Exciting New Math Approach Takes Hold at Learning Center Charter School

Students at The Learning Center Charter School are experiencing a new approach to math this school year, termed Guided Math, due in large part to second grade teacher, Stephanie Hopper. In spring of 2016, she began researching math curriculum. The more she researched, the more she realized that no magical math curriculum exists. She saw that it’s not the curriculum but the approach to math that better meets the needs of the school’s diverse population of students.

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Guided Math is now what kindergarten through fifth grade students at the charter school do each day. Math class begins with a math warm up and is soon followed by a whole group mini lesson which focuses on a specific math standard.  After that, students work in smaller groups following a rotation schedule according to STACK. STACK stands for 1) Small group with the teacher, 2) Technology, 3) Apply what they have learned; 4) Create using critical thinking skills through math journaling, and 5) Kinesthetic, or in other words, hands-on games and activities. These rotations allow the students to experience direct instruction as well as student-centered activities and hands-on learning. The teacher is able to work with small groups of students to further enhance the direct instruction and work closely with those who are struggling and those who are ready to be further challenged. After the daily rotation is complete, the class comes back together as a whole and reflects on the lessons of the day.

Ms. Hopper says that student response to Guided Math has been great and is a perfect addition to the school’s Four-Blocks English Language Arts Program. Fourth grade teacher, Chris Conroy says, “My experience with Guided Math so far is that students are much more engaged in their work. They enjoy helping their fellow group members and love the rotations. The Guided Math approach gives students the opportunity to learn the math standards in many different ways and allows the teacher to monitor each individual child and provide differentiated instruction and lessons. It’s a win-win learning experience!”

 

As Seen in the Cherokee Scout: Tuition-free Public Charter School Offers Rich Program Across All Districts

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

The Learning Center! offers an E-STEAM (Entrepreneurship, Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts/Agriculture, and Math) learning environment. 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 “Above and Beyond” programs include Compacted Math classes for gifted students, Flexible Grouping in Math, K-4 chorus and a highly developed drama program. The upper grade’s CREW Program, in its second year of operation, promotes character development, goal setting and responsible behaviors.

More extras including National Honor Society, Odyssey of the Mind teams, “Academics and the Arts” artists-in-residency program, “Mini and Middle REAL” young entrepreneur program and Writers Club provide students with the opportunities to become all they can be.

Designated as a “USDA Healthier U.S. School” (Silver Level), The Learning Center! 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 Learning Center! 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 “Engineering Camp” and Intervention programs are also offered.

For more information or to schedule a tour, call 828.835.7240. Visit www.naturallygrownkids.org, their blog (tlcgrowzone.org/blog) and FaceBook page (facebook.com/TLCGrowZonePage).

Visiting Artist Creates Giant Beetle at Learning Center

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Who knew what an old trampoline, some creativity and old-fashioned know-how could turn into? That’s what 5th grade students at The Learning Center! Charter School were saying after they teamed up with visiting artist, Jeff Menzer.

 

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Asheville based artist, Jeff Menzer, visited the school back in February to plan projects he and students would be implementing on campus this spring. Menzer specializes in creating “Re-Art” Sculpture, figurative sculpture, and environmental installations using found objects and industrial discards.

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Menzer worked with the students to brainstorm some ideas for the project with the idea that it would eventually be a bug or insect themed art piece.

 

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Menzer returned to the school recently to turn discarded trampoline parts into art pieces that will become part of the school’s “Outdoor Learning Center” program. The 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 an art piece that has now been permanently installed on campus.

 

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As the trampoline was being taken apart and the parts rearranged, the idea for a beetle began to develop. This concept tied into the 5th grade science ecosystems unit and also the math curriculum as students had to figure out lengths for sections of the beetle structure and the size the beetle needed to be relative to the garden area.

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Each student contributed a name for the beetle sculpture. The two names that were chosen were a common name: The Junkyard Beetle, and the scientific name: Schoolias Beetilus. School director, Mary Jo Dyre has her own nickname for the beetle sculpture. “I like to call it ‘VW.’”

Have Bored Teenagers at Home This Summer?

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The Learning Center! Charter School has discovered the secret weapon for teen inventors that’s catching on across the country. Four years ago, the school teamed-up with California based high-tech education company, Table Top Inventing to challenge area students with hands-on experiences in emerging technologies. The company’s traveling science workshops, called Engineering Camp, is the brain-child ofTable Top Inventing founder and CEO, Steve Kurti, who grew up in and around Murphy and Franklin, NC.

Each year, The Learning Center! partners with Table Top Inventing as part of the school’s themed summer enrichment offerings.Engineering Camp is designed to challenge students and inspire a generation of kids to be tinkerers, explorers, innovators, and deep thinkers.

According to Table Top Inventing, “Teens that join Engineering Camp develop the tools to thrive in a challenging environment. Some of our past campers, who had never been exposed to engineering, ended up pursuing degrees in STEM-related fields after attending. Hands-on experience, team-building exercises, fun and challenging environments — Engineering Camp has it all.”

The Learning Center! in Murphy, NC is one of nine stops across the U.S. for Engineering Camp, for rising sixth graders to twelfth graders. For four days, from July 17-20, from 9am to 4pm, Murphy area Engineering Camp students will be immersed in hands-on learning, using emerging technologies such as 3D printing, 3D CAD design, artificial intelligence, programming and physical computing in a fun and challenging environment.

Spots are limited, so call The Learning Center! Charter School at 828.835.7240 for more information and sign up your bored teenager now!

For more about The Learning Center!, visit naturallygrownkids.org

6th Grade Compacted Math — Scale Drawings of School Gardens

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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.

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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.

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4th Grade — Making Animal Habitats and Environments

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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.

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Kindergarten Celebrates 100th Day of School

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Kindergarten celebrated the 100th day of school. They created shirts with 100 items. They also had a 100 day STEM party where students participated in many different STEM activities with 100 items. The class extends a special thank you to parents for the snack donations and helping the children create their shirts.

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Compacted Math — Mullet Math!

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You know what a mullet is, right? Business in the front and a party in the back. The famous hair cut!  Students in Compacted Math spent time studying the mullet, determining what is more mullety by comparing ratios of business to party. In their quest to determine which styles are more mullety, they immediately grabbed pencil and paper to write ratios to help them figure it out. Mullet ratios!

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Even the mullet wig was written in mullet ratio form!

Special thanks to Matt Vaudrey and his Mullet Math lesson which can be found by clicking HERE.

1st Grade Studies Wompanoag Indian Tribe

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Recently, students in first grade studied the Wompanoag Indians. As part of their studies they created vests. They dyed them with tea and decorated them with beads and symbols.  They tied their learning into math, reading, science, social studies and art.

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