They had so much fun traveling the world and learning so many interesting facts about holiday celebrations around our world.
Recently, eighth grade students have been immersed in a project based learning (PBL) scenario where they are trying to determine what a mystery disease is and how to handle it from a community perspective. Students are taking on the roles of county health officials by diagnosing the disease, creating an action plan to stop the spread of the outbreak, and educating the public on disease transmission.
PBL is a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to an authentic, engaging and complex question, problem, or challenge. This mystery disease scenario is allowing these students to not only learn the science of disease but also a community response to manage it. This PBL approach helps students develop skills for living in our knowledge-based, highly technological world.
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.
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.
Second grade students worked on a “Birds” PBL (Project Based Learning) unit in which the children learned all about birds through literature, writing, interactive construction of birdhouses, and art. The students used texts and technology to research their favorite bird and write a bird report. The students presented their final projects during our School Maker’s Faire on March 9th.
If you’ve been following along over the past several weeks here on the blog, then you’ve seen these fourth graders learning about animals and their habitats. You’ve seen them create imaginary animals and understand what their habitats would have to contain in order for them to survive. These photos are of these students now creating these habitats for their animals. This ongoing project has touched on studies in science, math, reading and social studies and has kept these students engaged in the learning process.
Our first grade teacher, Ms. Leslie, is from the Artic Circle in Alaska. She has been bringing in one thing from there each day to share about the ecosystem and culture of the native peoples there. On this day she brought in a whale vertebra, a parka, whale baleen and an example of native clothing of iNupiaq people.
Kindergarten students were treated to a special visit from Ms. Hannah who played a traditional mountain dulcimer for the class. She told the history of the dulcimer and played and sang traditional mountain songs. Not only did this tie into what these students are learning in Social Studies and Montessori North American studies, but also with what these students are to learn about writing, speaking and listening standards.
Thank you Ms. Hannah!
There is never a dull moment for our young learners. Students in Kindergarten benefit from a Montessori-blend approach that extends the Montessori approach from preschool into their first charter school classroom. Whether they are sorting, spending time in nature, gardening, counting, learning to read, exploring math concepts or creating art, these students know how to keep it lively and fun.
Travel is one of many things educators can do to help students grow into well-rounded adults with perspective that extends beyond their own neighborhood. This is why TLC has a robust “Venture Out” program that aims to weave literature, science, history, and art with travel and real life experiences. This cross-curricular travel-study program gives students a broader perspective through new experiences.
The VENTURE OUT program promotes trips to places and people of interest across the Mountain Region of North Carolina. Typical outings may include, but are not limited to the following:
- Cherokee County: Historic downtown Murphy including the trail of historic cemeteries; John C. Campbell Folk School, Brasstown, including resident artist hands-on tour and the Rivercane Wall; a stop at the renowned “Clay’s Corner”; a step back in time at the old country store in the Peachtree community; Walker Inn, Andrews; study of historic area schools.
- Clay County: Finding fairy crosses, visiting the Ogden School as part of a study of historic area schools in the midst of scenic Clay County.
- Graham County: Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest, stopping along the way to explore a small portion of the Trail of Tears, Cherohala Skyway, Fontana Dam
- Jackson County: Forensic Studies Field Trip to Western Carolina University
- Macon County: Gem and Mineral Museum of Franklin, Civilian Conservation Corps, Wayah Bald, Nantahala Lake as a source of hydroelectric power, Glen Choga Lodge.
- Swain County: the abandoned sites of Hazel Creek and Proctor; Deep Creek area of Great Smoky Mountain National Park.
Additionally, VENTURE OUT works in conjunction with the annual Upper Grades Class Trip opportunities that are offered to Learning Center students on a three-year cycle, covering the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade years of our students. The three year cycle always includes 1) New York City, with in-route stops including Natural Bridge, Hershey Factory, or Gettysburg. 2) North Carolina Coast, with in-route stops in the Piedmont area. 3) Director’s Choice: This choice has included Charleston, Savannah, and New Orleans.
Our students start their North Carolina studies in fourth grade. We like to say that we start Venture Out Junior at this point, laying the foundation for combining education with travel, using the world and people around us as a rich, educational resource. Again, a cross-curricular approach is taken to social studies and history, expanding into a STEM to STEAM approach, including rich field work including such sites as Cherokee County Historical Museum, Heritage Park Cherokee Exhibit in Hayesville and the Clay County Museum. Students even venture into northeast GA to better understand the regional ties to a border state such as ours. An annual visit to Georgia Mountain Research and Education Center to experience the “Trees Program” is always a part of 4th grade adventures.
Seen here, students in 6th, 7th and 8th grade traveled to Atlanta in May for a rich city life experience that included CNN World News Headquarters, Center for Puppetry Arts, a fantastic tour of the labs, classrooms and inner workings of the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, a performance of Cirque du Soleil’s Kurios: Cabinet of Curiosities, a tour the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University – focusing on the science behind art and artifact restoration, and Buford Highway Farmer’s Market, an incredible international food market featuring foods that many of the group had never seen before.
The 2015-2016 school year also offered 6th-8th graders an opportunity for a three day camping trip to Cades Cove in Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Students rode horses, built fire, swam, fished, hiked and worked with Park Rangers on a water quality study of a local creek. Outdoor learning is an integral part of a TLC education and tying it in with a further venture outward into our region taught students much about nature, science, community and self.
Traveling is an investment in education. It allows kids the opportunity to see first-hand the things they have learned and to put into practice the skills they have acquired. They gain a global perspective and a strong independence that no other teaching method can impart. Travel teaches tolerance, self-sufficiency, and resourcefulness. Without travel, students only see the world on a screen or in a book but TLC ensures they get to experience it for themselves.