For the fifth year in a row, Blue Mountain School is bringing you the best Mardi Gras bash in southwestern Virginia! Please join us on March 1st at the Floyd EcoVillage for the 5th Annual Tom Ryan Memorial Mardi Gras Costume Ball. This year guests will enjoy great music, food, beer and wine, win awesome prizes, and buy some fantastic auction items. Can't find a sitter? Let the kids enjoy the fun at our Kiddy Gras Pajama Party!

To make this event a success, we need your help! If you would like to sign up to volunteer or donate an auction item, please contact Jamie Regyle. Tickets for the main event can be bought ahead of time at area retailers and online or at the door the night of the event. Tickets for Kiddy Gras are available only online.

This event is all about the people at it, so we hope to see you there!

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

Elementary Direction
Shelly Emmett
Shelly Emmett


Most winters, right around the end of January is when I start to fuss about firewood and cold toes, and I start to wonder (sometimes a little too dramatically, I admit) if it will ever be warm again. We've had some very cold weather in Floyd this week, but I was able to see past it much better than usual, thanks to the ideas shared in our Monday morning circle.
We always share something about ourselves in our Monday circle that includes all of our students, our staff, and any parents who wish to stay. This week, I asked everyone if we could try an experiment; I explained that it was about to get really cold for Floyd, and I wondered if it would help those of us who might normally grumble to receive the cold in a more positive way if we each shared something that we liked about the cold. I said we would check back to see if our experiment worked.

Starting with one of our 10-year-old students, "the cold sharpens my senses," to a teacher "the cold makes me pay closer attention", to a parent "the cold makes me feel my inner fire, because it is cold outside but I still feel warm inside", people shared things they appreciate about the cold. Many of us like to play in snow, and others said they appreciated the chance to be warm and quiet inside when it's cold outside. It was heartening and fun to hear so many good things about cold weather, but more inspiring than anything was the sense that we are a community of kids and adults who pay attention, who are aware, who are practicing being able to be in the moment more and more often.  

So with appreciation, when the cold hit I was able to remember the things shared in our circle. It's true, it does feel good to notice being warm and snug under heavy blankets on cold mornings. And it's true, being in the cold does make you pay closer attention to what you are wearing and what you are doing, so that you can stay warm even when outside for a while.   
What a relief, to know that sometimes we can help ourselves enjoy experiences that we might not be looking forward to, just by thinking about the positive side of the experience. Now how's that for an important life lesson, learned at Blue Mountain School?  

From the High School
Ezekiel Fugate and Jeri Rogers
Ezekiel Fugate
Jeri Rogers


Ezekiel says...


The second semester at BMHS is off to a great start.  Students have been working to identify their independent projects as they settle in to the new flow of classes.  Jason Loftus is offering a weekly culinary arts class on Monday that is very popular.  Craig Green has been starting our Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays with a lively offering of singing for social change.  Rowan Shantal has been whipping us into shape on Tuesdays and Thursdays with a fun blend of cardio and strength building.  My math classes (algebra 1 and geometry) have been using computer programming and interactive graphing to learn math concepts.  The algebra 1 class is creating their own videogame, while the geometry class is designing their own house!  Students in my Spanish class have been improving their conversation skills and will soon start listening to and writing songs.   


Jeri says...

The Artemis class is proceeding with the students learning the Adobe Suite for layout in the May issue of Artemis. We are getting a steady stream of submissions from our region and beyond (as far away as India!).  The Roanoke Times gave us a splashy article last month to help get the word out that Artemis is re-emerging, and next week we will be in the Floyd Press featuring the new poster designed by Virginia Lepley, who co-mentored the design with the class using our own Rachel Terrill's beautiful flower photograph. The students also working on our website and we are very proud of their efforts, so check it out

Nikki Giovanni will be our featured guest poet, and Sam Krisch is our featured guest photographer. We are very appreciative of Warren Lapine, publisher of Wilder Publications, who is co-mentoring our class and has been very generous sharing his knowledge and expertise with the class.

Please help spread the word about our exciting project and join us for a celebratory reading with Nikki Giovanni at the end of the school year as we release the 2014 Artemis.

Dragon Tamers
Virginia Klara
Virginia Klara


Why Dragon Tamers Study Poetry

The Dragon Tamers enjoyed writing Haikus for last month's newsletter. Since then we've continued in our poetry studies by reading and writing simple 4-line poems (ABCB and ABAB patterns) and couplets (AABB pattern).


Although spending time making rhymes may seem frivolous, working with poetry and other rhythmic texts helps develop foundational reading skills. The predictable nature of the rhyme and rhythm in most children's poems makes them easy to read, memorize, and recall. Perhaps you can still recite a poem you learned as a child.


Many poems written for children are fun to read because of their wording, tempo, and sometimes silly themes. With rhyme as the primary clue, youngsters usually can decipher new words in a simple poem quickly with confidence. Word families (words that end the same way) often form the foundation of poetic rhymes so students have the opportunity to see and learn some common spelling patterns while enjoying poetry.


In an age featuring media sound bites, the brevity and compression of poetry are especially appealing to students' ears. A student who might balk at reading a homework assignment written as prose may show more enthusiasm and care in working with a short poem, simply because it seems more accessible and manageable.


Studying poetry enhances our reading comprehension and analytical skills. Understanding poetry demands that one pay close attention to the text, especially pronunciation and phrasing.


Poems build vocabulary as poets frequently use descriptive adjectives, lively adverbs, and less familiar nouns and verbs to create unique images with words. Discussions of what newly encountered words mean frequently follow the reading of a poem in class.


When reading poetry, students make a natural bridge between cognitive learning and personal expression. They move from reading the words, to recognition of the ideas expressed, to wanting to creatively express their own thoughts in poetic form. Each activity builds on and reinforces the others, enriching the childrens' learning experience.


Reading and writing poems has given our Dragon Tamers a creative endeavor that boosts the confidence of the students who may feel a little unsure of their literacy skills. As I watch the children read poems to each other, they often share smiles and want to memorize each other's offerings.


Students associate poetry with the familiarity of nursery rhymes and the lyrics of popular music. When writing their own poems and songs, a rhyming dictionary and a thesaurus have become useful tools as the Dragon Tamers try to select the best words to convey their thoughts within the constraints of rhyme and meter.


Writing poetry allows kids to put language to use and to find their own voice within a group. It is a place where writers can break rules along the way when employing non-standard grammar, punctuation, and capitalization.


Poetry awakens our senses and leads us to blend ideas and feelings with language and movement. It is the most kinesthetic of all literary forms; many poems are meant to be performed or at least read aloud. When read aloud, poetry is rhythm and music, sounds and beats.  


Paying attention to the language and rhythm of poetry helps children build oral language skills. Rehearsing a poem in order to recite it requires repeated reading of the material, an excellent way to build reading fluency. Choral (group) reading of poems also helps youngsters become fluid and expressive in their reading and recitation.  


Recently, we read poems about bees, the subject of our class' first science chapbook with Inge. As the Dragon Tamers make connections between subjects, their learning becomes more integrated and relevant. A well-crafted phrase or two in a poem can help one see an experience or entity in an entirely new way: "To see the world in a grain of sand..."


If you have a favorite poem, perhaps it's time to playfully share it with your child. If you don't know one, ask your child to teach you one of his or her favorites. Perhaps you will be treated to a premier of an original work.

Jenni Heartway
Jenni Heartway


After returning from Winter Break, I introduced the students to finger knitting. They were immediately entranced. They ask daily if we will have time for knitting and if there are any new yarns available. They have been asking about yarn stores that are close to Floyd, and telling each other what they have found at Schoolhouse Fabrics.

In the Waldorf tradition, handwork, like knitting and felting, is often introduced around the age of 7. Rudolf Steiner believed that students began to make a transition from a world of play, to a world of beauty around this age. It is not a big stretch to imagine a happy, go-lucky seven year old who easily recognizes the beauty in the world around him/her. Handwork give students an opportunity to create beauty and serves practical purposes as well.


Knitting, while improving fine-motor skills, also draws on counting, pattern making and simple geometry. It requires focus and attention to detail. It also requires planning. It can be meditative or therapeutic to many. Another benefit I have noticed is the camaraderie between students. They have chosen, more than once, to spend their recess together knitting in the sunshine and chatting. They are bringing yarn from home and comparing the thicknesses and colors. They have even began to teach other students on the playground.


It is really such an honor to be part of this process and watch the students settle into their knitting. It is also exciting to think about where our current knitting interest will take us next! 

Hari Berzins
Hari Berzins

I miss my Firehawks! I'm looking forward to the make-up days, the learning and the laughter. 

Sending everyone healthy, warm wishes, oh, and flowers, mountains, still water and space.

See you so soon!


Yoga & Physical Education
Sarah McCarthy
Sarah McCarthy


We haven't had much time together this new year, but what time we have had has been lots of fun! I hope you enjoy these pictures while we all wait for the snow to melt. 



Lore Deighan
Lore Deighan


My first day back with the kids was fantastic!

We jumped right in creating work to be hung at the Jacksonville Center for the Arts Breezeway Gallery next month. The exhibit will include artwork from both the Blue Mountain Elementary School and Blue Mountain High School. I am working with the elementary kids to create an installation called "Outside In."  We are making 3-D artwork from nature (bringing the outside in), as well as exploring the more conceptual side of the theme with 2-D works made by the Demigods. We talked about themes and how we can interpret them in many different ways through art.

I am looking forward to putting this exhibit together. It will hang from February 7th through the end of March, and there will be a reception for this exhibit and the Hayloft Gallery's 12th Annual New Works Exhibit on Saturday, February 8th at 5pm. Please join us in honoring the work these kids create in only 3 class meetings!

It feels great to be back!

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
HS Direction
Dragon Tamers
Fire Hawks
Yoga & PE
Feb 8: BMS Art Show Reception at JAX
Feb 12: Board Meeting
Feb 13: ES Special Person Tea and All-School Meeting
Feb 17-21: Mid-Winter Break
March 1: Mardi Gras  

Adult Yoga: 3:15 Thurs. 

In Gratitude We Thank

Inge Terrill, Tammy Brown, Joan Wages, Susan Weber and Brien Egan for a very successful cleaning orientation with the high school students.

Linda Johnson and Martha Taylor
for helping in the classroom.

Andy Volker for installing new flooring in the elementary school enrichment room.

An Anonymous Donor for paying the elementary school's mortgage.

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

Wilder Publications for donating to the scholarship fund.



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 Elementary School 

470 Christiansburg Pike, Floyd, Virginia 24091

Blue Mountain High School  

PO Box 943, Floyd, Virginia 24091