MS Blazer Buzz 11 May

This week's highlight: 8th Graders Take on DC

Early morning on Monday, April 28th, the eighth grade began the much anticipated 2014 trip to our nation's capitol, Washington DC. The class traveled in comfort in a 29-passenger bus from Rose Charters. After spending time at school with Ms. Robinson learning about American history, the students were prepared to take on our nation’s capitol city.

The class began its visit in the DC area on Monday afternoon with a tour of the home and grounds at Mount Vernon. That evening the students enjoyed dinner at Bertucci's in Alexandria, VA, and checked into their hotel in Arlington. After a good night of rest, the eight graders and their chaperons, Mr. Milburn, Ms. Robinson, and Mrs. Armstrong, rode the Metrorail into Washington, DC. On Tuesday, the class visited the National Museum of the American Indian, the Library of Congress, the Capitol, and the Holocaust Museum. The rain and lack of moonlight on Tuesday evening did not keep the class from enjoying dinner at Union Station and the Monuments by Moonlight tour.

On Wednesday and Thursday, the class visited Ford's Theatre, the National Museum of Natural History, the National Gallery of Art, the Newseum, the Archives, Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House, the World War II Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial, the National Museum of American History, the National Air and Space Museum, Arlington Cemetery, and the Pentagon City Mall. The class trip ended Friday evening after lunch at Michie Tavern in Charlottesville, VA, a tour of Thomas Jefferson's home, Monticello, and the bus ride back to Woodlawn.  The trip was a fun and educational culmination to the eighth grade year and a glimpse into answers to the question of the year, "How Did We Get Here?"

Contributed by Patty Armstrong

MS Blazer Buzz 5 May

This week's highlight: Camp Tekoa

"In the end, we will only conserve what we love. We will only love what we understand. We will only understand what we are taught." - Baba Dioum (African Naturalist)

After spending time in the classroom amassing knowledge of the workings of our planet and all of its living things, the seventh graders traveled to Camp Tekoa for their annual overnight trip and spent three days soaking up information in the Inside Out environmental education program.
An appreciation for nature is inextricably linked to our survival and success as members of a diverse global society. While studying stream ecology, hiking to remote water falls, and learning to rock climb, the seventh graders built a deeper sense of respect and admiration for our natural world.

Inspired by this new admiration and presented with a challenge, the students rose to the occasion and put forth a herculean effort in order to reclaim a section of stream overrun by invasive species and riddled with debris. This section of stream on the property of Camp Tekoa will now provide a place for future visitors to study, learn, and gain an appreciation for nature.

Leaning on the knowledge of the superb staff from Inside Out, the seventh graders had the chance to identify and eat wild edibles, ride a water sleuth, build a raft, paddle a canoe, hear stories of celestial reverence, and most importantly, learn more about themselves and the awe inspiring wonder that is nature.

Contributed by Chris Van Amburgh

MS Blazer Buzz 28 April

This week's highlight: Bird Migration

During sixth grade science class, students have been studying birds, the most diverse land-dwelling vertebrates. Students learned about the benefits of migration for birds. Migration enables birds to travel to safe nesting grounds and follow food supplies of insects and other small animals as the seasons change. Students also learned that migration is an instinctive and learned behavior of some bird species and watched an award-winning documentary, Winged Migration, to learn about bird migration and the arduous journey that birds make. Students researched the habitat and migration route of a particular bird in the film, and each student became the bird for the dance and art portions of an integrated project. The sixth graders designed masks and dance steps to create the bird for the dance. In art class, the students created the masks as well as tissue paper sculptures of their birds to complete their dance costumes. Dance students choreographed winged solos based on research and inspiration from their individual bird in science class. The students learned basic choreographic techniques such as retrograde and added these manipulations to their original phrase. During social studies classes, students constructed a giant map of the continents of the world made of sticks; this was completed on the soccer field in front of the amphitheater. The culmination of the integrated project was the performance of a bird migration dance for parents and the lower school students. The weather was beautiful and everyone enjoyed this spring spectacle!

Contributed by Ashley Dashputre and Cathy Denham

MS Blazer Buzz 14 April

This week's highlight: Fashion and history collide

During a visit to the Brian Center in April, the eighth grade students presented a program that combined performances from multiple integration projects. Their style show, "Fashion Through the Decades," was the culminating presentation of a service and American History project. Each student selected a decade from the 1900s to research. The eighth graders prepared a short speech about events, movies, songs, and fashion from their specific decades. The students described the decade to the residents, played music from the decade, and also modeled the fashion of that time period.

The culminating piece from an integrated service and visual arts project was a memory card that each student presented to his or her older adult buddy. The students designed the cards with pictures and words that were meaningful to their buddies. There were many smiles on the faces of the residents as they viewed their personalized cards.

As part of their integrated service project with dance, the eighth graders studied "The Brain Dance" inspired by Anne Green Gilbert and created by Gary Reed. "The Brain Dance" is a series of movements that human beings naturally move through to wake up and stimulate their bodies. Students created an interactive presentation using these exercises. Residents and students alike performed these patterns to favorite music of the residents' era. Many of the residents joined in on the fun!

Contributed by Ashley Dashputre

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