US Blazer Buzz 10 Feb

This week's highlight:The Learning Collaborative

As part of their service course covering issues in education, this year the tenth grade students have taken several trips to Charlotte's NoDa neighborhood to visit The Learning Collaborative, a tuition-free preschool for students from at-risk families. Families with preschoolers who are accepted into this program are generally in fragile economic circumstances and often in unstable communities; one of the conditions of acceptance into the program includes parents' willingness to attend monthly parenting meetings, and the program generally encourages as much parent involvement as possible. TLC loves older student visits during the school day, too!

On a recent visit, Woodlawn's students heard from a developmental psychologist about the importance and purpose of preschool as well as from a TLC supervisor about federally-subsidized preschool programs and the families that TLC serves. Of course, the students had plenty of time to spend with their new friends in the classrooms and on the playground. TLC students showed the Woodlawners all their favorite activities, from playing at the water table to reading stories and swinging on the swings. When the day came to an end, some tears were certainly shed — but mostly by the little ones!  

Woodlawn students will return to visit their new friends at The Learning Collaborative several times before the end of the school year, and they are looking forward to delivering the results of the holiday school supply drive during the next trip.

Contributed by Kyle Tilley

US Blazer Buzz 3 Feb

This week's highlight: Film Making

Students in grades 9-12 recently wrapped up a project that drew upon their mastery of historical research skills, story construction, and filmmaking expertise to produce short original pieces set against the backdrop of local history.

Beginning with research, students in World History I, AP World History II, and European History looked into how cultural and political developments in the Lake Norman area could connect to their respective courses of study. In groups or flying solo, students then crafted fictional tales with historical details and context woven throughout. These tales were developed into "pitches," full synopses that covered all traditional elements of plot, with each group finally choosing one key scene from the potential epic to develop into a short film.

Films were produced in anticipation of the first ever Woodlawn Film Festival, where projects will premiere alongside films independently created by students outside of class. On Thursday, February13, the Red Barn will be the place to be to see the premiere of historical dramas, comedies, and adventures set in familiar locations around town, including Woodlawn's own Stinson Hall back when college students square danced in the foyer. Also on the bill: a handful of documentaries, comical social commentary, and even a piece on the lesser known downside of being a zombie. The show starts at 7PM, tickets are $3 at the door.

Contributed by Jeff Donnelly

Us Blazer Buzz 27 Jan

This week's highlight: Now That's Epic: Woodlawn Ninth Graders Compose Epic Poetry

In English class, the Woodlawn ninth graders have been thoroughly immersed in the world of epic poetry. Having already studied The Epic of GilgameshThe OdysseyBeowulf, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the time arrived for the students to try their hand as poets.

Each student is currently in the process of creating a completely original story to be told in 350 or more lines of poetic verse. Students must create a hero and tell the story of that hero's quest. In addition to designing the story and the fictional world in which the story takes place, the students will be experimenting with a variety of ancient poetic devices. The students will conclude the writing experience by reciting these poems aloud for their classmates. Keep an eye out in Woods Hall for the final results: 20 epic poems from 20 promising poets will be on display in the coming weeks!

Contributed by Tim Helfrich

US Blazer Buzz 20 Jan

This week's highlight: Theory to Practice

Seniors in the discrete math class at Woodlawn recently completed a unit on probability and statistics. The students gained an appreciation for the fact that randomness was predictable and necessary when conducting valid surveys. A very common pattern that occurs when sampling a larger population is that of normal distribution or a bell curve. The class took advantage of normal distribution during a final project that centered around testing various claims.

All of us are bombarded with statistical claims every day from advertisers, political groups, and the medical world, just to name a few. The students were each charged with finding a claim about a product or cause of interest to him or her. The seniors used the tools that they had acquired to do a field study and gather sample data to test the claims they had found.

Overall, 73.4 percent of the class found this exercise to be challenging, 87.6 percent thought that it was revealing, and 100% of them said that it was fun. We might want to test these results!

Us Blazer Buzz 13 Jan

This week's highlight: Spanish Cooking

Woodlawn Spanish language upper school students recently completed a unit relating to food. The unit kicked off with a class trip to La Unica restaurant in Huntersville, where students ordered their meals in Spanish and spent the hour practicing their language skills through conversation with their classmates. At the end of the unit, students were challenged to produce and edit their own cooking videos. Each student brought in samples of their homemade concoction to enjoy with the class while watching one another's videos.