Variety is the spice of life!

Woodland students continue to enjoy the snow! The second day of our Winter Program included skiing at Cannon and skiing and snowshoeing at school. Cold temperatures created the perfect opportunity to set up the microscope outside and look at the detailed beauty of snowflakes and their specific attributes. A mild winter day offered the chance to make GIANT snowballs with sticky snow, and snowmen then dotted the surrounding landscape. Offerings in support of student centered learning included a continuation of Tye working with Bill Church and completing all the soldering and circuitry required for his light saber, while Yarrow, who is interested in learning about how to apply make-up to dramatic affect as part of her Theatrical Thespians Journey, spent some time with Amanda at Fresh learning how to do just that. Free Choice was filled with string art, story writing, fuze beads, blocks, and making snowball launchers. One Read Aloud group is reading "The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane," by Kate DiCamillo, another is reading "My Name is Sally Little Song," by Brenda Woods, while our oldest group is reading "King Arthur and His Noble Knights," by Thomas Malory, with a modern rendering by John Steinbeck.

Before it melts...

Students, teachers, (and parents!) have had a glorious week in the snow! Skiing, sledding, tubing, snowshoeing, igloo building, snow forts, snowmen, snowball fights...we've done it all! One group of students harvested logs in the woods and sledded them out in order to begin building their model log cabin. Tye worked on perfecting the circuitry for his light saber with a little help from Bill Church, while Olivia and Yarrow went to the Hopkins Center to view a Cuban Dance performance. Many structures were built using Keva planks as students experimented with balance and proportion. We welcomed John Whitney as a Music Instructor, worked on letter making, Lego kits and mapping coordinates, and enjoyed a string art offering. The varied Journey topics continue to be explored and skills continue to be honed in MSE and OSE. We are grateful for our parent volunteers at Cannon who made our first ski day a resounding success!

Woodland Middle School students visit White Mountain School

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A big THANK YOU to Allison Letourneau and the entire White Mountain School community for such a warm welcome! We enjoyed sitting in on Jacob's sophomore English class and learning about grammatical markers as they pertain to poetry. It was also fun to listen to WMS students read their chosen poems aloud. Rebecca had great insights into how to prepare for ninth grade Algebra, while so many students helped us every step of the way. Thank you all!

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Welcome 2018!

The first few school days at Woodland in 2018 were bursting at the seams with activity as students came back to school after the winter holiday. Despite the cold, students chose to play outside digging tunnels, making forts, creating snow slides, and generally having fun in the glorious snow piles. Visiting artist Doug Desjardins spend a morning at the school working with students and brainstorming about ideas for a large scale project. OSE students successfully negotiated the newest escape room at Time Quest NH, The General Store. Talk about teamwork in action! Teachers conducted an offering about Telling Time and students explored solving mazes and chain reactions using maze blocks and Keva planks. Origami critters and costumes were made, and we had the pleasure of watching an original puppet show using all hand made paper puppets, written, produced, and performed by Penelope, Victoria and Nina.

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The Joys of the Season Abound

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Our final weeks of the 2017 school year have been filled with festive and fun activities! Fresh snowfall has created a palette for sledding and fort building, along with rolling huge snowballs for huge snowmen. Students trekked to the Woods Trail and harvested a tree upon which they strung lights and all sorts of hand made ornaments. Emma led several jewelry making offerings for those extra special holiday gifts, while Alex taught students how to make gorgeous wreaths using greens and dried flowers. Brent, master of character voices, read Wolf Story to one of our Read Aloud groups. Swimming continued on Thursday mornings and Spanish with Cecily continued on Tuesday mornings. Jessie led a quilt offering and Melissa led a Health Class.

The varied Journey topics included the making of making a Polar Express model, string painting, drawing, and ornament making. Tye is making a light saber from scratch, soldering together lights and circuitry to make his final product. Ori continues to write his page-turning fantasy novel, Leo is writing, directing, filming and starring in his own original Fan Film, while Cole has finished carving the first side of what will be our new Woodland Community School road side sign. Yarrow is composing and writing her own songs and lyrics for an original musical, Ani is practicing her German, and Olivia made a truly amazing wreath. Miles, Pilot, Walter and Tyler are outside daily working on their Pioneering Skills with the goal of building a small log cabin.

Amidst this activity, our wonderful group of parents set aside time in their days to join us for Parent-Teacher conferences, for which we are grateful. The Farm To Table crew is cooking and planning daily and the smells emanating from the kitchen are mouth watering! Our last day of school for the 2017 year will be filled with student cooking and caroling as we feast together and then share in our traditional Secret Santa hand made gift exchange. Wishing you all the joys this holiday season has to offer, we thank you for the gift of your time, talents, and children!

Welcome Winter!

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This week at Woodland has been replete with activity! A Learn to Play Lego workshop tested the skill of following directions for many students, while others worked in the kitchen making collages. Cardboard box ice cream shop building and holiday decorating were other favorite activities. We had a guest parent reader during Read Aloud, swimming at Evergreen, our first Spanish class, a trip to the Catamount for a marionette performance, music lessons, and a visiting student. During Journey students are working on carving, pioneer skills, making a train, a talent show, egg decorating, script writing, costume making, and drawing. Lots of painting is happening during both Free Choice and Journey. And through it all, we are reminded of the power of taking a moment to simply pause, observe, and experience the joy of freshly fallen snow.

Pioneers Skills, Theatrics, and Building!

Everyone came back to school rested and ready to go after Thanksgiving break! During Free Choice several offerings engaged the students such as making potions and parachutes. Our Profile intern, Emma, ran a Number Shakers workshop while our first dusting of snow created a flurry of sled building. (ha, get it? flurry?) Since music lessons with Priscilla have started on a weekly basis at the school, more kids than ever are practicing piano and trying their hand at a variety of instruments. Wanting to know what it felt like to have a cast on, Ani decided to, well, put a cast on! She layered her arm with strips of plaster cast material and constructed her own sling, though she has no intention of keeping the cast on for six weeks! Tye took to the Woods Trail to build a bridge using all the personalized boards made by families and board members at our Cider Press Potluck. Four students are currently engaged in a Pioneer Skills Journey and they also took to the Woods Trail to learn how to fell a tree after making the proper selection and to split the tree into logs. This along with learning how to properly use a saw and learning about Pioneer history kept this group busy all week. Another group of students is involved in their Theatrical Thespian Journey, making costumes, writing scripts and filming, while yet another group of students has chosen to call their Journey of Discovery Do It, as they work on the wood shop porch carving, drilling and sanding prior to writing about the history of the  medieval weaponry they are creating out of wood. Friday will take us to see Air Play at the HOP rounding out yet another magical week at Woodland!

Mirror, mirror, on the wall.....

During this season of being thankful, we reflect on how fortunate we all are to be a part of the Woodland community. We have an amazing group of parents who volunteer as chaperones, readers, quilters, musicians, cooks, board members, leaders of special offerings and classes, and donators of a variety of resources. Perhaps more importantly, this same group of parents supports the mission of Woodland and sends their children to school every day with love and support for the program...and full lunch boxes! Our board continues to push us to be better every day by bringing new ideas and a level of commitment to Woodland that keeps us progressive in education. And yes, we also love the treats that show up in our mailboxes on occasion! But, have you ever wondered how the students reflect at Woodland? Reflection is about students becoming aware of their own thinking processes, and being able to make those transparent to others. It enables assessment of the "why" and "how" of the learning, and what needs to be done as a result. Reflection readily follows from self or peer assessment. And this is what it looks like at Woodland:

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Multiple Intelligences

Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligences are integral to our portfolio and reflection processes. As students engage with activities, projects, offerings, games and intensives, they are recorded on each students multiple intelligences chart. Charts may be taken out daily, weekly, or as a Journey ends and the portfolio process is begun with items added to the intelligence that best fits the activity and/or project. The chart includes activites from all parts of the day from Morning Circle to Read Aloud, and everything in between.

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Reflection Sheets

Planning and Reflection sheets may be used for any project or activity during Free Choice or Journey. They support both the planning and the reflection process and are used for each project or activity a student engages in. Students are expected to complete planning/reflection sheets for at least sustained projects, intensives, activities and offerings. 

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Portfolio Process

The portfolio process begins at the end of each Journey and includes reflection on all parts of the day for the full length the Journey sustained. The portfolio process takes place generally 4-8 times per year. This process includes a whole school brainstorm on as many projects, activities, books, intensives, offerings, games and other happenings that can be remembered, and then moves to an individual process where students reflect on what their selections demonstrate:

a new skill, a struggle, a success or an improvement.

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Informal Discussioin

A frequent and simple tool that teachers use for reflection is a check-in or informal discussion around the snack or lunch table, while at recess tossing a ball back and forth, or during a van ride. Discussion may be facilitated or promtped by a teacher or initiated by students following the project, activity or presentation being discussed.

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Self and Peer Reflection

The aim of self and peer reflection is to increase student responsibility and autonomy. It helps students strive for a more advanced and deeper understanding of the subject matter, skills and processes and lifts the role and status of the student from passive learner to active leaner and assessor. Furthermore, it helps develop in students a better understanding of their own subjectivity and judgement. Peer assessment encourages student involvement and responsibility. Self reflection during Read Aloud allows for students to share their Rose (best part of their day,) Rosebud (what they are most looking forward to in the future,) and Thorn (ick! I didn't really like this today!)

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Thank You Letters

Thank you letters to guest presenters, teachers, supporters, etc. allow the opportunity for reflection. When students write weekly thank you letters during Other Business they are asked to express gratitude, explain why or how the activity impacted them, and to share something they learned.

Short week, long on activities!

Leo is ready for Saratoga Comic Con this weekend as he has just about completed his cosplay costume. The detail work on this costume is impressive as was the amount of time dedicated to its completion during our Make It Journey of Discovery. Have fun, Leo! Some OSE students played games involving proper and improper fractions this week while others worked independently on writing or keyboarding skills. The OSE students chose to go to Evergreen for 90 minutes of Open Gym for their monthly Expedition. Our newly formed MSE group of students, Middle Student Experience, created goals and strategized different ways to achieve their goals. We have students designing and sewing high fashion for their dolls, forts being built, group games, reading...and occasionally, a student simply needs to have a little down time on the bean bags! Rock climbing at the North Country Climbing Center continued as did week number two of music lessons with Priscilla Whitney. Students are learning how to play guitar, piano, drums or ukulele so far. Intern Emma led a paper twirling offering and also a Zentangle offering. Opportunity was abound for fine motor skill development this week! Throw in several doses of the student invented kitty cat game along with chasing teachers around the house and we had a great four days at Woodland!

Halloween Happenings, Minecraft and Electric Fence!

What a wonderful and varied week we have had! The Halloween committee did an outstanding job at creating a Haunted Walk on the Woods Trail complete with spooky decorations and haunted music. The day continued with a parade of costumes, a Halloween dance party, limbo, and trying to eat donuts from a string hanging from our crabapple tree. Some of the older students challenged Ali with the Electric Fence activity, while WMSI challenged our students with a team building Minecraft activity. We had paper twirling with our favorite intern, Emma, in one room and geometry happening in tandem in another room. Paul worked with Miles and Pilot on creating their own topographic maps, and Kathy took our newly formed group, Middle Student Experience, to the Inkwell to work on their self-selected goals for the year. Meanwhile, the OSE group had an impromptu expedition to wonder at the Wild Ammonoosuc in all its glory after our torrential rainfall and windstorm earlier in the week. And our youngest student grabbed a shovel and pitched right in with Farmers Tim and Matt as they added another step and a pile of gravel to the front of our school. Thanks, Walter!

I wonder what happens when...

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...it's a rainy day at Woodland? 

We play outside in the rain of course! We love splashing in puddles and playing tag in the rain! Miles and Kathy made a measuring stick to measure the depth of the brook and they kept the results recorded on a chart. We were all amazed at how deep the brook was at the beginning of the day, and how many inches it had dropped by the end of the day!

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...a student asks to learn how to read?

We teach them, of course! Using a variety of approaches, we meet the child where he or she is at and teach them to read one sound at a time.

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...the school day begins?

We begin each day with morning circle. Morning circle takes place outside and brings the entire group of school children together to begin each and every day through a cooperative game and/or activity. Students then go over the plans for the day before beginning Free Choice.

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...a child expresses curiosity?

Whenever a child is curious about an idea, we pursue it! Whether it is air propelled race cars, making crystals with borax, creating lava lamps with alka-seltzer tablets or wondering what it would be like to be the author of a book, each student pursues his or her own curiosities in his or her own unique way.

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...we have a special visitor?

Students and families alike were rapt with attention when storyteller and musician Odds Bodkin came to Woodland! With his celtic harp, and 12-string guitar, he enchanted young and old alike with his stories of empathy and kindness. Needless to say, one hour was not nearly long enough!

Music, Movie, Mountain, Metal!

Our week began with an expedition to the Hopkins Center in Hanover to see David Gonzales and his Tales from the Latino World. Evidently, several Woodland students were dancing in the aisles and once again, students and teachers took to the stage! OSE students spent a morning at Ships Coy, a forge in Lyman, where they learned and practiced a variety of techniques from blacksmith, Med Chandler. Each student had the opportunity to make his own hand forged hook and the hooks were put together to create a beautiful coat rack. Teachers worked with students in a variety of ways to increase understanding and deepen student learning in areas of their choice. Intern Emma painted The Scream by Edward Munch...on Ani's hair! Three of our students hiked to the Greenleaf Hut with Lily and had an early glimpse of winter weather. Jessie was back for more quilting and Paul was back for the final teepee building workshop out on the Woods Trail. We welcomed Priscilla Whitney to Woodland as a guest music teacher. Priscilla, or "Whit" as she has asked the students to call her, gave lessons on piano, guitar, bass and drums. We hope she will return for more lessons in the future. Rounding out our week on Friday will be a visit from Cameron Shaw-Doran who is visiting us with his drone. Cam will be showing students how the drone works and will then release the drone to fly over the school and the farm and take photos!

A closer look at the "Make It" Journey

Over the past few weeks, we have shared photos and snippets about what is happening during the portion of our day at Woodland that is devoted to the Journey of Discovery. Our movie makers and script writers have been working tirelessly on their filming, even taking a trip around Littleton in the school van in order to gather film footage. They are exploring makeup and props as well as advanced filming techniques and are gaining iMovie computer skills. An added benefit to their Journey is the interpersonal skills they are negotiating as they learn about working successfully in a group.

Several students are choosing to work with Legos. Some are making multi-roomed homes complete with swimming pools and spiral staircases. Others are making battle scenes along with pirates and cannons. Depending on individual skill level, perhaps these students are also adding a story to their Lego tableau as another layer of skill development. We have students using story boards for the first time, drawing pictures and adding descriptive sentences to caption their pictures. This is hard work for emerging writers!

Knitting is ongoing. Our group of knitters began by learning to knit with a row of ten stitches and have worked their way up to knitting a thirty stitch row. Some cosplay costumes are finished, while others will be in the works for weeks. The detail is amazing! Carving and woodworking continue along with the associated skill development with each project, be it beginner or advanced. Kids are coming to school with new ideas every day, from electronics to campaigns raising awareness about wolves, and we continue to arrange for offerings and intensives that support student centered learning. This week we hosted WMSI once again for filming, OSE students explored the corn maze in Danville, VT, Jessie spent a morning quilting with us, Jenny took students all around the Woodland/Adair trails, and we are ending our week with a visit from New Hampshire author and humorist Rebecca Rule. Becky will read a couple of her books and round out her engagement with us by talking about the writing process. 

Pumpkins, polymers, piano...and more!

We had a beautiful hike up Sugarloaf and along the Trestle Trail. Leaves were collected and several students made stained glass windows out of their leaves. Other projects completed during the Make It Journey of Discovery included several fuze bead designs, experimenting with orbies/polymers and color mixing, and making slime using thermochromic pigment.  Ori is making music while Ali is writing down his composition. Many pumpkins were beautifully painted and are now adorning our front steps. Fairy houses were built and decorated both inside and outside, and students enjoyed a field trip to the Catamount Center for the Arts and a one man showing of the Wunderle Circus. Some Woodland students even found themselves up on stage and part of the act!  We took a field trip to the Love Yarn Shop in Bethlehem so our knitters could select their own yarn for the felted bag project they are working on during Journey with Lynn. Paul came back for round two (out of three) of teepee building on the Woods Trail and students enjoyed a drumming workshop with our Profile student intern Emma.

Rounding out our September at Woodland

Our week began with a field trip to the Hopkins Center for the Arts to see a musical revue titled Dragons Love Tacos! Students had lunch and played games on the green in Hanover after the performance. In support of all the costume making during Journey, another group of students had a visit to the Bread and Puppet Theatre in Glover, VT, where they experienced a first hand tour from Peter Schumann. Peter also taught the students his process for making all the masks for Bread and Puppet. Tuesday was an all day hike and swim adventure to Lonesome Lake. We began a group weaving project and hosted WMSI twice in one week: once for a Makey Makey Workshop and another day for building catapults. The "Make It" Journey of Discovery continues with much costume making and script writing, along with original Lego built projects, the continuation of knitting, paper airplanes, and a new addition to our outside space...laser forts! In support of our budding film writers and actors, we hosted an acting and singing workshop with Jamie Feinberg and Ross Boyd, and Cole is receiving carving tutorials from Evan Perkins in support of his Capstone Project. OSE students enjoyed a goal-setting outing to Maia Papaya along with delicious smoothies while back at Woodland, several students were learning how to tell time.

We had a busy week, try to keep up...

What a week! Monday's Farm to Table chefs cooked up a tasting including zucchini kale muffins and roasted brussel sprouts. Later in the week, while some students hiked up Elephants Head, others hiked Willard, and the views were incredible. Lynn came in for four days to teach knitting to several students who are progressing in their desire to make felted bags. Our emerging reading group continued their work with Ali, while one student wanted to see what would happen if he walked on eggs. They didn't break, and now he's wondering...why? During the morning, several students worked on painting personalized boards that will become a part of a new bridge to be constructed on the Woods Trail. Outside, students navigated their partner safely through a "3D minefield" as part of a compassionate communication activity. Inside, students made varyingstyles of ramps with cardboard, wooden blocks, and dominoes. A story about the life cycle of the monarch butterfly and caterpillar hunt captivated  many kids as they searched among the milkweed on the farm. Paul spent an afternoon with us on the Woods Trail teaching a group of students how to make a teepee from natural materials...to be continued! OSE students had a go at the Sieve of Eratosthenes and other math games, and all students are completely engrossed in our Journey of Discovery, Make It!

We have a Journey!

We officially have a Journey of Discovery! The students selected "Make It" as our first Journey for the year and they are busy designing, building, testing, drawing, knitting, cooking...you name it! Offerings to support Journey have included boat building and testing boats in the brook, wondering which ones would go the fastest or the straightest and how they reacted to the current of the brook. Origami has been explored as well. Our Farm to Table crew made delicious tomato soup and green beans for our tasting this week. The Middle School Read Aloud group is reading Darius & Twig by Walter Dean Myers, while the other two Read Aloud groups are engrossed in either A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck, or East of the Sun and West of the Moon, an old Norwegian fairy tale. Read Aloud is a great opportunity for students to unwind after a busy day and write in their journals, draw in their sketch books, or simply sit back and enjoy the story!

Woodland students are Making!

We began the week by picking fresh apples at Mountain Roots Farm. Apples will be pressed and cider enjoyed at our annual Fall Gathering this week. Yum! Other morning activities including walking the Woods Trail, Share, and Flower Art with Farmer Mikaela. Students harvested flowers and greenery and made their own temporary art by arranging the petals and leaves in unique arrangements on white paper. Cooking with Ali began on Friday as did Farmer for an Hour. During Journey, topic selection continued and the students have condensed their ideas into fourteen different categories. Stay tuned for further information as Journey discussions develop student ideas. Students also worked on their skills and their smarts and put on original skits to demonstrate their ideas about what our 2017-2018 School Rules should be. Skits including dancing, acting and rap! Woodland students were joined by Bill and Jeremy from White Mountain Science Inc. as we learned about tinkering and creating and ways we can pursue our personal projects and ideas during the course of this year. A group egg drop activity involved small groups using a limited selection of materials in order to protect their egg as it was first dropped from the porch, and then from a second story window. No breaks! And yet among all the activity during this abbreviated four day week, we still found time for free play!

AN AMAZING FIRST WEEK OF SCHOOL!!!

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Free Choice...

 

included dress up, insect identification, Legos, capture the flag, tag, climbing trees...

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Journey

Each student worked independently to design a magazine cover and write an article about their future selves.

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O.S.E.

Our four middle school students worked to solve the mystery of the Four 4's...

Our first week of school at Woodland was filled with the sounds of laughter, new students and activity. The students moved into their lockers and cubbies, made personalized name tags for their own spaces, named each of the school rooms, brainstormed School Rules and Journey topics, worked on magazine articles about themselves, hiked Artists Bluff and Bald Mountain, and filled both the indoor and outdoor spaces with games and giggles! While some students played with Legos, others investigated our collection of magnets exploring the effects of attraction and repulsion. Some students chose to create drawings with markers and pencils while others explored using charcoal and pastels. We celebrated a birthday and the addition of four new students to the Woodland community. Thank you for a great beginning to what will be a wonderful year!

Because sometimes, we just need to stick colored pencils in our shoes!

This business of learning is hard work! Whether we are stretching our minds or our bodies, working inside of school or outside of school, Woodland students are getting after it. This week invited students to participate in a rock climbing class at White Mountain School along with WMS Outdoor Education students extraordinaire. An all day field trip to Squam Lake Science Center and a trip to Time Quest in Littleton were also on the agenda. Yarrow offered Irish Dance lessons as part of her Journey project and all students participated in our Second Annual Trail Love Day during which we cleaned up the Woodland trails. Our first ever "You Rock" Free Choice all day Wednesday was filled with brook play and a slip 'n slide, solar balloons, balloon rockets, and a pizza picnic. Whether working on Journey projects or learning to read, playing Capture the Flag or whipping up something delicious in the kitchen, students are engaging their minds and bodies in any number of ways. On top of everything else, Woodland students are active community members with four students participating in the Creative Edge Dance recital and a student involved in community theatre.  So, yeah, every now and then, we just need to take a break and stick colored pencils in our shoes!