TLC Celebrates Earth Day

WP_20170421_09_41_06_Pro

Students across The Learning Center campus celebrated Earth Day in April by taking a walking tour with Restoration Coordinator, Tony Ward, of the Hiawasee River Watershed Coalition. He taught students how our town monitors and improves water bodies in our area.  Students learned about environmental issues and our local ecology along the river including the efforts being made to stop erosion along the rivers, the benefits of trees, and native and evasive plants.

WP_20170421_09_43_02_Pro IMG955620 IMG955621 IMG955622 WP952017042195099540954795Pro

Let’s Turnip the Beet!

20170426_100244

Earlier this Spring, these students harvested the beets that they planted as seed in the garden. Ms. Emily took them home and cooked them for the students to eat as well. Growing vegetables is an important way to get young kids interested in where their food comes and try new foods. Way to go students!

Are you part of the Green & Clean Crew?

green & clean crew 2017

Our school Green & Clean Crew is responsible for keeping our grounds looking beautiful. If you like getting your hands dirty, or finding an excuse to be outdoors on a beautiful day, we have a job for you! Contact the office and find out how you can become part of this “growing” group.

green & clean crew 2017 2

Pathfinder Crew Paints Rocks as Part of Earth Day Activities

2017042095124159951492794800624

The Pathfinder Crew painted rocks as part of the Murphy Rocks movement and then hid them with care along the River Walk.  This was in conjunction with learning about native trees and water quality as part of their Earth Day activities with the Hiawassee River Watershed Coalition.

20170420_130524_1492794808068 20170420_130655_1492794812457 20170420_131044_1492794814450 20170420_131122_1492794818367 20170420_131203_1492794818961 20170420_131407_1492794863840 20170420_131442_1492794864779 2017042095125110951492794802107 2017042095125958951492794806039 2017042095130733951492794813547 2017042095130920951492794815412

6th Grade Compacted Math — Scale Drawings of School Gardens

20170321_083033_1490111907150

Compacted Math is a program at our school for eligible students in 6th, 7th and 8th grades. Students enter Compacted Math in 6th grade and by the time they complete 8th grade, they will have mastered 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th grade math concepts.

20170321_082016_1490111910789

These students recently headed outside to take measurements to begin creating scale drawings of the school gardens. They are studying geometric figures in the classroom and this hands on activity make the math concepts take on practical meaning.  By determining an appropriate scale, they will be able to create smaller drawings using that scale.

20170321_082157_1490111909769 20170321_082447_1490111908441 2017032195082055951490111910189 2017032195082535951490111907808 2017032195083400951490111906551

Visiting Artist Plans Recycled Art Project for Campus Gardens

IMG_1354

Back in March, Ashevile based artist, Jeff Menzer, visited The Learning Center to plan projects he and students will be implementing on campus this spring. Mr. Menzer specializes in creating “Re-Art” Sculpture, figurative sculpture, and environmental installations using found objects and industrial discards.  This spring he will work with our students to turn discarded trampoline parts into art pieces that will become part of The Outdoor Learning Center.

IMG_1356

This large scale art piece project serves to involve students in the design process, involve students in collaborative problem solving of environmental issues through the creative process, and to complete two art sculptures, one a shelter and one large bug, that will be permanently installed on campus.

3rd Grade Tends the Winter Garden

IMG953719

Third graders have been tending the winter garden at The Learning Center. They have weeded and inspected the lettuce, chard and turnips and are please to see how well everything is doing.

IMG953720 IMG953721 IMG953722

Sow True Seed offers Seed Giveaway for School Gardens

img_3383
The Learning Center nutrition director, Susan Blomeley (left) with Vanessa Horton, Programs Director at Sow True Seed. Blomeley was able to select 50 seed packets free of charge for The Learning Center’s garden project.

The Learning Center! Charter School has a long history of dedication to good nutrition and garden-based learning. The school’s garden program, which includes a terraced garden and greenhouse, got a boost from an Asheville-based seed company. On November 29th, Sow True Seed opened its doors to schools with garden projects to shop for 50 seed packets at no charge. According to Sow True Seed’s website, their intention is to support growers of the future. “The growers of the future are our future. By seeding young minds with excitement and enthusiasm for a greener world, we can grow a better world.”

The Learning Center nutrition director, Susan Blomeley traveled to Asheville, equipped with a wish list for spring and fall greens, a variety of squashes, pumpkins, and gourds, as well as summer flowers to support pollinators. Science teacher, Emily Willey who coordinates the school’s Outdoor Learning program, works closely with students throughout the year planning and cultivating the gardens and greenhouse.

Founded in 2008 by lifelong gardener and food activist Carol Koury, Sow True Seed provides open-pollinated, heirloom and organic vegetable, herb, and flower seeds to enthusiastic home gardeners and small market farmers.

Sow True Seed is working with Growing Minds Farm to School program to encourage more school gardens to flourish. Growing Minds is a program of Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP). The School Seed Giveaway is a fantastic event for teachers and school garden coordinators to not only get resources for their school gardens, but also to connect with a wonderful community partner and school garden supporter, Sow True Seed,” says Jessica Sparks-Mussulin, Growing Minds Program Coordinator.

To Learn more, visit www.sowtrueseed.com.

More About 2nd Grade Weather Studies

img951950

A few days ago you read about students in second grade making their own anemometers to measure wind speed and a wind vane to measure wind direction. Well, these students went on to make a weather observation garden using these homemade tools. You have seen them in the terraced front gardens. Way to go Second Grade!

img951951 img951953 img951955

Learning in the Great Outdoors — 6th, 7th & 8th Grade Fall Camping Trip

20160921_150420

This September, Learning Center 6th – 8th grade students embarked on a two night, three day camping trip to explore Cherokee history and the great outdoors. While camping in the Smokemont area of The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, students explored the area in a variety of different ways. At the Learning Center, we believe in hands-on education, and there is no better way for our students to learn than to venture out and spark their curiosity.

20160923_103722_2

The wonderful folks at Smokemont Stables led Learning Center students and staff on a four-mile horseback ride through a wooded trail. Students learned about local flora and fauna from helpful and knowledgeable guides. Students were taught the basics of safely riding horseback while exploring the incredible biodiversity of our mountains.

20160923_110847

While at camp, students adventured around the Bradley Fork Creek, hiking, wading, looking for signs of insect and animal life, inspecting plants of all kinds, and learning to fly fish. In camp, students were taught leave-no-trace ethics and pitched in to set up camp and maintain a safe, clean, and happy community.

20160923_130536

The group ventured out of camp to explore Cherokee and the many educational opportunities it offers. They toured the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, taking in a fascinating history of the tribe from pre-history to the modern era. Students also perused the Qualla Arts & Crafts Center, seeing a variety of local crafts made by Cherokee artisans. The Cherokee visit culminated in a traditional Cherokee-style meal of bean bread and roasted chicken with the fixings, served at the museum.

2016092395095048

Our students were also able to take in the history of the pioneer settlers that lived in the area that became the National Park. The Ocunaluftee Visitors Center features a variety of structures that exemplify the types of humble homesteads that dotted these mountains. From the blacksmith shop, to the pig pens, to the dove-tailed log cabins, Leanring Center students got a slice of local history first-hand.
Learning Center students take a camping trip at least once a year. We know that the great outdoors is a great learning experience and we love to see our students get excited about exploring the world around them. Find out more at www.naturallygrownkids.org/what-makes-us-different.