MS Blazer Buzz 7 April

This week's highlight:Humane Society

On March 21, the sixth grade class traveled to the Humane Society of Charlotte. During the visit, students learned about all of the wonderful things this organization does to help animals in the community. They saw firsthand how the animals are sheltered, fed, and cared for on a daily basis. Most importantly, students learned what they can do to help make a difference in these defenseless animals' lives. The animals at the Humane Society are in need of a second chance, and our Woodlawn sixth graders are always looking for ways to help. The class collected donations over the recent months and presented the funds during the visit. A couple of students even returned to the shelter looking to adopt a new member of their family.

Contributed by Catherine Packard

MS Blazer Buzz 31 March

This week's highlight: Honoring a Generation Through Photographs and Stories

The eighth grade students are honoring older adults through photographs and stories in a service learning and visual arts integrated exhibition. Through their service learning partnership with the Brian Center, a center for health and rehabilitation in Mooresville, the students are gaining an understanding of the roles cast upon the aging in our society.  They are evaluating the misconceptions and labels that are often tagged to the elderly and what our view of the elderly implies about our society. In art class, the students have been studying the history of photography and ways to capture the spirit and character of a person through a photographic portrait.  The eighth graders hope this exhibition will help others recognize the contributions of older adults, convey our mutual dependence, and affect social change, as well as bring younger and older adults together. We encourage the Woodlawn community to contribute their photos and stories that honor the older adults in their lives. View and take part in the exhibition that will be part of Woodlawn's Bridging Generations day on Friday, April 4.

Contributed by Kim Lysne

MS Blazer Buzz 24 March

This week's highlight: Sundials

The eighth graders are learning first hand what it takes to leave their mark on the Woodlawn campus. After studying some of the cultures and societies of Mesoamerica in Spanish class, it became apparent how important a knowledge of the seasons, the path of the sun, and the occurrence of other celestial events was to the people of Mesoamerica. A command of this information allowed these societies to develop advanced agriculture practices and track the passage of time.

Drawing inspiration from Spanish class, the eighth graders took their newfound knowledge into the Science lab to study the movement of objects across the sky and determine our place in the solar system, milky way, and larger universe. All of this knowledge allowed the students to design their own Mesoamerican inspired monuments that aligned with a unique celestial event. Student designs included a monument that shone light onto a reflecting pool during the spring equinox, a pyramid with a window aligned with the rise of Venus (which occurs every eight years), an obelisk that casts no shadow during the summer solstice, and a series of towers that on one special day cast a shadow of an eagle with a snake in its talons onto the ground, among many other unique and creative designs.

These hypothetical designs were not sufficient enough to satiate the students need to build things so the planning and construction of a campus sundial began. The eighth graders have been measuring, digging, collecting, and waiting patiently for sunshine to make the necessary preparations to leave their lasting mark on our campus. Sometime in the near future a stroll behind the Van Buren Art Room will yield a view of our very own student-designed Woodlawn School Sundial!

Contributed by Chris Van Amburgh

MS Blazer Buzz 17 March

This week's highlight: Selfies!

Selfie, selfie, selfie...are we paying too much attention to "ourselfies" these days? It is hard not to when social media allows us to constantly post pictures and videos of ourselves on Facebook, Instragram, and YouTube. With this emphasis on outward appearances, the pressure to take the perfect picture becomes more and more competitive and stressful. No one knows this more than our seventh graders. A recent life skills class exposed the reality of pictures shown in magazines, on billboards, and on the Internet are often digitally enhanced. With the right technology, droopy eyes can be lifted, puffy cheeks can be thinned out, dull smiles can be whitened, and crooked noses can be straightened. Young people are then left feeling like they have to live up to unrealistic expectations, which in turn can lead to low self-esteem and poor self-image. Students admitted being overly critical of themselves as they focused too much on their outward appearance and their imperfections. Yet they slowly began to realize that their classmates see their beauty both on the inside and outside. By taking a selfie in class and developing the pictures to display at a recent portfolio viewing, the seventh graders and parents were given an opportunity to comment on real beauty and not what was digitally enhanced. The comments ranged from "genuine smile" to "real person" to "just plain beautiful."  This exercise shifted the focus from being "selfish" to be "selfless."  And if the selfie lesson didn't make people happy, a lesson on the beauty of self-expression did. With the help of tenth grader, Arianna Hoshino, the seventh grade students created their own "Happy" video inspired by Pharrel Williams!

Contributed by Debbie Lolla

MS Blazer Buzz 10 March

This week's highlight:Spanish Master Works

The sixth graders delved deeply into the Renaissance time period over the winter trimester, focusing on master works in Spanish class. Students spent many weeks studying Spain's Golden Age, developing an understanding as to why Cervantes' Don Quixote de La Mancha is considered a masterpiece in the world of literature. Students fell in love with the characters Quixote and Sancho, and also tackled more profound topics such as how important one's reality is in society. In addition to learning about the Golden Age, students discovered the incredible, architectural masterpieces of Antoní Gaudí and the skillful futbol footwork by Team Barça. The sixth graders also spent time doing independent exploration of Spanish cuisine. The group's enlightening adventure culminated with a viewing of John Lithgow's performance of Don Quixote!

Contributed by Laine Amortegui