For the third year in a row, over fifty families, community members, and businesses contributed to our Fall campaign. This year, we received nearly $7,000 in donations to help Strengthen Our Community.

Sometimes the world is such a busy place, and life seems so full that it is easy to forget how much each one of us matters. At Blue Mountain School, there is no question that each member of our community is a necessary part of this unique school. We appreciate you!

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

Shelly Emmett
Shelly Emmett
When it comes to BMS, there are always a lot of people to be grateful for; our staff, students, families, Board members, and volunteers of all kinds are indispensable and make it possible for us all to be here. And our many generous donors help us fill in gaps in our funding: without them, our program would look much different.

But beyond being grateful for all of these important people that help our school to continue to thrive, I am inspired by how interconnected we all are. All of the pieces, people, and parts of BMS are necessary; all of them matter.

Over the course of our school's nearly 35-year history, there have been so many staff members, so many students and their families, so many Board members, volunteers, and donors. This means there are hundreds of people (and probably more!) who have had a direct hand in the vitality of our school and hundreds of people who have benefited from the gifts that BMS gives to those who are a part of it. 

Thank you all!

Knights of the Round Trailer
Andy Anderson
Andy Anderson
We continue to study the words of greats like Shakespeare, Bob Dylan, and Miles Davis and to explore how their wisdom relates to our lives. We revisited one from the Buddha, "You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger." We made it relevant by substituting anger for other undesirable feelings or things such as rudeness, gossiping, lies, words, actions, gluttony, greed, cigarettes, too much alcohol, hatred, short temper, not listening, not trying, procrastination, pollution, and of course, applesauce (thanks, Eva!).
With the help of BMS emeritus teacher, Corey Avellar, we have begun production on our Jumping Mouse play! We also continue to spend time learning new vocabulary and spelling words and exploring Maniac Magee and Custer and Crazy Horse. In math, it's all about fractions, decimals, and percentages.
We spent some time studying Anaxagoras, who said that [people] would live exceedingly [quietly] if these two words, "mine and thine" were taken away. Anaxagoras demonstrated that "the seed of everything is in everything else" and determined the three major elements to be wheat, flesh and gold. He was probably one of the first to point out that particles are infinitely divisible.
In science, we took a look at the animal cell and had a special visit from enrichment teacher, Jami, who talked about phytonutrients in the plants we eat, why and how they are good for us, and how to absorb the optimal amount of nutrients from our food. We got to apply our knowledge of anthocyanins in plant cells from earlier this year into this discussion, and we learned how early farmers bred to develop bigger, sweeter strawberries and other fruit.
The Knights continue to share their favorites with us. Gabriel brought us: "Those who do not remember their mistakes are doomed to repeat them," Grace told a great Jack-o-lantern riddle, Tara's riddle was about the moon, Eva shared some drawings, and Reuben read the funny book Diary of a Worm."

Black Falcons
Shawna Williams
Shawna Williams
The past couple of months seemed to have flown by! I can hardly believe that the month of December is already here! The Black Falcon's class rhythm is strong.

Our mornings have been filled with engaging morning practice, review, and challenges that
have included math, Spanish, hand writing, and figurative language. In our morning circle we have been solving Rebuses, learning about world famous landmarks, and exploring interesting facts about the planet Earth.

Throughout the month of November our mindfulness moments were focused on Gratitude. Each day we took a piece from our mindful, gratitude moment and created a reflection. The end result and accumulation of our reflections was a book of gratitude.

The Black Falcons have continued to explore Life Science through our weekly science explorations. We are incorporating our writing and practice with sentence structure during animal "Draw and Writes." Make sure you come on in and take a peek at these.

As for our Social Studies time, we have been looking at where we are in the world. We began with  Blue Mountain School, then examined and drew our perspective of the town of Floyd, moving on to the county, states, and ending with the continents. Maybe take a moment to ask a student about how it may have been sailing across the ocean blue crammed into the Mayflower as well as starting a new village.

In math time, students have been looking more in depth into place value and number sense. You can also take a peek at our daily Calendar Math in the classroom. Plus, ask your child about their mental math and 5 minute math. They would love to tell you how the beat the clock!

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

Recently during Focus Group, we talked about things we enjoyed eating with our families. The students drew pictures, wrote words, and then dictated a recipe. It's exciting to see these emerging writers begin to streeeeeetch out those words and write the sounds they hear. The typical progression is, at first, students write just the first letter, followed by the beginning and ending sounds. The middle sounds are added next, and finally students move toward conventional (correct) spelling. 

Here's what's cooking:  

Mashed Potatoes by Avery S.

You wash the potatoes. You cut them up. You mash them wish the masher when they are cooking in the pot. Then you eat them with butter and cheese.
Pumpkin Pie by Milo

Cook the pumpkins.
Take out the seeds. Putt in a pie pan.
Cook it. Eat it!
Soup by Avery

Cup up oranges and carrots. Mix it up. Then we cook it and put sprinkles in it. Then we eat it!
Brownies by Vivie

You get dough and the stuff from the store. Put it in the oven. Let it cook for a few minutes (maybe 3 or 5). Then you take them out. Let them cool. Then you eat them!

Turkey by Jax

My dad gets a turkey. You put it in the oven, whole. It's all together. All the pieces are there.
And then you slice it when it is out of the oven. Then you eat!

Grandma's Christmas Cake by Isobel

This is my Grandma's Christmas Cake. I don't know how we make it, but it has candy in one and candy fruit in another.

Deer by Aden

Take off the fur.
Cut it.
Grill it.
Eat it!
Cookies by Mena

You make cookie dough. You put in flour, eggs, baking soda and baking powder. That's it. Then you get cookie cutters. You shape the dough into shapes. Put them in the oven. Let them bake. Then you take them out and let them cool. Eat them!

Cranberries by Sully

Grind up the cranberries.
Cook it on the stove.
Eat it!

Cookies by Casey

I use dough.
Then I put on sugar, sprinkles and candy.

Pumpkin Pie by Cedar

You pick a pumpkin. then you take out the seeds. Then you cook it. Wait for the timer to beep. Put crust and sugar on it. Cook it more. Eat it!

Rosa Sharks
Stefi Schafer
Stefi Schafer

A Rosa Shark by any other name....

The Rosa Sharks are a busy bunch of kids, and now that we know each other (who we are, what each of us likes, what kind of lunchbox we have and what we like to play), it's time to focus on names.

Everyone has a name, and it helps if we know it. It makes it easier if we want to get a person to come over, or if we need to get help for a friend. You might not think this a big deal, but at 3 or 4, most children are still firmly rooted in the "ego" phase of their life. "I want it, I had it, that's mine..." Part of recognizing that others have needs, wants, ideas and feelings means to let go of the self, which is not an easy task.

As always, everything in the world of early childhood development and education is connected. As we work on learning names, we have also been focusing on writing and reading our names and those of friends. Having the skill to claim something as our own by writing our name on it is a powerful thing. In the Rosa Shark's classroom, all art work must be signed by the artist, even if the signature is just an initial or a mark representing oneself. We all (kids and adults alike) take it seriously when we put our name on something; claiming it not just as our possession but as our thoughts and part of our identity. We all know how easy it is to make statements under the cover of anonymity or an alias (#internet), but that is a different soapbox...

It is an achievement for a child to write his or her name. It requires a lot of skills like muscle control, hand-eye coordination, the ability to copy and form letters, and memory. We are also using American Sign Language to make our first letter, adding a more tactile way of making letters.
For Show 'n Share one week, we all brought in something that started with the first letter of our name. We used capital letter stamps to stamp our names, and then we talked about what "our" letter sounds like: R is for record play and for Rhett.

Activities such as these honor each child as an individual, bring attention to the fact that we are members of a group, strengthen our understanding of the printed word, help with letter recognition, and introduce phonics.

Yoga & Physical Education
Sarah McCarthy
Sarah McCarthy
If there wasn't a chance that it could be taken the wrong way, I would buy every person I know who interacts with kids--parents, teachers, grandparents--a copy of a new book that recently fell into my hands. It is called Mindful Discipline: A loving approach to setting limits and raising an emotionally intelligent child.

This book is full of skills for those of us who find parenting/child-rearing to be challenging sometimes, and they are the sort of skills that you can use over and over again, and get better at using each time. This book is the better part of that "Parenting Manual and Guide to Life" that you wish you had received when your kids were born, or at least somewhere along the way. 

Throughout the book are short mindfulness practices that parents can use for themselves and with their kids during even the most dynamic foot-stomping, door-slamming moments. These are practices that you can use in the moment: they are easy to remember and actually work in the real world! Mindful Discipline also contains useful, accessible descriptions of brain development and how it relates to attachment, resilience, and emotional intelligence. 

We are planning to start a parent book group focusing on Mindful Discipline after the Winter Break, so be looking for more about that soon.

Lore Deighan
Lore Deighan
We're rolling right along in the art room, exploring color, nature, the topic of peace, and ourselves through art.

The ROSA SHARKS are working their way through the color wheel by making a work of art with each color one class at a time.  We have already finished our primary colors and have mixed both green and purple.

The students are coming into the classroom with enthusiastic voices asking, "What color are we going to do today?!"  I enjoy this process immensely as it honors each color and the learning process about color mixing and using different mediums, as well as allowing for each student to express his or her artistic abilities in an open ended manner (the color we are using is specific, but what kids do with that color is not). At the end of the project, we'll have a rainbow of work to display!! 
The  RUBY DIAMOND DRAGONS are still working with leaves!  After finding some amazing sycamore leaves which we pressed, we started exploring different forms of printmaking - laying down paint and printing with the leaf on the paint, then printing with the leaf and finally printing what was left from the leaf being on the paint.

Some of the prints transferred the leaf shape as positive space while in others the leaf shape became the negative space, and now we are exploring pattern and design by drawing on our prints, talking about the positive and negative space.  
The BLACK FALCONS finished making their talking sticks, and we continued with the power of words theme and made word art. Each child choosing a word that felt positively powerful to them and then turned it into a work of art. 

I was incredibly impressed with the care and intention that the Falcons put into their word art. It can be hit or miss with each new project but this one was definitely a hit!  Now we are shifting into self portraits, continuing on a path of self recognition and awareness of ourselves and others.
The KNIGHTS OF THE ROUND TRAILER  are beginning to create two dimensional works of art to exhibit at the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Junior - Children and Teen Art Exhibit at the Perspective Gallery in Blacksburg from January 19 - February 26. This is quite an honor and a challenge for these students as they were asked to contemplate small things that they do in a big way that promote peace and then turn their ideas into a visual work of art that can be "read" by the viewer. It can be quite a challenge turning thoughts and words into art in a way that clearly conveys a specific idea, but they are up for the challenge, and I am very excited to see how these pieces turn out.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and as always, thank you for sharing your children with me!

Contemplative Studies
During the past few months we have taken our mindfulness practice from a more formal setting to a more relaxed, more practical application. It seems the subtlety of the shift hasn't been noticed by the kids because it is still being present in the moment, practicing. When one is doing something fun, something they love, it is much easier to be mindful. But practice is so important so we can learn to be more equanimous in the unhappy and joyous occasions. Last week we colored mandalas in silence, in a respectful atmosphere. We sat a few minutes with our art pieces closing our eyes and trying to perceive them from within. Before Thanksgiving every class shared in mindful tea together. What a beautiful setting, children sitting on cushions, respecting one another savoring a simple cup of tea with a few cookies. This can be practiced anytime at home. All we need to do is stop and avail ourselves of the moment. Doing this with our children is a profound way to model mindfulness!

Jami Eaton
Jami Eaton
In Spanish, we are continuing to talk about our bodies and the five senses. Try this song at home to the tune of " 10 Little Fingers.

"Ojos ojos veo veo veo (3 times)
Veo con mis ojos"

We talked about winter holidays in Mexico and played a chair game to reinforce our knowledge of the verbs "tengo" and "tienes." We also played "Guess Who" to practice describing appearances with these verbs and our body part vocabulary.

The older students are starting to read simple Spanish stories and are continuing their pen pal projects.

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
Dec 17 : Winter Celebration at the Jacksonville Center (6:00)
Dec 18-Jan 5: Winter Break
Jan 6: Back to School - Full Day 

Before you head off for Winter Break, make sure to take all of your child's things home. Don't forget to check the lost-and-found basket in the office! 
Board of Trustees

Please welcome new Trustees, Hope Sharp and Martha Sullivan!

The next meeting of the Board of Trustees is Wednesday, January 13, at 5:30 in the enrichment room. The public is welcome to attend.  


In Gratitude We Thank

Floyd Yoga Jam, Anne Vaughan Designs, Oddfellas, Andy & Carol Volker, Kathleen Brennan, Linda & Chuck Riley, Bank of Floyd, Charmian Washburn, Jean Smith, Sarah McCarthy & Jagadisha, David Lander & Susan Icove, Soraya Johnson, Lester Gillespie & Martha Taylor, Debra Grimes, Elisa DiFeo & David Eichleberger, Virginia Klara, Kristan Morrison, Bill & Angie Ellis, Jamie & Elisha Reygle, Stefi Schafer, Shelly Fox & Justin Miller, Michael Maslaney, Angie & Chris Barrett, the Gralla Family Philanthropic Fund, Cassie & Scott Pierce, Shayne Goodrum, Aja Buhler, Warren Lapine & Angela Kessler, Luke Staengl, Amolee Tally, Ted Smith, Ashley Morales, Elizabeth Hammond, Hari & Karl Berzins, Georgia Crews, Hope & Eric Sharp, Bill & Corrine Graef, Terrie Wood, Martha & Paul Sullivan, Lore Deighan & Justin Grimes, Perrin & Jenni Heartway, Andrea Goodrum, Kari & Michael Kovick, Cheryl & Chris Cater, Clark Gas & Oil, Thomas Phelps, Bob Sisk, Lyle Martens, and Robert & Loraine Coker
for donating to our Strengthening Our Community campaign.

David Oakes
for allowing us to use his studio for our Winterfest Kid's Store.

Lore Deighan for painting the sign for our Kid's Store.

Corey Avellar for making posters to thank our donors and to share about our school at Winterfest.

David Oakes, Rebecca Jackson, Natasha Sebastian, The Bell Gallery, Linda Laplante, Starroot, Wilder Publications, Misty and Isobel Harris, Pam Frazier, Dillard Frazier, Carol, Andy and Anya Volker, Jennifer Newcomb, Christine Tueller, Angie Barrett, Debbie Johnson, Boyd's Woodcrafts, Brianne Sew Crafty, Open Air, Lore Deighan, Inge Terrill, Corey, Ellie, and Avery Avellar, and the BMS staff and students
for donating items to sell at our Winterfest Kids-Only Store.

The Jacksonville Center for allowing us to bring our Kid's Store to Winterfest and for being so helpful before, during, and after the event.

Robby Korth and Don Petersen
for reporting about our Kid's Store in the Roanoke Times.

Elisa DiFeo
for being laundry mom for the Rosa Sharks.

BJ Harris for fixing the step and screen door on the Rosa Shark building

Elisa DiFeo and David Eichleberger for opening their Two|One Ceramics studio to our students.

Jerry Brown for donating art and office supplies.

The Woodbury Inn for donating an artificial tree.

Citizens Telephone Coop for donating an internet service upgrade.

Wes Wenger
for leading Soccer Tuesdays.

Linda Johnson and Jessica Maas for helping in the classroom.



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.
Going Krogering?

With all the wonderful and farm fresh food in Floyd, it's hard to imagine spending much time in Kroger, but if you find yourself there, please help the school earn a little extra for the scholarship fund.

Link your Kroger Card to BMS with the Community Rewards Program. Our Organization Number is 84005.

Blue Mountain School 

470 Christiansburg Pike, Floyd, Virginia 24091