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

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