5th Grade Learning About Real World Jobs

Back in May, a student’s dad visited the fifth grade class to talk about his jobs.  He’s both a mechanical engineer and a pilot in the Air Force Reserves. This was in line with a science unit the class did earlier in the year about force and motion.

He works for Snap-on Tools as well as serving in the AF Reserves flying the C-130.  He brought components he helps design for Snap-on and talked about how he became both a pilot and a mechanical engineer.

The kids were really impressed and asked great questions.

A Closer Look at the GrowZone Players Spring Musical 2018

The GrowZone Players are our troupe of actors.  Students in 5th-8th grades have the opportunity each year to choose the drama elective and, as such, audition for roles in the annual fall one-act play and the spring musical.

In Oh, Horrors! It’s Murder!, the Hamilton museum opened an exhibit entitled, “Monsters, Murderers, and Madmen.” Professor Johann Vanderveer invited world renowned Egyptologist Dirk Carlton to speak about his recent trip to Egypt and the discoveries he made concerning the ancient Tomb of Menkaura. However, during the presentation, something went awry and someone ended up dead. It was up to Lt. Dani Morrow to crack the case.

This play was appropriate for all ages with hilarious comedy and toe-tapping songs throughout.  Some audience members even got a chance to accuse characters in an attempt to discover the truth.

In addition to the perplexing mystery, there was a live exhibit from the display of Monsters, Murderers, and Madmen both before the show and during the intermission.  At intermission of the Friday, May 4th show, North Carolina Poet Laureate, Shelby Stephenson, read some of his poetry and sang a few songs.

The musical was laugh-out-loud funny, well performed and pure entertainment for all in attendance.

The ever growing and changing list of members of our GrowZone Player troupe never cease to amaze audiences with their performances. They manage to take a script and bring it to life in a skilled and professional manner far exceeding their individual ages.

Be sure to take every opportunity to see the GrowZone Players’ productions. They are not to be missed!

Kindergarten Continued to Cook All Year Long

You might remember prior posts describing how Kindergarten students have been cooking “around the world.” As part of their social studies, they have invited guests to cook native foods from different parts of the world.

Most recently, a special guest made Finnish cinnamon rolls with the class. She read them a Finnish story, taught them how to say hello and good bye in Finnish, talked about the geography of Finland and answered lots of curious questions from the students.

Earth Day River Walks

In celebration of Earth Day back in April, Tony Ward of Hiawasee River Watershed Coalition (HRWC) guided the studets on a walk of Murphy’s Riverwalk and explained the difference in native and non-native species. Students also explored why it is important for plants to grow on riverbanks to prevent erosion as the kids learned that dirt is the number one polluter in our rivers. Students learned about many local trees and shrubs and how they all had different methods of spreading their seeds.

5th Grade Students Enjoy Muddy Sneakers® Expedition

Making nests, drinking white pine tea and building solar ovens was recently the order of the day for fifth grade students at The Learning Center Charter School.  That’s because field educators from Muddy Sneakers® took the class on a two day expedition into the outdoors.

The Muddy Sneakers program exists to enrich the standard course of study through experiential education in an outdoor setting where students connect with the land, become more active, and gain self-confidence while improving science aptitude.  Muddy Sneakers began as a pilot program in the spring of 2007 with Brevard and Pisgah Forest Elementary Schools in Transylvania County and has grown each year to now serve 36 schools across 12 counties and 13 school districts in the Carolinas.

Muddy Sneakers Field Instructors, Dana Bradley and Jace Besold, visited the charter school for two days in March. They took students to the Hanging Dog recreation area to learn about energy.  They will be back again to teach the 5th graders about both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.

Fifth grade science teacher at the school, Jay Ward, said, “The students loved the trip not just because it was fun, but because they were divided into small groups and were really able to focus on what the instructors were teaching. I loved seeing the kids so involved with the activities and enjoying the outdoors. They really did get muddy sneakers!”

North Carolina Poet Laureate, Shelby Stephenson, Attended Annual Spring Musical

North Carolina Poet Laureate, Shelby Stephenson, read poems and sang songs as part of opening night intermission of the charter school’s annual spring musical on May 4, 2018.

Graced with the presence of poets, so it was at the opening night of Oh Horror! It’s Murder at The Learning Center Charter School on May 4. That’s because North Carolina Poet Laureate, Shelby Stephenson, attended and provided intermission entertainment.

Stephenson grew up on a farm in Benson, North Carolina and says that most of his poems are a product of that environment. He has written many poems about the farm, the foxhounds his father hunted and the streams, fields and trees of his childhood home. He graduated from the University of North Carolina and went on to study law at University of Pittsburgh and University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 2001, the state of North Carolina awarded him the NC Award in Literature. He has gone on to receive the Bellday Poetry Prize, the Oscar Arnold Young Award, the Zoe Kincaid-Brockman Award, the Brockman-Campbell Award, the Bright Hill Press Chapbook Prize, and the Playwright’s Fund of North Carolina Chapbook Prize.

He has also produced a poetic documentary titled, Plankhouse as well as numerous books of poems including Middle Creek Poems, Carolina Shout!, The Persimmon Tree and Possum.  He and his wife, Linda, have also recorded four musical CDs.

Mary Ricketson and Joan Howard with Ridgeline Literary Alliance and North Carolina Writers Network-WEST accompanied Stephenson to the annual spring musical at the charter school.

Stephenson shared with the school’s Executive Director that during this year marking the 50th Anniversary of the North Carolina Arts Council, what a pleasure it was to see firsthand that the arts are alive and well in the far west at The Learning Center Charter School.

The school will host Stephenson on its campus again in the fall as a guest assembly presenter.

Innovation Tech Camp Set – June 11-14

The Learning Center Charter School is one of nine stops across the U.S. for Innovation Tech Camp for rising sixth through twelfth graders. For four days, from June 11-14, Innovation Tech Camp students will be immersed in hands-on learning. They will use emerging technologies such as 3D printing, 3D CAD design, artificial intelligence, and computer programming in a fun and challenging environment.

Innovation Tech Camp was co-founded by California based Debby and Steve Kurti who like to inspire a new generation of tinkerers, explorers and innovators. Originally from Franklin, Steve and his wife have hosted the camp here in Murphy since 2014.

Each year students at the camp are presented with a complex fictional scenario. The group is then placed onto varying teams to ultimately solve the problem by designing equipment, programming robots, 3D printing components and navigating a solution through trial and error.

“We create challenges worthy of their intellect with tools powerful enough to hold their attention,” said Debby Kurti. “This is the best experience to jumpstart your teen’s curiosity and technical skill.”

Innovation Tech Camp is part of the Kurti’s nonprofit organization called Curious Student Foundation.  The Foundation helps provide scholarships for kids eager to attend camp.  The Curious Student Foundation never turns away kids that cannot pay. In fact, about 50% of students at the Murphy based camp receive funding each year through their scholarship program.

To learn more about Innovation Tech Camp set for June 11-14, 2018, visit www.naturallygrownkids.org/innovation-tech-camp.   You may register online at that address. Feel free to call 835-7240 to find out more and inquire about scholarship opportunities.

Our School Awarded $1,000 Grant From NC Beautiful

The Learning Center Charter School was awarded a $1,000 grant from NC Beautiful on February 13, 2018.

NC Beautiful has been part of the state’s environmental preservation community for 40 years, supporting awareness, education and beautification efforts across the state. The organization concentrates on hands-on and merit-based programs designed to empower North Carolina citizens to preserve the natural beauty of the state.

Since 2003, the charter school has provided outdoor education for all of its students.  The grant money will be used to enhance four outdoor learning spaces: 1) the front terraced garden; 2) a side garden plot; 3) the aquaponics garden; and 4) a new compost area. In addition to gardening tools such as clippers, shovels and gloves, additional mulch and soil will be added to the listed planting areas.

School Director, Mary Jo Dyre, said, “In this age where “screen time” heavily outweighs “green time,” we carefully craft a school day that allows our students to be outside getting their hands in the dirt as often as possible.”

Outdoor Learning Coordinator at the charter school, Emily Willey, added, “I am so thankful for the NC Beautiful Grant to provide us the funds to continue to maintain the garden beds and the tools to facilitate our spectacular outdoor program. These green spaces provide a much needed opportunity for our students to interact in a real way with the ecosystem around them while also gaining important skills and insights across their academic curriculum.”

Steve Vacendak, Executive Director of NC Beautiful, seen at far left, presented a $1,000 check to a portion of The Learning Center Charter School’s student body on February 13, 2018.