Exploration both inside and outside at Woodland

Farmer for an Hour explored the compost pile this week and several buckets full of “volunteer” vegetables were harvested: carrots, tomatoes, potatoes, dill, gourds…you name it, they found it! In case you are wondering what we did with all the farm fresh food that was harvested, Farmer/Parent Renee turned much of the produce into delicious soup while one student experimented with making a boat out of one of the gourds!

Several students are knee deep in making spooky plans for our Halloween Happenings slated for October 31st of course, though it’s all very hush hush! Students have so far adorned the school with black cats, bats, ghosts and witches, along with a spider web and owls perched in a tree underneath a full moon. Our second week of Music with Mikaela once again filled the building with sweet voices and music inside, while outside the music of hammers hammering and saws sawing continued as our intrepid fort builders added hooks to their newly created closet along with a draw-bridge complete with a repurposed hydraulic hinge.

The first snow of the season brought joy and laughter as children rolled in the freshly fallen flakes, made mini-snow people, and of course initiated a snowball fight! Bike riding continued to be a popular activity as well.

During Journey, students continued to explore our selected Journey topic of SPACE early in the week. Explorations were offered in both Rocketry and Constellations. Highlights from these exploration days included reading about constellations in the dark by flashlight and student created original constellations along with accompanying original stories. The end of the week found students reflecting on their week of exploration and generating questions and ideas for how they would like to 'dig deeper' into specific topics of interest. Questions and ideas that were generated included building a planetarium, constructing a solar system, and writing a space story,

It has become a tradition at Woodland to offer to students the opportunity to complete a “big” hike at the end of our fall hiking season. This year two students jumped at the opportunity to hike the 4-mile Welch and Dickey Loop Trail. They were greeted with spectacular views on a beautiful fall day - what a perfect way to end the week at Woodland.

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Blast Off!

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Woodland Community School

After having chosen our Journey topic of SPACE, we moved into our EXPLORE phase of our Journey of Discovery.  The Blue Chalk room of the school house has become Space Central where books, puzzles, posters, displays and current events about space have been put out as invitations for students to begin their exploration.  Journey began with a brainstorming session on 'What do we know?' 

The rest of the week (and beginning of next week), teachers, guided by student questions, have been /will be sharing information about Space .  Through a variety of resources, (short movie clips, read aloud books, informational texts, hands on activities), students have been gaining an awareness about the topic.  Some highlights of the week included:  Toilet Paper Solar System:  Students measured the relative distances of the 8 planets (sorry Pluto) from the sun using sheets of toilet paper as our 'yardstick.'  Life in Space:  After watching a video on life in space students chose their own 'earth activity' and brainstormed how they would do that activity in space. (e.g. doing a cartwheel, riding a bike?)

We finished our week with a trip to the McAuliffe Shepard Discovery Center in Concord, NH.  Students were treated to an amazing planetarium show called 'The Dawn of the Space Age' and then wandered around the 2 floors of the museum.  Highlights from the museum trip included:  Flight Simulator, Fit for Mars activity, Infared Display, and many other interactive displays.

This week also saw the first of six Music with Mikaela opportunities. Woodland was reverberating with music from voices, keyboards and ukuleles! A culminating musical event is planned for November 20th at which time students may share their musical talents with the Woodland community.


Meanwhile, back at the ranch, while our full day students were in Concord, our half day program was in full swing trying to keep up with Eliza! Her morning began at the Littleton Co-Op for a sampling of fruit and a chat with Jane in the deli, a hop back to Woodland to paint a pumpkin, a jump to Littleton for a walk which encompassed three different bridges and musical instruments along the river, and a skip over to Remich Park for swinging, sliding, and other additional active pursuits!

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Choice time at Woodland

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We never know what the students will wish to do during Choice time each day at Woodland! This week one student wanted to work on a floating candle experiment from a Wizardy book, while other students delved into the chest of dress up clothes and put on a Dance Party. A swing was built out of a milk crate and is now hanging from our favorite crab apple tree. Biking continues to be a favorite past time, rain or shine - and the more puddles the better! Students are making signs to alert passers by to their activity. Big news in the fort as plumbing was added this week! A trench was dug for PVC pipe and a sink created along with an overflow channel built under the flooring. On top of all this activity, students engaged in workshops for Mathematical Investigations and Reading/Writing, a Space Journey was decided upon, and NVC activities continued!

Robotics Journey Wrap Up

Woodland students began their week by working with Farmer Jim and learning about how to care for chickens…including collecting eggs! They made apple sauce and of course found creative ways to eat the warm sauce. One group of hikers hiked the Sugar Loaf Trails and experienced stellar autumnal views and interesting rock formations, while another group hiked around the trails at Woodland and experienced waist high grasses followed by a snack of hot tea and popcorn. Teamwork was prevalent during Choice time as fort building continued with hammer and nails, building a wooden floor, and the addition of a vinyl tarp to serve as a roof. The excitement over biking continued during Recess and Choice as this week, students added the element of ramps and jumps into their play. Games were played during Numeracy and poems and stories were written duriing Literacy.

During Journey, the younger groups explored creating code through group games and challenges.  Students then worked in small groups to put together their own 'Milo' robot. After assembling Milo, students learned how to use the WeDo programming blocks to create code for their robot.  They were elated to watch Milo respond in anticipated and unanticipated ways in response to their block code programs.  The students then received a challenge to design and build their own Woodland Lego robotics playground.  The designers took a field trip to a local playground to study structures and gather ideas, they made designs on paper and then created their designs with Lego bricks.  Their final challenge was to choose one part of their structure that they wanted to move, build that part, and then, using the WeDo tech, create a program to animate their structure.  

The older group incorporated their knowledge of WeDo into a project on animals. Each student chose and researched an animal, the choices ranged from grasshoppers to bison. The students explored the local library, website and World Wildlife Foundation videos to learn more about their animals. After gathering info, the group moved on to Legos. They built their animal, created a habitat and chose a realistic task for their Lego animal. The challenges chosen included grasshoppers eating toxic plants and snow leopards leading their babies into the den. The project culminated with programming of the Lego animal to carry out their task as well as a poster representing their research. The Robotics Journey culminated with a community event showcasing student work.

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Goats, Bikes, and Peace

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Our week began with Farmer for an Hour and an opportunity to milk the goats! After milking the goats, students participated in the daily morning “walk” of herding the goats out of their pen, across the road and up to their grazing pasture. Farmer for an Hour was completed by having a tasting of goat cheese on crackers for snack, yum! Choice time also saw a student talent show with dancing, a magic act and gymnastics. Our pump track offering was attended by all students, most of whom had never been to a pump track before and we were inspired by their bravery and positive attitudes. Journey continued deeper into Robotics as students constructed, wrote, planned and executed their ideas. We welcomed Mikaela for a Music offering and students now have the opportunity to decide whether or not they wish to commit to music lessons or group music play with Mikaela. Our week ended, as it usually does in the fall, with a hike, this time to Georgiana Falls. Parent chaperone, Brent, talked to the students about what it was like to hike the Appalachian Trail and demonstrated making tea for everyone by using the very same cook stove he used on his own AT thru-hike. Back at school, students created their own peace signs and participated in group activities as a way of celebrating International Peace Day.

Flowers, Mountains, and Robots!

What a week we have had at Woodland! School is in full swing as we began our Journey of Discovery with Lego WeDo 2.0 robotics. Ahead of creating code for their Lego robot, younger students spent time learning the basics of block coding through 'non-tech' games and activities. The students alternated experiencing the roles of programmer and computer. When they were let loose on the Legos and challenged with creating their robot, their teamwork skills shined. Squeals of delight could be heard throughout the school as they watched their robots follow the code they had written. The olders dove into the project based on a past First Lego League challenge about animals. Each student has chosen an animal to research and create from Legos. Next week, they will move on to exploration of robotics and motorize their Lego creations. Stay tuned!

Offerings this week included Flower Art with Mikaela as students harvested flowers and created artwork out of the petals, leaves, stems and buds. Slime was made using school glue, baking soda and saline solution as students thought about how those 3 ingredients can form together to make a new, sometimes sticky, sometimes slimy substance. Renee took us on a farm tour and showed us around the greenhouses, fields and barns. Last Friday afternoon during our Community Meeting, we spent time reflecting on our Full Value Contract and appreciating our peers in a 'How do We Fill Each Other's Bucket' activity. This week concluded with a splendid September day and a hike up Bald Mountain where we had lunch before circling around to Artists Bluff and back to school.


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Welcome to our new and returning students!

We welcomed old friends and new during our first week of school at Woodland! Students paired up to name the different rooms in the school followed by making original signs to depict each room name. Brook play was offered, students worked collaboratively building forts and bridges in the outside spaces, while inside spaces were full of the sounds of imaginative dress up play, Lego play and blocks. Farmer Sam led us to the field to collect monarch butterfly caterpillars and milkweed as we studied and read about the transformation from caterpillar to butterfly. Afternoons were filled with community building games such as "Line Up," "Cold Wind Blows," and "Helium Stick." Individual time was spent drawing self-portraits and beginning reflective writing answering questions such as Who Am I?  Who Are We? All these activities are working toward a culminating project that will be revealed at the Woodland Cider Press Potluck on Friday, September 7th, so stay tuned!

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!