Do you have your tickets yet? What are you waiting for? The 8th Annual Tom Ryan Memorial Floyd Mardi Gras Costume Ball is only a few weeks away!

This year we have something new -- the exclusive  Krewe du Bleu Dinner with an authentic Mardi Gras menu created by Bayou Food Historian, Chef Richard Perry!

And don't forget to sign up the children for the Kiddy Gras Pajama Party, either. (It's already half full!)

There is something for everyone at this event, so don't miss out!

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

Shelly Fox
Shelly Fox
From January to the end of March, BMS teachers and students are focusing on our Community & Diversity value. Exploring the deep and meaningful ideas reflected in this value could not be more timely for all of us.

Consider these fundamental truths, which we hold dear at BMS: that the inclusion of others is not only expected but necessary, that learning about religion and spirituality from many different perspectives is enriching and not a threat to our own sacred beliefs, and that acting in service to others and the world around us is vital to the forward movement of us all.

We are teaching our students that we all matter and that we all have rights and responsibilities. We are teaching them to believe in and celebrate the good in themselves, in other people, and in the world. We are teaching them that we can all be ambassadors of these life-affirming ideas now and in the future.
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. 

The Lunas
Holly Haworth
Holly Haworth
As our class is beginning to read To Kill a Mockingbird, I have been thinking a lot of the study that was released a few years ago that found that reading novels teaches empathy . We did not need a scientific study to prove this to us, but it is nice when science can affirm and remind us of what we already know about the way things work. We know that to read a novel is to enter another person's story, and then to work at understanding its many complicated facets.

By reading novels, we learn that no story is simple, that everything that happens has more than one way of being told and remembered. (In this, I am reminded of books like Woolf's To the Lighthouse and Faulkner's As I Lay Dying, with their shifting viewpoints, each individual narrative tunneling outward from an individual soul that shines a its own light on the fabric of "reality." I am reminded how novels emphasize the deeply personal way in which we experience the world, the diversity of experiences that are possible, which is to say the diversity of bodies, hearts, souls, and minds, how many different shapes a human life may take.)

In novels, the actions of others are dramatized and made timeless (in that place outside of time in which art lives), crafted for us like an object that we can pick up and examine, that we can look at from many angles and in many lights. In the act of reading, we are able to turn a story over and over, to ponder what we ourselves might have done differently, what we might have said--to wrestle with how we might live a life, how we might work at wholeness. Seeing the faults of characters is also to see our own faults, to reflect upon our own wounds. This seeing is to know empathy, both as a journeying inward and a journeying outward. This is the work of novels, to build out of stories the bridges of understanding that lead us to empathy.

To Kill a Mockingbird is a book that has empathy at its core. It is the story of a child who wrestles with right action, with her own prejudices and fears, and of those around her. It is the story of how adults can model courage to children, the courage to go against a status quo of intolerance and hate. When Scout sees her father stand up for what is right, she says, "It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived." The novel is about empathy in action, how it can fuel the brave acts and brave words that create more empathy and more understanding in the small and large worlds around us.

We need books like these more than ever, and children reading them. I am very excited to be taking this journey to Maycomb, Alabama, in 1936, to hear ten-year-old Scout's story, with my students.

The writer David Horowitz recently had this to say in a Letter to America: "Civ ility emerges from empathy, and empathy is linked to patience, patience before the awesome, complex, barely visible glimmers of what we call "truth." And we must converse and pray and explore and think and doubt and wonder to see even these glimmers. But this great adventure we call our democracy cannot survive without such empathy and such glimmers of truth.

Golden-Black Koalas
Shelly Sherman
Shelly Sherman
Before I get started telling you about what we've been working on recently, I want to share with you two new additions to our community! Rhys introduced us to her new baby goat.

And Isobel welcomed her new baby brother, Harrison, to the world! 

Welcoming new community members seems very appropriate since right now the school is focusing on our value of Community and Diversity. One of the ways we have been learning about this value is by singing songs that originated during the Civil Rights Movement such as "If I Had a Hammer" and "We Shall Overcome." (It was exciting to hear that one of our Koalas used her hammer (voice) to lead a group in singing "We Shall Overcome" as she marched in Floyd with her family on January 21st!) We are currently learning a protest song which originated in Australia and is sung in an indigenous dialect.

As we learned about our community, we decided to learn more about ourselves and where we've come from. Family heritage and culture became a topic of conversation in our classroom and others. As part of this study, we interviewed an older family member to ask them about their life as a child. It was interesting to hear the students retell the stories they were told by their parents and grandparents and then to compare these stories to the students and their lives today.

We also added our heritage origins to a list of other ways we are diverse and wrote them down around self portraits that we painted. These were part of our MLK community celebration, which included a brainstorming session for a community letter writing project emphasizing our ability to use our voice. 

In addition, we celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day, by collecting books to give to Floyd Elementary students who are learning English. These new friends just received book shelves made by students at Floyd High School, and we wanted to help them fill those shelves with good books! In the Spring, we are hoping to host their class for a reading and picnic time here at BMS. 

Another way we have been learning about diversity is through our engineering Creativity Lab.

We are exploring the idea that there can be more than one way to accomplish a goal and solve a problem, and we use simple materials to build structures given specific parameters. We are discovering how different and similar each of us think.

One of our structures was a bridge made of popsicle sticks and binder clips that could support a stack of books. Our strongest bridge held 88 paperbacks!

Rainbow Jellybean Worm Snakes
Hari Berzins & Jenni Heartway
Hari Berzins
Jenni Heartway
The Holiday Store
by the Rainbow Jellybean Worm Snakes
First we looked at our houses for things we didn't need anymore, like old toys, vases, a cactus, and clothes we didn't wear.   

Next we made price tags for things. If they were valuable we priced it for $1. Small toys and things like that were $0.50.

We took the things to the store that we made in the mobile classroom. Some of us were store owners and got bags and took money. If you were a shopper you used a list to buy things.

We all made shopping lists and budgets. It was tricky to figure out how much we would spend.

Some of us do chores to get money to shop. We cleaned our rooms, made beds, and helped with firewood. Some of us had saved money and didn't need to do any chores.

After shopping we wrapped everything and made them tags. It took us one whole day. We used a lot of paper!

Then we took our presents home.  A few things we opened right away and some were saved for holidays. It was a lot of fun.

Flying Rainbow Turtles
Stefi Schafer & Tammie Sarver
Stefi Schafer
Tammie Sarver

The Flying Rainbow Turtles are so grateful for a generous donation to our classroom from a local patron. After much thought and discussion we decided to use the donation to buy a light cube.

Using light as a learning tool is a fundamental aspect of Reggio Emilia teaching philosophy. Having a light table, or our light cube, allows the children to observe and explore materials with greater depth and dimension. Children learn concepts like transparency, color mixing, light vs dark, shadows, and whatever the kids come up with.

We told the children, "A nice woman, her name is Kamala, gave us the money to buy this." We did not tell the children what it was called or supposed to do.

Here are some of their observations:

Thank you 'Mala for getting us the light thing for looking. Lucas, 4 1/2

Thank you Kamala for giving us the money to buy it because it flashes very colorful. Louisa, 5

Thank you for money to but that light, it makes different colors and it's a square. Gunnar, 4

I'm happy and I like it. It flashes. Ariana, 3

Thank you, I like it this much (arms stretched out wide). Moses, 4

Thank you, you're welcome, I like it makes different colors, and I want to give her a present too. Demi, 3

Thank you for giving our teacher the money. A cube that is cool, it glows, that's cool. Enso, 4

Thank you, umm we like to share things. The cube changes colors and I think that it's cool. Sorjn, 4

Thank you and glow up its fun when its glow up, and put the toy on there and it glow up too. Kostya, 3

Thank you for that cube, I like it because it glows different colors. Ellie, 4
As you can tell we all like it "'cause it has light and colors!" Our friends have explored and enjoyed the light cube with a variety of materials. It has become a meaningful addition to their learning days. The Flying Rainbow Turtles are only the first of many children who will benefit from the generous gift. We look forward to learning and enjoying it for years to come!

Yoga & Physical Education
Sarah McCarthy
Sarah McCarthy
Sharing Yoga and Quiet Time at Home
The quieter you become the more you can hear - Yasutani Roshi
This is the time of the year when being inside so much during the cold weather can drive our families crazy. What a good time to develop a family yoga/quiet practice. You won't regret it.

It doesn't have to take a long time, 15 - 20 minutes is great. The neat thing about sharing quiet time and yoga time with our kids is that we get benefit too. Probably the most important benefit is the connection time, just being together without an agenda. Phew--what a hard one!
We all need to slow down and enjoy more quiet moments throughout our day.
Setting aside a good time is key. Friday and Saturday mornings for yoga? 10-15 minute quiet together time before bed? Whatever works for you.

Here is a sample yoga session to get you started:
  1. Sit in a quiet place together, perhaps facing a window with a view of a tree or other part of nature.
  2. Play some calm music if you want.
  3. Each person says how they are feeling in the moment while the other people just listen with no commentaries.
  4. Each person say two things they are grateful for about the day.
  5. Take a few slow calm breathes through the nose.
  6. Begin the yoga sequence:
    • Tree pose on both sides
    • Bamboo pose (standing: hands and arms over head stretching slowly from side to side)
    • Chair pose
    • Forward fold 
    • Downward facing dog
    • Downdog with one leg up in the air
    • Cat pose
    • Superhero pose (on hands and knees with opposite leg and opposite arm stretched out long and straight)
    • Child's pose (knees together sitting back on heels with arms reaching out in front, forehead to ground),
    • Downward facing dog
    • Cobra
    • Airplane (on tummy with legs straight, arms and legs lifted off ground, arms out to sides)
    • Bridge pose 
    • Plow (on back with feet over head)
    • Candlestick / shoulder stand
  7. End with Savasana - relaxation pose. This is the do nothing pose- the most important pose in yoga! We relax our whole body and minds - quiet music is helpful here. Rest for 5 minutes.
  8. Share a book.
  9. Share some tea or a snack.
Setting a time aside before bed sets the tone for a relaxed bedtime ritual and a more relaxed and deeper sleep. We all know this but practicing it is another story. Here is a sample quiet bed-time routine: 

  1. Read a book that is calming or make up a great story yourself!
  2. Discuss how your child's day went. How were your relationships with friends? What was the hardest part of your day? What was your favorite part of your day? What are two things you are most grateful for?
  3. Take 3-4 slow deep breathes. On the exhales relax your muscles.
  4. You could rub your child's feet or different parts of their body. Lavender oil is calming.
  5. You could go through a mini deep muscle relaxation starting at the feet, working your way up to the head. Don't forget to speak slowly... "Relax your feet and legs, soften your belly, relax your fingers and hands, arms, let your shoulders be soft, focus on your head, let it be heavy and supported by the ground, soften your cheeks and eyes, eyelids, back of head..." 
Whenever I decide to take time to sit and meditate with my daughter I feel it is one of the best things I decided to do all day. It sets a tone for the day.  Most importantly be authentic and have fun. Let your kids lead the way. You can do it!

Lore Deighan
Lore Deighan
Each of the four classes made different versions of masks over the past couple months, and they will be on display in the Breezeway Gallery at the Floyd Center for the Arts, February 10th -  April 1st. 

We looked at pictures of masks from around the world and contemplated reasons for using masks such as religious or spiritual ceremony, hiding ones identity and celebration. 

This study has tied in nicely as a part of our discussions about Community and Diversity, one of our school values.  Each class made masks from different materials ranging from plaster to paper mache, collage to cardboard, and each and every mask is truly unique and beautiful, just as every child is. 

Along with the masks, we will also display each student's self portrait that they made in their classrooms for our Martin Luther King day celebration. There will be an opening reception for this exhibit along with the Hayloft Gallery New Works exhibit on Saturday, February 18th from 5-7pm. Please bring your kids by, so they can see their artwork showcased in the community!!

Contemplative Studies
The energy of mindfulness contains the energy of concentration as well as the energy of insight. Concentration helps you to focus on just one thing. With concentration, the energy of looking becomes more powerful. Because of that, it can make a breakthrough that is insight. Insight always has the power of liberating you. If mindfulness is there, and you know how to keep mindfulness alive, concentration will be there too. And if you know how to keep concentration alive, insight will come also. So mindfulness recognizes, embraces, and relieves. Mindfulness helps us look deeply in order to gain insight. Insight is the liberating factor. It is what frees us and allows us transformation to happen.   
      - Thich Nhat Hahn, Taming the Tiger Within
Create some quiet space in your home. You will see that the stillness you create on the outside begins to fill your mind. Slowly that stillness will permeate your entire being.

Afternoon Electives
Stop-Motion Movie Making, Yearbook, and
Bonsai & Nada Yoga


We've just wrapped up a session of stop-motion movie making. Students worked in groups to create two shorts: one using Lego and one using clay. Thank you to Jeremiah Sarver-Wolf for being our production assistant.

Now we are moving into a session where we will be working on the 2016-17 yearbook. We started the program looking at old yearbooks from Blue Mountain and from our office manager, Carol's high school and college. We discussed why we have yearbooks and what we'd like to have in ours, and then we broke up into two groups to get started.

Students working with Tammie are creating yearbook pages for Events like Halloween and the Fall Festival as well as Student Life pages about things like community service and field trips.

In Corey's group, kids are creating their own personal pages as well as helping younger kids make their pages. This group will also be working with teachers and staff to put together pages for enrichment and for each class.

We are also brainstorming ideas for a name for the BMS yearbook for this year and for the future. If you have any ideas, let us know!

Forest Kindergarten
Jenni Heartway
Jenni Heartway
Forest Kindergarten will start back up in March! I wonder what discoveries we will make as the woods begin to wake up from winter?

Winter Session1
March 10, 17, (not the 24), 31
April 7, 14

Winter Session2
April 28
May 5, 12, 19, 26

The program is for kids between the ages of 4 and 6, and the cost is $125 for one session or $200 for both sessions. To register, email or come by the office.

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 14: Special Person Tea (By Invitation Only)
Feb 25: Mardi Gras!
Feb 27-Mar 3: Mid-Winter Break 

Pick up for kids staying through our elective period is 4:00. Please be sure to arrive on time! After 4:15, a late pick up fee of $15 per student will be charged. 
Board of Trustees

The next meeting of the Board of Trustees is February 15th at 6:00 pm in the enrichment room. The public is welcome to attend.  


In Gratitude We Thank
Warren Lapine & Angela Kessler and Amy Tally for donating to our Fall Fundraising Campaign.

Missy Branks and Elisha Reygle for donating things for the Rainbow Jellybean Worm Snakes store.

Tammie Sarver for donating yarn to the Golden Black Koalas.

Rissy Berliner for sharing a Hannukah presentation with the Rainbow Jellybean Worm Snakes.

Robin Pritchard for donating a play kitchen.

Tree Gigante for donating various items for the school.

Kamala Bauers for donating to the Flying Rainbow Turtles classroom.

Jeremiah Sarver-Wolf for helping with our Stop-Motion Movie elective.

Alonzo, Reuben, Eva Rose, Stefi Schafer, Tammie Sarver, and Jeremiah Sarver-Wolf
for doing Adopt-a-Highway.

Linda Johnson
for helping in the classroom.

Susan C. Heath, CPA, for keeping our books.

Beegle Landscaping & Lawn Care for taking great care of our grassy areas.

Citizens Telephone Cooperative for donating internet services.

Clark Gas & Oil for keeping us and our water toasty warm.  



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