inclement weather announcements regarding cancellations, delays, and early releases.

Please note that when FCPS has a 1-hour delay, BMS has no delay, and when FCPS has a 2-hour delay, BMS has a 1-hour delay.

If BMS decides to deviate from FCPS' schedule on subsequent days and have school, email will be sent to families by 8:00 am.

If there is any doubt about the school's schedule during inclement weather, please call the Floyd County School Closing Line, 745-9495.

Blue Mountain Elementary School 

470 Christiansburg Pike, Floyd, Virginia 24091

Blue Mountain High School  

PO Box 943, Floyd, Virginia 24091