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:


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.


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. 


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.


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.


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!)


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...


...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!


...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.


...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.


...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.


...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!



Free Choice...


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



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



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!

Of course we swim on warm days at Woodland, doesn't everybody?

What a beautiful, warm week we've had at Woodland filled with swimming and floating in the brook, sliding down the slide, catching caddisflies and releasing tadpoles. Thanks to all the delicious goodies donated to the OSE bake sale and to the Littleton CoOp for hosting us. Olivia's "Chopped" Journey project filled the kitchen with delicious smells and lucky judges for the tasting. Students are working on a variety of projects including construction of a school bell tower, a hand carved Iroquois war club, cosplay costumes, quilting squares, scrapbook pages, and student-led conference scripts. We will round out our week with a visit from a group called T.I.G.E.R. from Plymouth State University.

Spring and Music are in the air at Woodland !

Spring has been filled with laughter and energy along with sunshine at Woodland Community School!  Students are full throttle in our Amazing Sports Journey of Discovery working on projects involving fishing, obstacle courses, track and field, kickball, cooking competitions, Irish dance, biking and hiking. Farm to Table students made mason bee homes for the farm and then painted them with bright colors. The homes will be installed on the farm and will hopefully attract these wonderful pollinators. On the warm-ish days we have taken advantage of playing in the brook and reading outside. Zoe has purchased instruments with the funds she raised promoting her Capstone Project, Music for Woodland, and we are poised to begin our music program next school year.

Science Interim at Woodland

Our own in house Mad Scientists were busy all week with science making slime of various shapes, sizes and textures, speakers, boats, density columns, studying ocean layers and polymers, and so much more as we work during our Science Interim. Students are also deciding what the next Journey of Discovery will be and have narrowed down what began as a lengthy and varied list to:  Lights, Camera, Action!, Legendary Lands, and Amazing Sports. A group of students chose to go see Macbeth at Jeans Playhouse in Lincoln, while all students had the opportunity to spend time once again this week at Littleton Studio School working with clay. Farm to Table students helped out in the green house and were rewarded with a large bag of potatoes, which they promptly turned into delicious potato pancakes!

Woodland transformed into the Great Hall at Hogwarts and Diagon Alley!

Today students celebrated the end of the Harry Potter Journey of Discovery with a culminating event...a mouthwatering feast! Spicy chicken, broccoli and carrots steamed to perfection, broccoli and corn on the cob, broiled potatoes, all served with a delicious pumpkin juice followed by butter beer and consumed with the theme music to the Harry Potter movies in the background.  All of these enticing goodies were made by Zoe and Cole, and so many thanks to all the contributions of food from our Woodland community. The great feast was followed up with the student version of Diagon Alley with wand shoppes and a quidditch shoppe, magic potions and herbs for sale, and of course Gringotts Bank to obtain cash for all the purchases. Along with making wands by hand, students wrote books, created a myriad of decorations transforming the school, turned experiments into magic potions, and wrote a Woodland specific script for our own Sorting Hat. It was a wonderful day rounding out our week!

Rounding out the end of March with Magic

We began our series of pottery classes at Littleton Studio School this week. The beginners are learning how to build pieces by hand, the intermediate group is receiving an introduction to throwing, while the experienced students are in an advanced throwing class. Lily led the school in an offering about how to make quill writing pens while students crushed a variety of berries to make their own ink. The Farm to Table crew helped Farmer Tim restock nesting boxes for the chickens with fresh hay along with harvesting fresh alder for chicken roosts. The older group of students had their last WMSI class and we also welcomed Jessie with Advice to the Players theatre group. Jessie led an offering pertaining to Shakespeare in advance of their production of Macbeth we will see next week. Carolyn and Mary Jo shared their prowess with potions and transfiguration as students conducted several different experiments using a variety of materials. Stay tuned for information about our Harry Pottery Feast!

Screenagers Community and Film Event, May 5th!

    Join Woodland Community School of Bethlehem, NH and the worldwide Alternative Education Resource Organization (AERO) on May 5th for an evening of film, education, discussion, and connection at the Colonial Theater in Bethlehem, NH.  

    This event features a screening of the documentary, Screenagers, which probes into the vulnerable corners of family life, including the director's own, and depicts messy struggles, over social media, video games, academics and internet addiction. Through surprising insights from authors and brain scientists solutions emerge on how we can empower kids to best navigate the digital world. http://www.screenagersmovie.com/  

    Not to be missed is a keynote from Dr. Peter Berg, AERO Representative, Author of the Tao of Teenagers and founder of Youth Transformations focused on alternative, holistic, integrated educational theory, and integrated health. Come enjoy opportunities to connect with local independent schools, businesses, and non-profits who celebrate the arts, education, and the outdoors, hors d’oeuvres prepared by Woodland students in their Farm to Table program, and AERO’s pop-up bookstore. Small group, round table discussions will wrap up this engaging evening!

5:30AERO Pop-Up Bookstore, Networking and Education Fair, Hors d’oeuvres
6:00 Key note Speaker, Peter Berg
6:30 Screenagers Movie
7:45 Round Table Discussion in Small Groups
8:30 AERO Pop-Up Bookstore, Networking and Education Fair, Hors d’oeuvres

Suggested Donation: $10 per adult,  $6 per student