Electives for 5th -8th Grade Students

Check out the awesome sampling of electives offered to fifth through eighth grade students this semester!

ARTrageous: Drama students will be putting on The Learning Center’s 3rd Annual ARTrageous event this semester. This year we will be presenting drama and art focusing on the 50th anniversary of the NC Arts Program. The Drama will be centered on culture from North Carolina and writers from the state. The students will take our annual field trip to Young Harris College’s Children’s Theatre Production, play LOTS of games, laugh a great amount, and learn the basics of drama. This is not a prerequisite for the Spring Musical, anyone interested is welcome!  Instructors: Ryan Bender, Judy Coleman

 Aquaponics: The original system, in the pit, is up and running. The fish tank has about 350 fish of varying sizes; anywhere from 1” to 4” in length.  If you’ve walked by the system lately, you will have seen the system is operating as it should and many plants are growing quite well.

At the end of last year we were ready to expand and move into a new area near the black shed.  A number of interesting developments have occurred over the summer, and we now have the opportunity to expand even more.  Therefore we will focus a majority of our efforts on designing and building a new system.  In addition, we will continue to monitor and maintain the existing system.  Instructor: Bill Coleman

 Campus Creativity: This elective will have students working outdoors around campus to add creativity in different places. Projects include creating some simple outdoor science centers, helping in gardens, labeling plants/trees along the trails, and more. (Limit: 10 students)  Instructor: Kathleen Shook

Furniture Flip: In the furniture flip elective, we will be taking old donated furniture pieces and creating new usable pieces to sell. As we create these new pieces, we will learn proper safety and use of power tools. Students in this elective will be required to have safety glasses as well as old clothes for painting. Since we will be using power tools, this group must be well behaved and self motivated. (Limit: 8 students)  Instructor: Shelley Dockery

Muggle Quidditch: Quidditch is back this fall! Have you ever wanted to join the world of Harry Potter?  Would you like to play 5 sports and one time? If so, then this elective is for you.  The elective will involve rigorous physical activity while on a broom.  Students in this elective must be able to follow directions and safety protocol.  We will take enough kids to have 2 teams that will eventually compete against each other.  Muggles are you ready for the fierce battle ahead? (Limit: 20 students) Cost: $1 Instructors: Jessie Adams and Cheryl Catuto

Tech Ed: The Tech Ed course will be covering a diverse range of tech-based and engineering-based activities including the following:  Making/Building, Engineering Basics, Repurposing old tech, 3D Printing, Coding, Sensors, Robotics, and whatever other crazy things we can come up with. Class usually involves research skills and discovery-based learning. It has the potential of involving local businesses and other cool stuff too.  (Limit: 10 students)  Cost $10 Instructor: Franklin Shook

Performance Choral Ensemble: Join Ms. G and Ms. Monica for a fun and energetic Performance Choral Ensemble. You will receive voice training in your choral part, learn
simple choreography, and learn to use rhythmic instruments.  You will learn a variety of songs from popular music to traditional show tunes. You will have input in choosing songs. You will perform at school and have community performance opportunities.Instructor: Nancy Gardner & Monica Matthews

Personal Conditioning: We will focus on strength and condition training, setting personal fitness goals, enhancing specific skills and techniques and feeling confident in your physical abilities. Students can customize their own physical fitness plan to achieve their individualized goals.  The overall idea is to maximize your overall potential. (Limit: 10 students)  Instructor: Sean Bain

Beginning Quilting: In this elective you will learn how to use a sewing machine, the required tools needed to create a quilt, learn a brief history and the art of quilting.  You will also be able to piece a creation of your choice. Students are also able to bring their own sewing machine to this elective. (Limit: 4 students) Cost: $5 plus Materials for your individual project;, shopping list will be given when project is determined.  Instructor: Cheryl Kirby

1st Graders Begin Work on Fairy House in The Outdoor Learning Center

Ms. Emily, Elementary Science and Outdoor Learning Coordinator, and Ms. Katie, First Grade Teacher, collaborate to bring education alive by tying in nature to lessons as well as providing students an education in the greatest classroom of all- the great outdoors.

Recently, the teachers had the first grade students flexing their engineering muscles by beginning construction for miniature fairy houses.

While in the woods of The Outdoor Learning Center so many exciting discoveries happen. Students find interesting animals like slugs, caterpillars.  They find peculiar mushrooms and toadstools.  They inspect the variety of textures of bark, sticks, leaves and roots. They compare and contrast and become enchanted with their experiences developing the story of their fairies needs and housing.

Press “play” below to watch how excited one student is about his work!

Ms. Emily and Ms. Katie were so impressed at how quickly this class adapted to independently working in the woods!

As Seen in the Cherokee Scout School Round Up Edition

Murphy – The Learning Center Charter School, a tuition-free public charter school, continues to break ground with high-quality offerings in 21st century education. On-going facility improvements are designed for rich academic opportunities on this “future-ready” campus.

The Learning Center Charter School offers an E-STEAM (Entrepreneurship, Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts/Agriculture, and Math) learning environment.  Students are exposed across the curriculum to 3-D Printers, robotics and coding. The school’s education philosophy includes the belief that all young learners have the right to experience a broad, rich, and rigorous range of academics during the formative K-8 years. Additionally, the school offers an award-winning nutrition program, daily P.E., unique electives and extra-curricular opportunities. The school’s emphasis on healthy living, community involvement and high academic standards is designed to produce future-ready citizens. This tuition-free public charter school (K-8th) has NO district restrictions and accepts students across all counties.

The Learning Center’s Montessori Blend Kindergarten program has proven to be a strong approach to instruction for even the youngest learners. “We’ve had consistent success with the feeder Montessori Program that is located on our school campus,” said school director, Mary Jo Dyre.

The school’s programs include Compacted Math classes for accelerated math students, daily PE for all grades, a highly developed drama program, and frequent garden-based learning opportunities across campus and in the school’s Outdoor Learning Center. The upper grade’s CREW Program, in its third year of operation, promotes character development, goal setting and responsible behaviors.

More extras including National Junior Honor Society, Odyssey of the Mind teams, ARTrageous and artists-in-residency program, “Mini and Middle REAL” young entrepreneur program and AIG After School Program provide students with the opportunities to become all they can be.

Designated as a “USDA Healthier U.S. School” (Silver Level), The Learning Center Charter School places a strong emphasis on its nutrition and exercise programs. The school also has a free breakfast and lunch program available for ALL students.

The charter school serves approximately 200+ students and is open to both in and out-of-county students. There is no tuition for grades K through 8th. The school also features a Montessori private preschool, serving ages 3-5 years. After school programs are available for all ages. Summer Enrichment Programs such as Innovation Tech Camp and intervention programs are also offered.

4th Grade Science — Nutrition and Food

This week Fourth Graders have been exploring nutrition and what exactly makes up food. Here they are seen using an iodine solution to test for the presence of starch in foods. Starch is a type of carbohydrate. Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for the body.

They then went to the garden to collect natural materials like wood, petals, rocks and dirt to test for starch as well.

Students use Boston Tea Party to Learn History, Science and Etiquette

Third graders had no idea that they could learn history, science and etiquette from one project all about the Boston Tea Party.  But, that is exactly what they did at The Learning Center Charter School in May 2018.

Emily Willey, science teacher, and Kathleen Shook, classroom teacher, collaborated to create an ongoing project based learning (PBL) project where students learned about the history and importance of tea. Students began the project by planting a perennial tea garden consisting of lemon grass, bee balm, various mints, and roses.  Students researched the science of each plant as well as traditional medicinal properties of the resulting steeped tea.

Students learned that during the Colonial time period, Americans began growing herbs and drinking herbal teas as a patriot act in order to assist in the boycott British teas.  Many of these herbs were native plants that had been used by Native Americans for both health purposes as refreshment.

To conclude their studies, the class held its own formal tea party based on what they had learned about Colonial times, traditions and history.  Community volunteer, Sharon Nifong, taught the class about the customs and etiquette of “afternoon tea.” Students dressed in 1700’s era clothing and used fine china to taste teas made from their own herb garden. They even baked tasty treats using recipes from the 18th century.

 

Why Our Students “Venture Out”

Fourth through eighth grade students at The Learning Center Charter School travel each spring as part of the school’s robust “Venture Out” program.  Last school year, fourth and fifth graders traveled to Pigeon Forge while sixth through eighth graders spent three days in Atlanta.

These annual excursions are part of the school’s Venture Out cross-curricular travel-study program that weaves literature, science, social studies, history and art with travel and real life experiences. The Venture Out program includes travel across our mountain region throughout the school year and has included New York City, coastal North Carolina, Charleston, Savannah, and New Orleans in the past.

This year, fourth and fifth graders experienced attractions in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg including Wonderworks, Titanic Museum, and Ripley’s Aquarium as well as Clingman’s Dome in Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

Sixth, seventh and eighth graders ventured to Atlanta where they explored the Georgia Aquarium, Buford Highway Farmers Market, Callenwolde Fine Arts Center, and the Fernbank Museum. They also enjoyed an Atlanta Hawks basketball game, the Martin Luther King Historic Site, and the Centers for Disease Control Museum.

School Director, Mary Jo Dyre, considers travel 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,” says Dyre.  “Without travel, students only see the world on a screen or in a book but our school ensures that they get to experience it for themselves.”

Expeditionary Learning Coordinator, Julie Johnson, says, “Venture Out trips expose our students to a wide range of experiences across a variety of subjects, and create lasting memories they will carry into their future studies.”

Innovation Tech Camp Brings High-Tech Education to Campus

During the week of June 11-14, we were thrilled to host another fabulous summer camp brought to us by Steve and Debby Kurti of Innovation Academy. Students from TLC and other area schools got to dig deep into the impressive array of 3D printers, robotics, and drone technology that the camp featured. We are also thankful to Bob Merrill of BC Machining LLC in Brasstown. He lent his time as featured speaker to talk to camp participants and share the innovations he has developed over 35 years in business. Thanks to all who bring such amazing content to our Community of Learners.

Our E-STEAM Approach Has Students Out in the Woods

Emily Willey teaches science to first through fourth graders and takes a unique approach to daily science class.

Students in these grades have an on-going project of designing, constructing, maintaining and improving upon fairy houses in the school’s Outdoor Learning Center. This is because Willey views the forest as an extension of her classroom.

Before beginning fairy houses, Willey takes her students outdoors to introduce a variety of science topics throughout the school year.  At least every other week, students are outside learning and interacting with untamed nature. They see birds they don’t get to see in their backyards and find bugs, larvae, caterpillars, lichens, fungi, turtles and more.

For many years, the charter school has worked diligently to make their curriculum and campus an E-STEAM environment. E-STEAM stands for entrepreneurship, science, technology, engineering, agriculture & arts, and math.  Willey introduces fairy and hobbit houses to her students with this precise focus in mind.

Students design these miniature forest homes. They find ideal building locations and search for natural building materials. They troubleshoot building techniques, learn how to use basic tools for secure construction, explore design principles, and experiment with sustainable building techniques such as building out of clay or cob.

Willey notes that these fairy house projects help students build on their engineering skills and says the project gives students a safe environment to create with no rules.

“It is helpful for students who are intimidated in a classroom setting to be outdoors and have unstructured play and creative freedom while interacting with nature,” says Willey. “There is no wrong way to build these miniature homes and to watch students who may be timid in class slowly come into their own as they get to build outside has been nothing but inspiring.”

2nd Grade Earth Day Project from Spring 2018

Back in April, students in second grade completed an Earth Day unit. Through literature , technology, writing, and science, the students learned about the importance of caring for planet earth by recycling, reducing and reusing.

To complete the unit, the children completed a lap-book project in which they were able to showcase all they learned through a fun, interactive activity.

1st Grade Gnomes

Before school let out for summer break, first graders learned about using natural resources to make toys. They upcycled cloth and yarn and combined it with sticks gathered in The Outdoor Learning Center (TOLC.) Students sawed and carved the sticks to make gnomes. They learned about diversity by being exposed to the different mythical creatures of the wood- fairies gnomes and trolls. The students had a wonderful time and were assisted by Ms. Katie and parent visitor Ms Tina