Woodland at Meadowstone Farm

MVIMG_20190909_140640.jpg

This week marks the start of our first Journey of Discovery in the 2019-2020 school year. Given the time of the year and our location, we decided to explore Farming.

IMG_20190910_133117.jpg

As is the case with every Journey, we begin with a week of Discovery. During this week, we work as a school community to gain a base of knowledge for our chosen topic. Ideally, this week includes real world experiences, allowing us to make connections to and form questions about the topic. With Meadowstone Farm outside our door, we have had the good fortune to spend each day this week with a different farmer, learning about his or her area of expertise.

IMG_20190910_142732.jpg

As we followed farmers through fields, pastures, gardens, greenhouses, barns and hives, we learned about the many facets of Meadowstone.

Farmer Tim introduced us to the cycle of food and energy and showed us the growth happening around the farm.

Farmer Renee lead us through meadows and barns and taught us about the care and keeping of animals on the farm.

Farmer Sam took us to the farm hives to highlight the hardest workers on the farm… the bees!

IMG_20190910_133612.jpg

Through these introductions and experiences our students are beginning to gain a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness of natural systems and making connections to locally grown food.

IMG_20190910_143140.jpg

“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it is hitched to

everything else in the Universe.”

-John Muir

Communication~Connection~Exploration~Compassion~Trust

In our second week back we spent our Journey time focusing on the five fundamental values of Woodland.

COMMUNICATION-CONNECTION-EXPLORATION-COMPASSION-TRUST

As we build our school community, we are working to gain a deeper understanding of these core values.

IMG_1750.jpg

COMMUNICATION

Students participated in a team building challenge ‘Sneak Peek’. One member from each team took a peek at a structure for 20 seconds and returned to lead the team in replicating the structure. Students were challenged to speak and listen to one another in a way that supported the team goal. The school was buzzing with excitement as the teams developed strategies to build their structures.

IMG_1757 (1).JPG
IMG_1768 (1).JPG
IMG_1774.JPG
IMG_1761 (1).JPG

In reflection students shared their challenges and their solutions. Their observations were profound.

Challenges Solutions

‘We were all looking at things from different perspectives’ ‘We decided to all look at it from the same spot’

‘It was hard to look at all the details and remember all the parts’ ‘Just look at one piece at a time’

‘It was hard to explain’ 'Take a deep breath and try to say it a different way’

‘It was hard not to touch the blocks’ ‘Just keep reminding yourself’

Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble.

-Yehunda Berg

Welcome!

Welcome back Woodland students and families! Our Woodland community returned to school with energy and excitement for all that lies ahead in the 2019-2020 school year. As we opened the doors for the new year, we welcome 12 returning students along with 6 new students and a new teacher.

IMG_1616.jpg

Our Choice time was filled with innovative ideas as our students sewed stuffed animals, built survivalist forts from knotweed, engineered ziplines, drew up detailed fort blueprints, solved puzzles and so much more! We certainly have a motivated group of creators this year, often spending afternoons brainstorming their Choice projects for the following day.

IMG_1615.jpg
IMG_1611.JPG

This week’s Journey time was spent cultivating community through group and individual work. We got to know one another through a variety of group games, teamwork initiatives and community art projects. Through our work we learned more about one another and how to work together as a school community.

IMG_1629.jpg
IMG_1628.jpg

Happy Summer!

20190613_101346.jpg

Thanks to all our families and the Woodland community for such a fabulous last week of school! From swimming and playing in the sand at Echo Lake to building boats and sailing them in the brook at school, students were busy every minute of every day. We wrote letters to our new friends that will be joining our student group next year and reflected on our past year together. We set goals together, celebrated our community, and students even cleaned the van.

We wish everyone a wonderful summer with friends and families, lots of good books, wonderful hikes, boat trips, camping, smelling the flowers, or doing whatever makes you happy. See you in August!

20190613_101116.jpg

Under the Sea Journey Share

IMG_20190521_142203.jpg

Our Under the Sea Journey of Exploration ended in a wonderful Journey share with Woodland families and community members. Students branched out in a variety of ways with their projects including paint, 3D artwork, timelines and movies. Topics studied included pollution, animals such as the seahorse and the octopus, the various ocean zones, coral reefs, sharks, and more.

This week we also saw students build their own planter box in which they intend to grow “a salad” to share with their friends. They collected boards and built their box and then began filling it with farm compost. Our week concluded with a trip to the Squam Lakes Science Center where students learned about habitats of the barred owl, the groundhog, and the mink among others.

20190522_095813.jpg

Spring, finally!

20190515_091341.jpg

Spring on the farm means “kids” and Woodland students have been delighted by spending time with nine Meadowstone Farm kids this week! Gentle nibbles on clothing and hair brought giggles and genuine smiles from Woodland students as they plunked down on the barn floor and allowed these young goats to clamber all over. One student said, “I want to take one home and sleep with it!”

Fairy houses and fairy gardens are being built outside along with beautiful dandelion chains. Great care is taken to pick the softest grass and and to place pebbles of just the right size.

We had our last week of pottery at the amazing Littleton Studio School as Woodland students glazed their pieces. We can’t wait to see them after they have been fired!

Student projects are in full swing as we are diving into our Create Week for our Under the Sea Journey.  After researching their topics of choice, students organized and sorted their notes into categories.  This week students worked on creating projects to share their learning.  This process always involves a fair amount of problem solving, creativity, and further research as students are being challenged to create projects that are true to their research.  We are excited for our upcoming Journey Share next week.

Pottery, Journey, and Choice in early May

20190509_120904.jpg


This week, pottery continued for students as some progressed with their hand building skills while others continued on the wheel. Track and Field “training” for our event this Saturday continued with students spending time during recess practicing the relay. Other student choice activies included trick bike riding, costume making, mandala coloring, and sand art.

Last week we ended our Explore Week of our Ocean Journey with a visit to the Seacoast Science Center in Rye, NH.  Students were thrilled to meet some of the animals we have been exploring 'up close and personal.'  We were treated to a presentation on sharks and were able to touch the center's resident sharks; catsharks.  We ended our visit with playing in the tidepools and soaking up the salty ocean air. 

Durint this week of Discovery, students had the opportunity to choose an ocean topic of specific interest to them. They gathered appropriate resources and set forth in discovering more about their choices by researching and recording their findings through sketch notes.  We are looking forward to learning more about:  shark types, coral reefs, seahorses, octopuses, ocean pollution, coral reefs in jeopardy, ocean animal vs ocean animal, who eats who for dinner, shark attacks, and more. Additionally, we read about ocean pollution and were inspired to act.  We spent a morning picking up trash along our brook and were absolutely amazed at how many bags of plastic bottles, cans, disposable bags, and plastic containers we pulled from its banks.  

Under the Sea Journey of Exploration begins!

20190501_131420.jpg

We had a wonderful week at Woodland, playing in the rain and mud puddles, carving and biking. Thanks to the Littleton Studio School for hosting week one of our three week pottery intensive as the older students learn how to throw on the wheel, and the younger students learn how to build out of clay with their hands.

This week, students dove into the wonders of ocean life as we started our Under the Sea Journey. We began to explore salt water, the size of the ocean, layers of the ocean, food webs, coral reefs and the importance of oceans in the world. Days were spent measuring, experimenting, researching and sorting as we begin to scratch the surface of the relationship between humans and oceans. To wrap up the week, students traveled to the Seacoast Science Center to experience marine biology and visit tidal pools. 


Choice this week was filled with many offerings to support our Under the Sea Journey. Students created ocean life origami, sorted ocean animals, read picture books about amazing ocean animals and their adaptations and made ocean animal food chain art. Outside, students enjoyed biking, playing dodge ball and practicing for the upcoming track meet. 



Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass...

20190415_092045.jpg

…It’s about learning to dance in the rain.

We began our week by playing in our flooded fields and marveling at the swiftly moving brook. After heavy rains, our outdoor landscape was changed for a couple of days and students both literally and figuratively “dove in” to exploring. After the waters receeded, the focus quickly changed to other outdoor pursuits, primarily, biking! Jumps were built and skills were tested as students brought their bikes to school while other students spent time on the Woods Trail working on their forts. Many projects took place inside such as creating Egyptian collars and headdresses, jewelry making, mummy bookmarks, and learning how to write using heiroglyphs, all in support of our Ancient Egypt Journey of Discovery.

Numeracy and Literacy Workshops continue to explore a variety of concepts based on the skill level and knowledge base of each group. These Workshop times also complement Journey work and make it more meaningful.

Journey time was spent finishing projects and setting up for our end of Journey Ancient Egyptian Museum Share. This final week was bustling with energy and excitement as students worked on their museum displays. Students explored writing and deciphering the magic Egyptian code of hieroglyphics, finally using this language to create their museum signs. Each room of the school was transformed with sugar cube pyramids, Nile river dioramas, mummies, canopic jars and god and goddess trading cards, each thoughtfully arranged and labeled. Students worked to finish up writing pieces to accompany each of their exhibits and created a Museum Store with tasty treats to sell along with their handmade jewelry and other handicrafts.

20190419_141119.jpg

An Ancient Egypt Journey begins...

IMG_4439.jpg

After striking the set for our Cinderella production, Woodland students dove into our new Journey topic, Ancient Egypt.  As we do with every new topic, we started with a brainstorm of what we knew and what we are curious about.  Students had a lot of questions!  In our Explore weeks we discovered the importance of the Nile River and created a living model of the Nile.  We marveled at the seemingly impossible task of building pyramids and created sugar cube pyramids using our math skills to make choices about how big we could build them.  We read about Egyptian Gods and Goddesses and created trading cards complete with picture and 'stats.'  Using our theater skills, students put on a God and Goddess 'fashion' show.  We ended the week learning about hieroglyphs and the Rosetta Stone.  Next week students will choose topics to explore more deeply and prepare for their upcoming Journey Share where the school will be transformed into an Ancient Egypt museum exhibit.


Lights, Camera...Action!

IMG_20190328_133144.jpg

Most of this week was devoted to preparing for the premiere of Woodland Community School's production of 'Cinderella.'  Punch lists were created to identify existing needs.  We revisited our list of Wonder Questions and answered how or whether or not those questions were realized.  Some example questions were:  Can we make props?  Can we write a script?  Can we have special effects?  Can we make costumes?  Can we have music?  Can we have dance/movement?  We discovered that we had answered a lot of our questions.  At the theater, we worked through our play; dialing in where we stand, when to say our lines, and moving more quickly through our transitions.  By Thursday morning, we were able to run through our play without stopping with students taking incredible ownership for their entrances/exits, costume changes, and lines.  

The final production went off without a hitch and was attended by friends and family of all the students. Much laughter rippled throughout the audience as the cast members totally owned their parts, making them truly come to life! We hope you enjoyed the show!

IMG_20190328_142941 (2).jpg

Bravo!

Choice, Offerings and Workshops

20190325_091819.jpg

This week students worked on a variety of activities during morning Choice. Several students opted to either create, invent, or re-do their Cinderella costumes in preparation for Thursday’s “premier” at the White Mountain School. Glue guns, water colors and plaster of Paris were all out in full force as students made crowns, carriages, and masks. Other students simply had fun wearing their costumes and practicing their lines while in their full regalia. We also have a group of students who expressed an interest in learning how to write in cursive, so out came the posters, books, pencils and paper along with lots of giggles at the “fancy” writing!

As so often happens in a mixed-age setting, one of the older students found himself in a teaching position as he worked with our youngest students teaching them how to write numbers following the Handwriting Without Tears technique of wet-dry-try. You guessed it , more giggles ensued along with a feeling of accomplishment for all involved.

The warmth of early spring days was welcome both outside and on our enclosed porch as students reveled in the warmth of the sun’s rays and had a blast making mud pies and mud cakes by the bucketful. And of course, wherever there is a gigantic box, there is a gigantic group of students using their imaginations and having fun!

20190326_114500.jpg

Our Week in (Mostly) Photos

20190321_095153.jpg

A couple of somewhat warm days followed by lots of snow made for some outside fun both around school and skiing on the nordic trails at Bretton Woods. Students continue to work on preparations for the original Woodland production of Cinderella with attention being given to props, costumes, writing personal biographies, scripts, and running lines.

Woodland's Cinderella...coming soon!

20190312_123631.jpg

Our Choice time this week was full of excitement around costumes, set design and play preparation. Inside, students created plaster bird masks, dressed up to act out fairy tales and started on set design for our original Journey production of Cinderella. Outside, students engaged teachers in a school-wide epic snowball battle! Students also explored ice fishing in the brook using pulleys and wood to create handmade fishing poles - and added hand tied flies as bait. 

This week in Journey, we continued our Theater exploration. Students chose the fairy tale Cinderella for our original production. Our Explore week was full of scene development, casting , script writing and costume design. We are working to integrate stage positioning, voice and sound of movement as we develop our version of the popular story. Becky continued to lead students in a variety of movement and voice warm-up activities to help students refine their original play. During Literacy, students worked on creating their own scenes for the Woodland version of Cinderella…stay tuned for our Opening on Thursday, March 28th, in the Black Box Theater at White Mountain School!

Theater Journey, Week of Exploration

IMG_20190304_133228.jpg

Students have been practicing Reader's Theatre during daily Book Club. (Readers Theatre is a highly motivational reading strategy that provides a context for authentic reading. Students read to convey meaning using their voice, facial expressions, and gestures. )   A small group of students was really excited about this and used Choice time to create several paper bag puppets based on the characters from their play which they then used to tell the story.  Students worked on several puzzles and one student fined tuned his 3D drawing skills.  Mikaela returned for our Spring Quarter for group music class and individual music lessons, and students have been practicing their new skills during Choice. Outside, students have created a Fairy Village in the snowbank complete with a church, store, bank, movie theatre, bonfires, housing and a park with a waterfall! Embellishments were added with water color paints creating quote a colorful and fun tableau!

We began our Theatre Journey this week with a special guest!  Becky Cummings, actor/director/teacher extraordinaire, joined us to kick off our week of Exploration.  In hands-on workshops, students learned about different elements of being an actor.  We explored our voices, our movements, our roles as audience members, and our improvisational skills.  We stretched our imaginations as we created new ways of entering and exiting the space, partner sculptures, and 1 minute plays.  We brainstormed 20 questions that we had about theater and we will work towards discovering answers over the next few weeks.  All students seem really energized and excited about being on stage and working towards our goal of creating a show!

We concluded our week with our first of four Nordic ski days at Bretton Woods. Students gathered together for a lesson and it was a beautiful, sunny day at Bretton Woods.

The Cold Never Bothered Us Anyway ;)

00100dPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20190219115320742_COVER.jpg

Inside choice this week included lots of excitement around the idea of sewing and dressmaking. Students chose their fabric and created patterns by tracing their bodies. The patterns were traced onto the fabric and hand sewn into beautiful dresses and shirts. 

Paul and Cory led 7 students on an ice fishing expedition for an Offering this week! We traveled to Forest Lake and set up for a morning of catching Chain pickerel, bass, pumpkinseed and perch. Students used maggots and shiners for bait, learned how to use an auger to make fishing holes in the ice, learned a bit about reading the sonar, set up “tip ups” and used poles for jigging. Paul even taught the students about fish anatomy.

This week's interim Journey topic was Winter Wonderland. Students explored the natural wonders of Winter through books, videos, art and collage. Afternoons were spent learning about snowflakes, winter animal adaptations and the history of skiing. We explored the woods trail on foot, skis and snowshoes, observing changes and searching for signs of animal life.

20190221_102131.jpg

A Week in February

IMG_20190213_120156.jpg

February presents opportunities for activities both inside and out! Inside our cozy building students who wished to do so made Valentines and Valentine decorations which are now adorning the school. Cut out felt hearts sewn together and several feet of colorful paper chains are hanging along the Woodland walls. Gift bags were adorned with sponge painting and salt dough cookies in the shape of a heart were painted. A group of chefs made absolutely delicious strawberries dipped in chocolate which was a treat for the whole school on Valentines Day. Paul presented to the students about ice fishing and will be taking students out on the ice next week.

Outside, a group of intrepid explorers went out to the Woods Trail and discovered running water under snow and ice, icicles hanging from glacial erratics, revisited their previously constructed forts, slid like penguins down the snowbanks, and simply played and ran freely. We also had a very blustery and snowy morning tubing at Bretton Woods, though it sure was fun!

Journey Share wrapped up our week as students presented their culminating Geography and Countries projects to their friends and families. From the Eiffel Tower to the Grand Canyon, Polar Bears to the Amazon, Switzerland to Australia, Japan to Rome and several points in between, we had a fascinating collection of student-generated work!

Pizza, Pizza!

We had an amazing day exploring the Fairbanks Museum in St. Johnsbury!. Students explored thermal imaging, bridges, propulsion and circuitry in the museums Exploration Station, as well as all the natural history artifacts and displays. Some students had the opportunity to actually see a particular animal they are studying during Journey such as the polar bear. A short walk to Cantina di Gerardo and a hands on pizza making experience topped off our day. Students learned how to work the pizza crust and then delighted in selecting their own toppings and then of course eating the delicious results. Thank you Colpitts/Grieco family!

Mornings at school students learned how to weave with one student weaving a rug to place in her dollhouse at home. Icy conditions led to some very creative ways of negotiating icy surfaces. Books were read about “Your Elastic Brain” and the origins of pizza, and students brought in photographs and fun toys from home during Share.

In Journey, students continued to research their independent topic choices for our ongoing Geography/Country Journey.  Topics include:  Big Ben, the Grand Canyon, Amazon Rainforest, animals of Australia, African animals, Madagascar, Switzerland, Paris, Japan, Antarctica, and the Colosseum.  It's been such an interesting week as students gather at the end of each day to share their favorite fact they discovered. Towards the end of the week, the school was busy with activity as students began their project piece.  Paint, cardboard, clay, popsicle sticks, felt, etc. were pulled down from the shelves to create models, posters, dolls, maps, and intricate drawings to represent their chosen topics.  We look forward to next week's Journey share!