Enjoy your summer!

What a wonderful ending we have had to the 2017-2018 school year at Woodland! From Junkyard Traverse to the Duct Tape Challenge, from a Field Day cookout to tug-of-war, from a tram ride to the top of Cannon to our traditional last day of school at Echo Lake, each day has been action packed. We wish everyone a wonderful summer whether you remain close to him or are traveling. We are already looking forward to a wonderful 2018-2019 school year!

Be safe, have fun, and read a lot of books this summer!

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Congratulations students and graduates!

Saturday was a gorgeous day for Woodland's Spring Gathering and Graduation! Students gathered their favorite projects from throughout the 2017-2018 school year and created displays throughout the school. Parents and guests visited each student display and had the opportunity to ask questions and make comments about individual student work. After the student showcase, Leo, Cole and Ori received their diplomas and are now official graduates from Woodland Community School. Congratuations to all!

Special events and year end preparations!

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Students are hard at work and play at Woodland! A fun and energetic day was had by all at Evergreen for Open Gym. Our week also included student led kickball offerings at the Norton Pike field in Littleton and soccer and open play at the Dow Field in Franconia. We welcomed former students, Ayla and Jeb, for an Alumni Day as they led an apple pie baking offering and shared the delicious finished product. Students are collecting their work from throughout the entire year as they prepare their year end portfolios for both Student Led Conferences and Spring Gathering. This process takes time and patience and was balanced with an afternoon of brook play. A group of students spent a morning at the Rocks Estate for a Farm to Table event which included farmers and students from all over Northern New Hampshire. And of course, planning for the Positive Tracks Fun Run in support of CHaD continues as students create medals and signs, and become familiar with the course.

Spring Has Sprung and Woods Trail Fun!

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The tamarack are sprouting on the Woods Trail at Woodland and many other trees are budding out as well. Students are spending the majority of their day outside now that warmer weather has arrived. Some are recording the changes brought by spring such as changing brook depth, changing temperature in water and air, and observing plants newly sprouted. This data is being record on a chart. Some students are tromping out on the Woods Trail and listening to a teacher read to them. Others are taking their books and sitting in the crook of the crab apple tree and reading. Our Farm to Table Crew transplanted seedlings and sent home a 4-pack with every Woodland student. This same crew also cooked up some delicious pizza for an all school tasting, yum! Week Two of the student led kickball offering was a huge success as all participating students experienced the fun of a morning at the field with their peers in a non-competitive environment. We said good-bye to Emma who spent her last day with us as an intern, and we are so grateful for her time and talents this year. Many Journey projects are winding down as we approach the end of the Wild West/Science Fiction and Fantasy Journey. Many of these projects will be on display at our Spring Gathering. The last track and field practice also occurred this week and we wish all the Woodland students good luck at the North Country Track Meet on Saturday running and jumping and having fun!

Students are preparing and gearing up for the WCS  Trail Run for CHaD which is just a few short weeks away! To help race day registration and bib pick up run quickly and smoothly, we encourage families to make their donations or sign up online beforehand at:

https://www.crowdrise.com/WCSTrailRunForCHaD

Wild West, Kickball, and Graduation Prep!

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After sanding and sanding and more sanding, this group of students took their rifles out for a spin on the farm! It took a few days of hard work and attention to detail to turn out these Wild West rifles. After all the hard work, this group of boys also worked equally hard at pitching in to clean up the woodworking porch, drag things to the farm burn pile, and make sure tools were properly put back in their places.

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Tye organized and led an offering as we experienced the first of three Kickball Wednesday's at Woodland! Eleven students went to an open field in Littleton and played kickball for an hour and a half. Some were new to the sport and learned from the older students, while others have played many times in the past. Other Free Choice activities this week included Track and Field practice, Positive Tracks, and Farm to Table. We are enjoying spring at Woodland and taking full advantage of the mild weather!

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The Older students are busy finishing up projects and preparing for Graduation in June. Ori volunteered to design the invitation for Spring Gathering and Graduation while Leo volunteered to create the Passport used by all visitors and guests the day of the event. Tye is fabricating a cosplay weapon and the work on Cole's hoisting engine model continues.  Mark your calendars for Saturday, June 9th, 3pm-6pm!

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Every now and then a little nap is in order! The work of play and learning and making sense of the world around them can be exhausting for children. Fortunately, we have plenty of cushions for those cat naps whether real or pretend!

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No, our roof is not leaking. 

Anatomy of a Journey

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Mining and Gems

Students interested in deepening their knowledge of Mining and Gems are creating a map that will detail the locations of several mineral and gemstone deposits. These students are studying about each gem and/or mineral and are even making their own legend to go along with the map complete with real samples of some of the minerals they are mapping. Particular questions being asked are:  Where is graphite found? What about flouride? Oh, and how about sparkly gems like sapphires, rubies and aquamarines? And what are these minerals and gems used for?

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Fantasy

Olivia and Ani are story tellers and are spinning tales during Journey. Each has a completely different process to her writing and each story is unique! Olivia likes to type her work and is using her writing as an opportunity to also practice her keyboarding skills. Ani likes to use speechnotes, a speech to text application that allows her to fluidly "tell" her story. Both Olivia and Ani are spending time on their editing skills checking for spelling and grammar as well as punctuation. They are also using an extensive list of adjectives and synonyms to make their writing come alive. Hopefully, we will have some stories for you to read during Spring Gathering from our budding authors!

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Fantasy/Mining

Leo is a master at cosplay and is challenging his skills by making his largest cosplay yet! Inspired by the video game Final Fantasy 10, Leo is creating a replica of a sword called Cloud's Buster. The sword is five feet long and because it is being made out of lightweight foam, Leo has created an internal support structure out of PVC piping. Though Leo is one of the  many students who learn best by doing, he is also working on his writing skills during Journey by creating a daily log entry detailing his progress, challenges and successes during this process.  Cole, another student who prefers to work with his hands, is building a scale model of a hoisting engine to show one way in which gold was extracted from mines. Along the way he is choosing to learn about the history of gold mining and mining operations.

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The Wild West

Everybody wants to be a cowboy, and this group of students is no exception! Students sanded their pine gun bodies until they were smooth as silk before adding dowel rods for the barrels, PVC for the cylinders, a cut nail for the trigger and hammer, a plumbing bracket for the trigger guard and an electrical staple for the gunsite. Along the way students are learning about tool use as well.  Stories and facts about the Wild West were read by a teacher while students were hard at work. Students heard about legendary outlaws, gunfighters and lawmen such as Jesse James and Billy the Kid as well as Wyatt Earp, Doc Holiday and Wild Bill Hickock. Next, they will be learning about women of The Wild West such as Annie Oakley and Calamity Jane!

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The Wild West

After reading about dugout shelters with a teacher, a group of students was curious...what other kinds of houses are there? How does the environment in which one lives determine house type? What kinds of homes were built in The Wild West? This group of students is using pallets to build their own house. They are installing a working door with hinges along with making a handmade rug and curtains for the interior. For some, this is the first time interest has been shown in using tools such as a saw and they are working hard!

A barn visit on a rainy day

The rain was falling and eight Woodland students made their way to Lisa's barn to learn about cowboys and horses in support of our Wild West Journey. Lisa shared how tough the cowboy life used to be for both the cowboys and the horses, and how many thousands of head of cattle were moved from Texas to Kansas and Oklahoma following trails such as the Chisholm Trail. Students fell in love with Nugget and Reiny, two gentle beings who welcomed the attention of their curious visitors. Students learned how to groom the horses, clean out hooves, and feed them treats. Thank you, Lisa!

Sap's boiling and a new Journey has begun!

After several weeks of discussion, exploration, and considering the big question, "What do I want to learn?" we have decided on a Journey! Students chose either The Wild West/Mining and Gems or Science Fiction/Fantasy to explore for the next few weeks. We have WANTED! posters hanging up around the school, and plans to build shelters with westward expansion and pioneers in mind. Here are some of the other exciting things that the students want to delve into: gold, banks, and inflation; cowboy clothes and weapons, the geology of gemstones and where they are found, and the creation of original superheroes. This week included a trip to the Catamount to see a Taiko performance, a day of spring skiing at Cannon, continuing observations for our Signs of Spring project, and a big pot of boiling sap to begin our spring Farm to Table season!

An Alumna Visit and a Warm Welcome Back from Switzerland!

And the Journey discussions continue! Students have so many wonderful ideas about our remaining Journey topics of Science Fiction/Fantasy and Mining and Gems/The Wild West. Coming to a consensus is an exercise in diplomacy, patience, and creativity! In the meantime, students are enjoying the freedom of wearing one fewer layer while outside. We also enjoyed a visit from alum Zoe, and Cole gave the OSE group a presentation about his time spent in Switzerland along with showcasing the many wonderful items he made while at Ecole d'Humanite. We had our last day of Nordic ski program at Bretton Woods on a beautiful, sunny day. Our Music Program concluded for this year as we move to Farm To Table on Monday's and Friday's. This weeks Farm To Table crew collected sap and will boil on Monday. We hosted a visit with Positive Tracks as Team Captains Tye and Cole move forward with planning a trail run event for late this spring,  and Tyler displayed his skill at remaining absolutely still for over 40 minutes while having plaster strips applied to his face in order to make a character mask! 

Celebrating the arrival of Spring!

After one student expressed an interest in learning more about the first day of spring, the idea of the Signs Of Spring project was born. Starting on Wednesday, March 21st, all those interested gathered in the library and talked about spring and what it means about our planet, the sun, and what happens around us. We looked at the tilt of the earth and saw how our hemisphere is tilted towards the sun in summer and away from the sun in winter, and that the first day of spring is when the hemispheres are equally tilted towards the sun. Each student has a day of the week when they will participate in taking measurements and making observations of the changing outside environment -- snow depth, brook water depth, brook water temperature, air temperature, and observations of the plants around the school. We will continue to take measurements for as long as we can and will gather the data and work together to create some graphs to see what is happening! On Thursday 3/22 the snow was 4.5 inches deep, the brook water was 11 inches deep, and it was 35 degrees at 9:05 am.

We started off our week with the warm smells of freshly made bread as Priscilla Whitney (aka music teacher extraordinaire) brought in her grandmother's Universal Bread Maker which she first discovered at the World's Fair in St. Louis over 100 years ago! Students mixed and kneaded, shaped and tasted. Homemade butter was made and each participating student took home a loaf of still-warm-from-the-oven bread! Our Nordic Ski Program continued at Bretton Woods, as did our on-going Journey discussions. Students found a new use for the honeysuckle out front and practiced their numeracy skills using a variety of tools. Allison from the Littleton Studio School dropped off all the final fired and glazed pottery projects and students all pitched in to gather materials and projects to have available to prospective families at Open House this Saturday. Happy spring!

When the Circus Came to Town

Our week began with an offering led by Troy Wunderlee of Circus Smirkus!  Troy engaged students through workshops about plate spinning, juggling, devil sticks, human pyramids, lassoes and clowning. Needless to say, there was a lot of laughter at the White Mountain School which hosted our offering! We continued our nordic ski program at Bretton Woods on Tuesday while enjoying a beautiful light snowfall and the help of several parent chaperones. Thank you, parents! Parent/teacher/student conferences began this week and we rounded out the week with several Journey discussions. Our final topics are: Civil War, The Wild West, Mining and Gems, Lost Treasures, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Cooking and Stars. We can't wait to see where the discussions will take us next week!

What's a land ski?!

Welcome back from vacation week! Our third trimester is off to a great start. We began our week by working through a team building initiative on "land skis" crafted by Paul. The goal was to walk from one end of a marked area to another in coordination with the other students on the shared set of wooden skis. This required concentration, communication, and teamwork, to say the least. Knowing ones left from right also came in handy! Students and teachers debriefed after this activity and shared discovery about what was difficult or challenging, what worked, and what didn't work. The intention is to repeat the land ski challenge and similar group challenge activities from time to time throughout the year as we continue our practice of Compassionate Communication and grow as a community of learners.

We traveled to Bretton Woods for our first of three Nordic Program days and took advantage of surprisingly wonderful snow conditions. After an hour of instruction, parent chaperones, teachers and students skied in the afternoon sunshine. Thank you chaperones, we couldn't do it without you!

The OSE Expedition for the month was designed by Leo and involved ice fishing at Streeter Pond. Paul, teacher and resident New Hampshire & Maine Guide, taught the OSE students about the sport of ice fishing. Tye, Ori, and Leo caught several perch, and Leo caught a beauty of a rainbow trout.

Journey categories generated this week included:  Castles, Civil War, World War I, World War II, Cooking, Earthquakes, Flowers and Vegetables, Harry Potter, Light Bulbs and Electricity, Lost Treasures, Mining and Gems, Movie Making, Star Wars, Stars, Survival, Visual Arts, The Wild West, Wind, Clouds and Precipitation.  Feel free to brainstorm ideas with your children, we have a rich array of options from which to make a final Journey selection next week!

We rounded out the week with Eden teaching the last in a series of health classes and OSE students making a trip to Maia Papaya to set goals for the third trimester. OSE goals this trimester centered around Language Arts skills, Geography and Math.

 

Thanks to our membership in the Arts Alliance of Northern New Hampshire and to the generosity of White Mountain School sharing their space, Woodland Community School hosted Troy Wunderlee of Circus Smirkus to begin our week! Students had a blast learning how to twirl plates, clown with human pyramids, use diablo sticks and lassoes, and there was no shortage of giggles and laughter to begin our Monday morning! Music with Priscilla and John Whitney continued followed by another glorious day on the snow at Bretton Woods. We hosted visiting teachers from Mountain Village Charter School in Plymouth, NH, as well as day one of parent-teacher-student conferences. A couple of lively and informative discussions about potential next Journey topics occurred and we have whittled the choices down to:  

We concluded our Friday by doing some initial Open House prep work during Other Business including sign making and sprucing up our indoor spaces.

The Journey Process and Field Trip Fun!

After some experimenting with a format where students could choose their own Journey of Discovery topic, Ali’s check in group transitioned into a small group Journey as a practice for when the whole school comes back together for an all school Journey of Discovery in March. The Journey choosing process began with some practice putting items, like animals and types of clothing, into categories.  Some of the categories included different climates around the world, and the different seasons. After some discussion of how a broad Journey topic could encompass a whole range of specific projects or questions to be explored, students each wrote some questions that they had or specific things that they would like to do or learn about. The ideas were put into categories and the categories were discussed and voted on. Some of those initial ideas included, “building cardboard houses”, “volcanoes”, “tornadoes”, and “crystals”. A lively and wonderfully collaborative conversation about how we could combine some of the ideas led us to the idea of a Shelters in Wild Nature Journey of Discovery where we would make small cardboard houses, learn about volcanoes and tornadoes, and make crystals out of cardboard. Each day began with a chapter from The Magic School Bus “Twister Trouble” book followed by an activity. Students created a cardboard house village, a map of the village, learned how to plot coordinates and mapped the destructive paths of tornadoes. They made a few films of tornadoes going through their village, and later of our big cardboard volcano erupting in the village. We watched some educational videos about these natural wonders and explored books on the topics. The Journey was wrapped up with some reflection on what we learned and new questions that we now have were shared: “What are all the types of volcanoes?”, “How thick are volcanoes?”, and “How does the earth make lava?”.  Awesome job Linus, Brandelwyn, Nina, Penelope, and Victoria on a lively, productive, collaborative, and successful Journey of Discovery!

Other events of the week included a trip to the Catamount Theater and the Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium. Students had a blast with the hands-on displays and exploring the cases of swords and other unique items, as well as viewing a planetarium show. Our mild winter day found Tye outside practicing his fly fishing technique and Leo found a warm spot to read in the sun. We wrapped up our Pottery Intensive this week as well, and finished items should be ready for students to take home after February break. 

 

 

A varied week at Woodland

This week at Woodland was a combination of play, homemade food, experiments, completion of projects, and adventures outdoors! We had another beautiful Winter Program day at Cannon, while the students at Woodland explored trails at The Rocks and rolled down the snowy hills. Olivia spent a couple of days in the kitchen cooking and then treated us to bliss balls, strawberries dipped in chocolate and coconut, and homemade heart-shaped gummies. Yum! Students wore their favorite pajamas to school for Pajama Day and our intern, Emma, conducted an offering about growing mold...results will be in next week so stay tuned! Students handmade over forty Valentine's to take to the residents at Riverglen House and also exchanged their own handmade Valentine's at school. Ali read and taught about crazy weather phenomena such as tornados and volcanoes, and then the students made their own volcano. Among all these activities were music lessons with the Whitney's and pottery at the Littleton Studio School. And yes, we are still sledding and playing in the snow on a daily basis!

A picture is worth a thousand words...

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Winter Program

Nina is a trooper, working hard to get through the deep snow with her snow shoes!

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Giving back...

Students make Valentine's to deliver to the Riverglen House in Littleton.

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to/two/too...

A game of "Scoot" as students practice the use of homophones!

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Journey

Tyler works on finishing the plaster mask he has been working on steadily now for at least two weeks!

Woodland's Got Talent!

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In a remarkable display of talent, Woodland students took to the stage and performed a variety of acts. Yarrow's Journey project was to produce and execute a Woodland talent show and this she did with self-confidence and poise. Ori provided his audience with an amazing original dance routine to lively jazz music, Linus showed us his "stuff" via dancing with light up spin balls, Olivia put together a memorable and sophisticated hip-hop dance routine, while Nina and Victoria charmed us all by singing and dancing to the song "Can't Stop the Feeling" from the movie Trolls. Olivia and Yarrow were a hysterical dynamic duo with a couple of clowning acts to keep the audience entertained during breaks between acts. Yarrow also managed to sing a solo as well as produce and plan the entire show. Everyone was a winner! Well done Woodland!

Pottery at the Littleton Studio School continued this week with students taking classes in hand building, introduction to throwing, or advanced throwing. Music lessons with the Whitney's also continued...rumor has it that a ukulele concert may be forthcoming! Another glorious day on the snow was had by students either at Cannon or on the trails surrounding Woodland. Free Choice was buzzing with Keva planks, magic tricks, Legos, slime making, dominoes, paper masks and crowns, while students continued to work on and finalize their Journey projects as we prepare for our next round of Journey topic selection. 

A close up look at our Pioneering Skills Journey of Discovery

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The Pioneering Skills Journey has been all about hard work and perseverance.  Four students started by learning how to use an axe, hatchet, saw, and drawknife. Once they accomplished tasks like splitting wood, felling a tree, limbing branches, and peeling bark with a drawknife, they were ready to put those skills together towards building a model cabin. They worked diligently felling small fir trees for two days and worked as a team hauling their logs back to school. Next came cutting the logs to length and the tedious task of peeling off all the bark. Their understanding of the grueling work the pioneers performed on a day to day basis has grown with each task they have pursued. With some more time and a lot of hard finish work, their log cabin promises to be a great final project in an already successful Journey. Great work Walter, Miles, Pilot and Tyler!

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!