It's time to sign up for Summer Camp, and registration for the 2017-2018 school year will begin during our Spring Celebration and Open House on Monday, March 20.

This year our summer lineup includes two Camp Classics as well as two new camps. Also new this year, each camp (except Forest Kindergarten) will have a separate group for the older kids (10-12) to work on more advanced skills.

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

Shelly Fox
Shelly Fox
Throughout this school year, we've shared that we are reviewing our fundamental school values: Relationships and Balance, Community and Diversity, and Reverence for Life. Since we returned from winter break, we have been exploring our Community and Diversity value.
With our school-wide self-portrait exhibit (currently being displayed at the Floyd Center for the Arts, thanks to Lore), our school-wide letter-writing project, making valentines for refugees, and participating in the First Amendment event at Floyd Ecovillage, along with the unique projects and discussions happening in each classroom, the exploration of this value has been a rich experience for all of us.

Our staff also began looking at our own identities by using this reflection tool from Teaching Tolerance. The discussion we had provided important insights for us all.

This exploration of our Community and Diversity value has undoubtedly informed our collective experiences over the last two months, and I noticed this in my own frame of reference when stepping away from the crowd for a moment at our recent Mardi Gras fundraiser.

Looking at the hundreds of people there, some in outrageous costumes, some dressed up in fancy clothes, others dressed comfortably, some dancing, some working, some talking quietly with others, I felt a deep sense of appreciation for the support and acceptance found in our unique Floyd community and beyond. Like the brilliant glass pieces of a kaleidoscope, working together to create new combinations of patterns and colors and experience, this event would simply be far less  meaningful without the contribution of each person who attends, the passionate performances of the entertainers, the diligent work of school staff and community volunteers, and the support of our many sponsors.

We might be able to celebrate something without all of these pieces, but it would not be the distinctive celebration of community and diversity that it is. Thank you to all who helped make our 8th Floyd Mardi Gras a great success!

The Lunas
Holly Haworth
Holly Haworth
Herpetology and Herpepoetry!

A student from Ferrum College is visiting the classroom each Monday to teach the students about reptiles and amphibians ("herps" being the vernacular term for those critters, herpein from the Greek, meaning "to creep"). The Lunas have been learning the difference between frogs and toads and between venomous and non-venomous snakes, and they are also enjoying the colorful photographs of the salamanders and newts that live in our area.

This is one of the great reference materials we are using in our study.

One of those salamanders is called the Eastern hellbender, a gorgeous, magical Appalachian species that has nearly disappeared from the creeks and streams it once thrived in. The hellbender is the third-largest aquatic salamander species in the world and the largest in N. America - an adult can weigh around 6 pounds, grow up to two feet long, and live for 30 years. Did you know that there have been dramatic declines in amphibian populations since the 1980s? A third of the world's amphibians - which thrived on earth for 300 million years - are threatened. Around 170 species have gone extinct in the past two decades.

Photograph by George Grall - National Geographic

The Lunas have each been given a herp species to research and learn about. As part of our coinciding herpepoetry unit, I have asked the students to embody their species and write persona poems. Through this embodiment creative exercise, students get to imagine what it is like to be one of these small creatures coming into contact with humans. They get to imagine the creature's habitat and how it finds its food, where it sleeps.

Eva the box turtle.

I've included Alonzo's poem here about the green snake. In the photos, you can see the students imagining what it is like to exist in the world as a different species. I am happy to celebrate these small (and, it seems, almost forgotten, fading) forms of life that are so different from our own, so colorful and unique and ancient, and so important.

Billy the timber rattlesnake, and Alonzo the green snake.

Finding Food
by Alonzo

I slither through grass,
looking for insects to much on,
I listen to the river as I pass.
Feeling the damp cool ground
below me. My prey won't see
me, for I am hidden. I've found
my lunch but then they're
bitten by something bigger so I
must flee.

Wait, it's something bigger, but
not quite like me. Oh my! It is a
child I see. They've taken my
lunch and I must run, for they
might try to hurt me. I'm
slithering through the meadow,
I must go back and wait to
hunt, then I will finally
have my lunch.

Now I've finally got food, and
back to my den, about to lay
down and coil up after the
sunny day. I slither through
grass and now I will eat,
then take a good nap in this
summer heat. Now I'm coiling up
to end the day, right here in
the sun where I lay.

Golden-Black Koalas
Shelly Sherman
Shelly Sherman
"The word failure is imperfect. Once we begin to transform it, it ceases to be that any longer. The term is always slipping off the edges of our vision, not simply because it's hard to see without wincing, but because once we are ready to talk about it, we often call the event something else - a learning experience, a trial, a reinvention - no longer the static concept of failure." Sarah Lewis writes about how failure and creativity are partners in The Rise:
Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Search for Mastery.

The Golden Black Koalas have been practicing failure and working through frustration as they experience our Creativity Lab. Creativity abounds!! These problem solvers are working with non-traditional materials to solve problems from creating a machine to rescue a small object, to creating a way to project an object across the room. They are practicing the skill of mindfully trying to solve these problems by failing and trying again and again. I am so grateful for the time and space to help foster these skills, which are necessary to scientific creative thinking!!

One recent event that was in no way a failure was our Special Person's Tea! We baked cookies, dipped strawberries, and created homemade invitations for the most special people in our lives. We served our people, presented them with valentines and sang them a song.

It was a wonderful and sweet event. Below are some photos from that wonderful day.

Rainbow Jellybean Wormsnakes
Hari Berzins & Jenni Heartway
Hari Berzins
Jenni Heartway
The Rainbow Jellybean Wormsnakes welcomed our special people with a student-created menu:

Homemade fortune cookies with student-written fortunes.
Chocolate cupcakes.
Chocolate dipped pretzels.

The students worked hard to transform the classroom into a Valentine-themed tea house.

They made patterned paper chains, patterned placemats, heart-shaped crayons, and perler bead heart necklaces for all special people. The tables were covered with tablecloths and butcher paper, so special people could write notes to each other with the heart-shaped crayons.

The Wormsnakes enjoyed serving their special people and making them feel welcome. 

They ended the tea with a performance of Woodie Guthrie's Mail Myself To You.

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

Love is in the Air

BMS is a loving and caring school year-round, but it peaks every year in February. Our Special Person Tea has become a tradition, and returning students remember it from year to year. The love quickly spread throughout our classroom, and the newer kids got excited to have a party and celebrate with their families.

In preparation for the Tea, we had lots of opportunities for literacy experiences, starting with making valentines for parents, families and friends. We provided large paper hearts in valentine colors and stickers...lots of stickers. Each friend had a chance to select stickers they liked and then practiced their fine-motor skills by peeling the stickers off the sheet and sticking them tightly on their paper heart. The children wrote on their cards according to their skill level, working hard to shape individual letters and often working off a teacher-made model of words. L_O_V_E was a popular word choice.

Then, it was time to write the invitations. The Flying Rainbow Turtles collaborated during circle time to get all the important info on our invites. There will be a party ... please come... there will be cookies, and treats and cookies and tea and cookies... After writing invitations for their friends and family, the Turtles decided to send an invitation to our pen-pals, the Greenies (a pre-school class at Rainbow Riders in Blacksburg). Writing notes and letters has been an ongoing interest of the Turtles, and the Valentine celebration gave it renewed energy.

The next step in our party preparations was to decorate our room. We used finger paints to make giant harts on posters, and the children were equipped with heart-shaped doilies, streamers and tape to dress up the walls. We moved furniture and added extra seating and tables. The kids worked hard to put on table cloth, candles, one per table, and flowers on the tables. Then all that was left was to welcome our guests and enjoy each other's company.

During our celebration, we invited students and guests to make valentines for refugees in Roanoke. Not only did this tie into our letter-writing interest, but it was also a school-wide project to reach beyond our BMS community and into the world. When talking about big issues like refugees, we always make sure to explain in a way the children will understand. In this case, we simply told the children there are families that have just moved here: "What can we tell people that are new and don't have friends here yet?" The answer was simple: "We love you, come to our party, we will be your friends."
In the end there were 42 loving beings in our cozy classroom, sharing cookies and tea and reaching out to those among us that need an extra dose of Turtle love.

Love, The Flying Rainbow Turtles

Yoga & Physical Education
Sarah McCarthy
Sarah McCarthy
We've had some really nice Tuesdays recently, so I decided to take our yoga lessons outdoors. I hope you enjoy these photos of the three oldest classes.

The Rainbow Jellybean Wormsnakes...

The Golden Black Koalas....

And the Lunas...

Lore Deighan
Lore Deighan
just finished up their cool color multi-media works.  We went through all the colors of the rainbow, first exploring the warm colors and then the cool colors. They made 2-D pieces using markers, paint, collage, tissue paper and colored sand.  We worked on each piece over multiple classes, and we talked about the changes that occurred in our works as we layered materials and worked through times when we didn't want to go on. Often with young children, they will work on something for a short time and feel done, but I pushed them to keep going, pointing out the richness that develops when you can see that an artist worked REALLY long and hard on a piece.  
The RAINBOW JELLYBEAN WORM SNAKES are also working through the rainbow making just one work of art and exploring each color with various materials each class. You may notice that in their name above I used only the first four colors of the rainbow, because that is just where we are right now in the project. It all began when a student asked if we could make rainbow crayons. I have had one in the classroom for years which is highly coveted, so I was happy to follow their lead and make some more. So each week as we explore a color by talking about the color, eating something of that color (oranges, bananas, and kiwis so far), and adding that color to our work of art, the kids and I also painstakingly peel crayons to melt down and add to our rainbow crayons.  
The GOLDEN  BLACK  KOALAS  just finished working on clay projects and have moved onto drawing. Each child chose an animal that they feel connected to, or that they want to learn how to draw.  I printed pictures of their animals and how-to-draw guides, and we have spent a few classes working in our sketchbooks before beginning our final drawings. A few students have become discouraged, and we have had to work through some pretty big emotions. I keep saying, "you can't do art wrong, the only thing you can do wrong, is not try", but it is challenging to try and draw realistically and it brings up feelings of inadequacy, frustration and the desire to simply give up.  This project has definitely become a larger lesson than just drawing, but I am dedicated to helping the students work through these emotions and hopefully feel a sense of pride and accomplishment in the end.
The LUNAS  have spent the past three weeks exploring LINES, as we begin a journey through the elements of art.  We have explored using line to express emotion, using line to create form, pattern, shading and texture, and we had fun with blind contour line drawings.  One student was frustrated at first because she felt that she was being told "how to draw", but after the second day of line work she said, "I actually like my drawing, and I can see now how line is important".  I typically allow a lot of artistic freedom in this class and strongly emphasize exploration and individual creativity in my teaching, but I do believe that exploring the elements of art, as tools for creating art, can be very helpful and I was pleased to see this through a student's experience.  
Please don't forget to see your child's artwork on displayed at the Floyd Center for the Arts, through the end of March.

and thank you as always for sharing your children with me!

Afternoon Electives
Yearbook and Bonsai & Nada Yoga


Before heading into mid-winter break, the yearbook folks wrapped up working on their personal pages and event pages.


In the Beginner Bonsai and Nada Yoga class, students continue to work on learning how to care for bonsai and to practice the components of Nada Yoga. In the video below, you can hear Jagadisha and the students practicing their singing.

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
Mar 1-3: Mid-Winter Break
Mar 10: Snow Make-Up Day
Mar 20: Spring Celebration & Open House (5:30 to 7:00)
Mar 24: Snow Make-Up Day (if needed)
Mar 30: Enrichment Field Trip
Mar 31: Parent Conferences
Apr 17-21: Spring Break 
Apr 26: Give Big Day & Earth Day Work Day

As the weather continues to fluctuate dramatically, please be sure that your children have the clothes they need to stay warm at cozy. When in doubt, extra layers are a good idea. Also, for parents of Turtles and Wormsnakes, make sure your child has a complete set of clean clothes at school.  
Board of Trustees

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


In Gratitude We Thank

Clark Gas & Oil
for donating to our scholarship fund.

Dogtown Roadhouse and the Sun Music Hall, Skyline Bank, Chef Richard Perry, Sol Roots, Laginappe, Badunkafunk, Jam Sandwich, DJ Rahbee, Flirting with Chemicals, Gyroscopic, John Wilson & Johnny Sutherland, Katie Wells Dance, Maggie Blankenship, City Magazine, Citizens Telephone Cooperative, Floyd Rustic, Red Rooster Coffee Roaster, Buffalo Mountain Kombucha, Chaos Mountain Brewing, Design Omnea, El Charro Restaurant, Foggy Ridge Cider, June Bug Center, Southern Print and Graphics, 7 Springs Farm Supply, Adam Lake Ceramics, Agatha Grimsley, Alan Graf, Allen Canterbury, Alonzo Emmett, Andrea Goodrum, Anne Vaughan Designs, Apple Ridge Farm, Archer Berzins, Barb Gillespie, Benji Saunders, BMS Golden Black Koalas, BMS Rainbow Jellybean Worm Snakes, Bondi Studio, Brigitte Williams, Carly Harvey, Carol Volker, Chantilly Farm, Chaz Freels, Chris Thompson, Cocoa Mia, Corey Avellar, Country Store, Crystal Mountain Beeswax Candles, Dancing Dog Tees, Dylan Locke, Ed Gralla, Elisha Reygle, Elisha Reygle, Ella Berzins, Emily Williamson, Enone Mellowspring, Eric Wolf, Eva Dyer , Ezra Ford, Farmer Supply, Fat Bean Farm & Food Co, Floyd Farmers Market, Floyd Fitness, Floyd Rustic, Floydfest, Fred Harris, Gentle Giant Massage, George Penn, Grateful Steve, Green Label Organics, Greg Sherman, Hari Berzins, Harvest Moon, Healing Tree Wellness Center, Holly Haworth, Hope Sharp, Inge Terrill, Jagadisha,
Jagadisha, James Herndon, Jamie Reygle, Janiah Allen, Jayn Avery, Jeff Liverman, Jenni Heartway, Jeremy Hagy, Jessica Talley-Haynes, Jody Franko, John Wilson, John Winnicki, Johnny Sutherland, Joringel Starchild, JR, Justin Grimes, Justin Miller, Karl Berzins, Katie Wells, Kim Kessler, Kristan Morrison, Layla Emmett, Laura Jo Powell, Laura Jo Powell, Laurie Tucker, LEAP, Leia Jones, Lily Miller, Lisa Lotek, Lore Deighan, Luke Staengl, Maggie Blankenship, Martha Sullivan, Mary Brown, Mason Adams, Matt Lucas, Medina Mercantile, Melissa Maynard, Mellowspring Family Farm, Michael Keyes, Mike Kirby, Monkey Business, New Mountain Mercantile, Pam Frazier, Paper Bird Studio & Design, Penny Lane, Perrin Heartway, Phoenix Hardwoods, Photographic Dreams, Punkee Herbals, Red Rooster Coffee Roaster, Republic of Floyd, Reuben Miller, Rick Hall, Riverstone Farm, Robbie Baxter, Rowan Chantal, Sarah McCarthy, Sarah McCarthy Pottery, Sarvisberry, Scott Perry, Scott Perry, Shamama, Shanti Posadas, Shelly Fox, Shelly Sherman, Slug Saloon, Snailer, Sol Roots, Tammie Sarver, Tangled Up In Yarn, Tom Franko, Tom Phelps Pottery, Triona Bason, Two|One.Ceramics, Under the Sun Tattoo, Venus Dyer, Virginia Klara, Vital Touch Massage, White Stag Furniture Revival, and Yoga Jam
for helping make Mardi Gras a fabulous success.

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