Students Venture to Franklin, NC to Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts

In early March, students in kindergarten through second grade ventured out to Franklin, NC to see James and the Giant Peach at Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts.

Presented by the Overlook Theatre Company, James and the Giant Peach tells the story of James, a lonely, orphaned boy living with his two horrible and nasty aunts in a ramshackle house on the top of a high hill in the south of England. His aunts make James do all the cleaning and never let him away from the house to meet other children or make friends. But James’ luck starts to change when he meets a mysterious old man who hands him a magical gift. That gift will change his life and introduce James to some of the most unusual friends a young boy could ever have, leading to the most fantastical adventure one could only imagine! Told through the magic puppetry, eye-popping special effects and filled with lots of laughs, this classic story based on the work of Roald Dahl, will delight every dreamer of every age.

Kindergarten Continues Cooking Around the World

You might remember that Kindergarten students are cooking their way around the world (click here to read more.)

Their social studies continued recently and the next stop was Asia. The students learned about the Philippines and how to make spring rolls with the help of an awesome parent volunteer.

In addition to cooking and eating, the kids had the chance to ask questions and found out many facts about the continent of Asia.  They were especially surprised to learn that in Philippines, if someone knocks at your door, they must be invited in and given coffee or tea. In fact, if it’s meal time it is expected that they will join you.

2nd Grade Celebrates Chinese New Year

Recently students in second grade learned about the Lunar Calendar and the celebration of Chinese New Year. The class used technology with interactive activities, crafts and literature to learn about why and where this celebration happens.

Students also had an interactive experience as they “visited” China through the use of technology. They were able to experience the culture and customs and traditions that surround the celebration.

Kindergarten Cooks Around the World

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Kindergarten students at The Learning Center Charter School are cooking around the world with teachers Stephanie Wilson and Monica Gatti.

The Kindergarten classroom at the school is based around a Montessori-blend approach which extends the Montessori model from the school’s preschool into their first charter school classroom. Montessori is a method of education that is based on self-directed activity, hands-on learning and collaborative play.  Cooking is an important part of the Montessori Method as it allows young students to learn everything from fine motor skills, concentration and measuring as well as an understanding of where food comes from and how it is prepared in different cultures.

This year, Kindergarten teacher, Monica Gatti, is doing a different cooking lesson each month to learn about the world. For North America, the students made popcorn and loved seeing the transformation from kernel to puffed corn. When studying South America, a parent from Brazil joined the class to make Brigadeiros, a gooey chocolate fudge-like treat. For Europe, the class made gingerbread cookies which are traditionally from Germany. Soon a parent from Finland is visiting the class to make a Finnish treat similar to a cinnamon roll called a Korvapuusti.

Gatti says, “Cooking as a class has been so fun. What has been really special is that the students get to learn about the different cultures and heritages their fellow students have. What a great way to learn about the world!”

2nd Grade — Holiday Studies

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Second grade recently took a world tour to see how other countries and cultures celebrate their winter holidays. Students learned about Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Australia, Germany, Italy, America and Mexico.

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The class visited each culture by travel through interactive Google World Maps. They learned about climate, population, took interactive tours of each country, the country’s flag and cultural lifestyle and how each celebrates a winter holiday. Along with virtual tours, interactive activities, books, and writing, the children completed crafts and even did some cooking as it related to the winter holiday celebration.

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They had so much fun traveling the world and learning so many interesting facts about holiday celebrations around our world.

All Aboard the Polar Express

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Right before Christmas break, students in first through fourth grades celebrated Polar Express Day.  Their whole day revolved around the book  Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg.  In the morning they read and discussed the events in the book.  In the afternoon they boarded the “Polar Express” getting their tickets punched and enjoying snacks. The students watched the movie and were paying attention to how the movie and book were similar and how they were different.   Looks to me like they had a wonderful day!!

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Murphy Fire Department Visits Kindergarten

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Kindergarten students were thrilled when members of the Murphy Fire Department visited their class in November. They loved learning about the job and the special equipment the firefighters use to fight fires. They especially loved getting a close-up view of a firetruck!

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Why We Encourage Collaboration Between Grades

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We are proud to offer students a truly out-of-the-box K-8 education. Our learning space goes well beyond the walls of the classroom, and we strive to develop a strong sense of curiosity in our students alongside the importance of becoming life-long learners. This also means that we find opportunities to combine classes on special projects so that students are working with peers of different ages. After all, it is rare in life that you will only be with people of your own age!

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These photos show third grade students working with kindergarten students.  Kindergarten students had been learning about penguins and taught the third graders what they learned. The third graders then helped brainstorm and develop penguin habitats according to the younger students’ ideas. Not only did this collaboration encourage team work, sharpen problem solving and compromising skills, but students also had fun!

Living History Museum

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Back in May, upper grade students “opened” a Living History Museum to the younger grades. These older students each selected a historic figure and not only presented information about that person, but dressed like them as well. They essentially became that historical figure.

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For this project, these upper grade students had to synthesize the information they learned to create an exhibit representative of their subject. In order to select pivotal events or recreate significant circumstances in an individual’s life, students had to research the person but also critically evaluate the people, places, and events surrounding them in order to develop a powerful exhibit. Deciding on a format, selecting key material for younger students to understand, and putting it all in context required active learning and encouraged creative interpretation. As they worked, students needed to understand the subject and the world in which he or she lived.  Additionally, this Living History Museum introduced younger students to subjects relevant to their history studies beyond their reading ability.

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