MS Blazer Buzz 4 May

This week's highlight: The Great Smoky Mountains

Did you know that Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the salamander capital of the world?  Woodlawn's 6th grade spent three days at Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont and learned all about North Carolina’s very own National Park and the diversity of wildlife that makes its home there.   The camp is located within the boundaries of the National Park, affording 6th graders the opportunity to experience nature up close.  We began our trip by traveling to Newfound Gap at the Eastern Continental Divide to see where the park was dedicated in 1940 by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  We learned that school children all over North Carolina and Tennessee collected nickels and dimes to help establish the park, which is why Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the only FREE National Park in the United States! On a salamander hike, students found and identified four different salamander species. To learn about the geology of the region, Woodlawn’s 6th grade hiked to a beautiful waterfall and adventurous students stuck their heads in the chilly waterfall and went wading in the stream!  In addition, students learned to use a compass accurately in wilderness navigation class, played traditional musical instruments like the dulcimer and mandolin, square danced, and learned about how important forests are to the health of wildlife and Planet Earth.  In the closing circle, many students said they had become keenly aware of how many different kinds of plants and animals there are in the world.  The diversity of plants, animals, geology and ecology of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park made for an amazing experience; many students said they wanted to return to the salamander capital of the world!

MS Blazer Buzz 27 April

This week's highlight: Earth Day

Earth Day brought about a fabulous opportunity to celebrate nature, sustainability, and birds!  Mrs. Denham and her 6th grade students educated the audience about the migration patterns of birds through a bird migration dance.  Students first created a model of the continents out of sticks and branches on the soccer field.  This served as the backdrop for their dance to help the audience visualize the migration patterns.  Students each became a migratory bird and then danced the flight pattern to music and bird calls they composed with Ms. Rosen. In art class, students sculpted birds and birdhouses and showcased their creations in an outdoor exhibition. 

Mr. Van Amburgh and his 7th grade students entertained us with a small steps fashion show to help us remember ways that we can take small steps to reduce, reuse, and recycle to help the earth.  The upper school environmental studies students performed an entertaining skit which helped us realize how our everyday actions and activities take a toll on the earth’s resources and how we can reduce our impact by changing a few habits.  Happy Earth Day!

MS Blazer Buzz 20 April

This week's highlight:Lunchtime Clubs

Middle school students are leading lunchtime clubs every Friday until the end of the school year.  Students selected between such enticing options as Glee Club, Nature Club, Wizard 101, Skating Club, Coding Club, Sports Club and Baking Club to name a few.  It is a great opportunity to engage with their peers who have similar interests.  In Glee Club, Taylor is planning to bring together some musical numbers using many different genres of music (pop, Broadway, rock, country) and different types of movement to create a showstopper!  If you are interested in testing out a few new recipes, you may want to find out what the Baking Club is up to each week!  There were 3 groups of students who wanted to lead a sports club.  They decided to join forces and take a larger group of students, splitting them into two groups and each utilizing half the gym.  I love when I see collaboration and problem-solving strategies in action. 

MS Blazer Buzz 6 April

This week's highlight: Field Day!

Serious competition.  Serious fun.  A bucket of water adds a ton of fun no matter the age!  Middle School students delighted in soaking themselves and each other during the annual field day festivities.  The water balloon station was a favorite as students attempted to strike a balance between gentle catching and powerful throwing to inflict the most water on the other team.  And when all else fails, just wring a sponge over your friend’s head!  Fierce competition ensued with the tug of war challenge.  It was nice to see the students pulling together (literally) to overcome their opponents.  A great afternoon was had by all - thanks to Ms. Atkins for planning such a cool event!

MS Blazer Buzz 30 March

This week's highlight: The Carolina Raptor Center

On Friday, sixth grade students visited the Carolina Raptor Center as part of their science study of birds.  The study of birds is part of an integrated bird migration unit in which students examine birds and bird migration in science, music, art, language arts and math.  At the Raptor Center, students experienced three raptors up close and learned about raptors and the issues facing these birds.  Students also viewed the exhibits of various raptors, thus experiencing a few of the almost 10,000 bird species on earth.  Through the field trip and additional study, students want to find out how to help raptors and other birds, especially migratory birds.  Later this spring sixth grade will “adopt” or sponsor a bird at the Raptor Center, paying for the adoption with money earned from selling pepper and tomato plants they have grown in the Woodlawn greenhouse.  This field trip is integral to student understanding of the natural world as an interdependent and living system, vulnerable to pollution and overuse, and dependent on humans to make the right decisions to protect America’s natural heritage so raptors can continue to soar in our skies!