MS Blazer Buzz 3 Feb

This week's highlight: Seventh and Eighth Graders Conduct National History Day Research

As a part of the seventh and eighth grade social studies and language arts curriculum, students participate in the 2013-14 National History Day project. Each year National History Day has a theme around which students research and prepare papers, performances, websites, documentaries, and exhibits. This year's theme is "Rights and Responsibilities in History." The seventh grade class focuses on people and events in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East and the eighth grade students focus on people and events in American history. The students develop a thesis and find credible sources to support their arguments. The students all braved some very cold January weather and traveled by the CATS bus to the main branch of the Mecklenburg Public Library to locate primary sources.  Students learned valuable research skills from the library media specialists and filled their backpacks with books and paper copies of primary source material.  The students took a break from their research to have lunch at Fuel Pizza across the street from the library. Back in the classroom, students met with their social studies and language arts teachers to discuss and refine their projects. Selected papers and projects will be entered in the Regional National History Day Competition on February 21 at UNC Charlotte.
Contributed by Beth Robinson

MS Blazer Buzz 27 Jan

This week's highlight: 6th Grade Echinoderm Dissection Lab

Woodlawn sixth graders recently examined a fascinating marine creature -- the sea star. Sea stars belong to the phylum Echinodermata, meaning spiny skin.  A lab dissection proved the best way to examine this creature since all echinoderms are marine creatures and Woodlawn is located a bit far from the coast. By conducting a dissection, students learned about the body structure and adaptations of the starfish. Students practiced good laboratory procedures and worked with a lab partner while examining the external and internal anatomy, including the water vascular and digestive systems. Working with a lab partner proved a rewarding experience as students helped each other during the removal of the spiny skin and examination of the internal organs. Most students reported that dissection was a unique hands-on experience, and even those who were a bit squeamish learned more about starfish than they expected! While recording their observations like real scientists, the sixth graders gained knowledge of echinoderms and learned how careful observation is an indispensable scientific tool. Some of the greatest scientific discoveries began with deliberate and careful observation of the natural world.

Contributed by Cathy Denham

MS Blazer Buzz 20 Dec

This week's highlight: Poverty Simulation

As part of our commitment to service learning, the third grade students partner with 5th Street Ministries and the seventh grade students partner with Mooresville Soup Kitchen and Mooresville Christian Mission in support of their commitment to helping those living in poverty. To increase awareness of the daily challenges faced by those living in poverty, Woodlawn hosted a poverty simulation for the seventh grade class. Parents of both third and seventh graders assisted with the simulation, creating a valuable experience for all.

"I was shocked at how much everything costs," commented seventh grader Vivian. "I wish I had saved more money. I learned that it is very hard to be in poverty."

"I was a working mom with a family of four to support," said classmate Julianna. "I was surprised that I got paid less for working the same job as everybody else. I learned that life can be really hard, and you can't do a thing about it sometimes."

"Mrs. Lolla and I filled the role of social workers during the poverty simulation," noted Ms. Lysne. "We felt really bad because we did not feel like we were able to help very many people. There was a lot of paperwork to be filled out and many people had to wait a long time for an appointment to see us."  

Emmy said, "It made me feel really bad for the people who are in poverty. It made me feel that I have a good life."

"During the poverty simulation, I learned that being in poverty is very frustrating,” said Zac. “One experience that shocked me was when I had to drop out of school so I could get a job."

Following the poverty simulation, the third and seventh grade students, under the direction of Ms. Dashputre, performed a modern dance to generate awareness about hunger as part of the Empty Bowls Project. In dance class, the students reflected on their time with service partners. As a class, students discussed what emotions they felt. They labeled the emotions with words, associated a movement with each word, and created phrases. Students performed outside in a grassy and wooded area of campus, recognizing that if they become homeless and were without access to a shelter or a vehicle in which to sleep, they would be forced to live outside. This performance was a symbolic representation of living without a home to call their own.

Following the performance, guests were invited to a simple meal of soup and bread. In exchange for a cash donation, guests were asked to keep a bowl or spoon, handmade by the students to serve as a reminder of all the empty bowls in the world. The money raised was donated to 5th Street Ministries and the Mooresville Soup Kitchen.

MS Blazer Buzz 13 Jan

This week's highlight: Geo Bee

What African nation, located between Somalia and Tanzania, borders the Indian Ocean? If you said Kenya, you just might have had a chance to win Woodlawn's 2013-13 National Geographic Geography Bee! Ten students in grades 4-8 participated in the final round of the Geo Bee on Tuesday, January 7 in the Red Barn. The students had advanced to the finals after a stellar performance in the preliminary round held on December 17. After answering questions, both orally and in writing, about United States and world geography, the field narrowed to three contestants. Angus E. (7th grade), Alex R. (7th grade), and Mitch P. (6th grade) competed in a tiebreaker round to determine the winner. Angus came out the champion and will now compete at the state level competition in Raleigh in April.

MS Blazer Buzz 23 Dec

This week's highlight: Blankets for Seniors

The eighth grade students spent a December Friday morning making fleece blankets for their buddies at the Brian Center. The students used one solid and one patterned piece of fleece for each blanket. They laid out the fleece, trimmed the edges, cut strips along all sides, and attached the two pieces of fleece together by tying the strips. The class delivered the blankets to the Brian Center during its December visit, when the students also entertained the residents with a holiday performance and presented gifts to the residents. The holiday show included festive caroling, instrumentals, a special reading of "The Night Before Christmas," holiday trivia, holiday jokes, and visits by Santa and Woodlawn School Elves. The students ended the visit by passing out the blankets as well as other holiday gifts. On the return trip to school, the eighth graders stopped at "The Daily Grind" and enjoyed a holiday luncheon. The students all agreed it was heart-warming to see the joy on the faces of the residents as they received the soft blankets the group had lovingly made at school.