Kindergarten and Johnny Appleseed

Johnny Appleseed!

On Sept 8, 2011 the Kindergarten went to the Georgia Mountain Research and Education Center in Blairsville, GA to visit and learn about Johnny Appleseed, growing and harvesting apples in our region, and the cycle of life in an apple orchard.

The books and stories read prior to the fieldwork really paid off.  Our students were able to recognize the parts of the plant, knew the proper technique to pick (and not injure the apple tree or other apples), and could discuss the interdependent relationship of insects, animals, and plants, and how weather effects farming and production and costs of food items.


A special thank you to our wonderful parents for joining and driving this class on this fieldwork.  They have since used the apples they picked in several projects, including graphing, cooking applesauce, and a Country French apple pie.


More happenings in the classrooms and around campus

5th grade doing Guided Reading in The Outdoor Learning Center.


Fourth grade using personal white boards to solve problems in Investigations Math.


Fourth grade weighing, measuring, scratching, and testing floating ability of different rocks in science class.
Second graders displaying kites they made during their studies of reading, math and science.



Third graders playing CAPTURE 5 in Investigations Math.
Third graders learning about the legend of the hummingbird in Guided Reading.


7th grade outdoor motion lab, exploring variables that affect pendulum swing in science class.



6th grade outdoor transverse wave modeling in science class.


Honoring 9/11 with a TLC Day of Service

Today every student at TLC! fanned out across our community to “pay it forward.”

Beginning at 8:30am the entire student body and staff congregated in our front school parking lot for the Kickoff Ceremony.

All were present . . . from preschool through eighth grade.
Pledging to the flag.
Honoring those that died on September 11, 2001.


Mayor Hughes was our special guest.


Students then ventured out to local non-profit organizations to give back to our community.  They visited Murphy Medical Center Nursing Home, the Murphy Police Department, Murphy Public Library, REACH Thrift Store, Project Creek Bank, Murphy River Walk and a local food pantry.

At Murphy Medical Center Nursing Home


Murphy Police Department



Murphy Public Library


REACH Thrift Store



Murphy River Walk


Local food pantry

Additionally, students also worked on campus with construction, repair, garden and beautification projects.






This day not only honored those who gave all on September 11th, but helped develop the character of our students.  A special thank you to Ms. Ashley for suggesting this day of service and making it happen at TLC!

Second grade teacher Ms. Ashley

What exactly is a charter school anyway?

(This post originally appeared on August 30, 2010.  However, it bears repeating now and again.  Be sure to be up to date on all things happening in charter law both in our state and across the nation.  How?  Use the category drop down menu located in the side bar on the right and choose “Charter School Updates” to see all posts relating to the subject.)=

How many of you have been at a summer cookout and have been asked, “I know your kid goes to the charter school over there down from the pool.  What exactly is a charter school anyway?”  How about at Thanksgiving dinner when all your distant relatives are together?  Doesn’t someone invariably ask you to tell them what makes a charter school different from other schools?  I’ve even been asked by the check-out person at the grocery store when they see my kid’s school t-shirt.

So, what do you tell them?

Wikipedia says that,

a charter school is a school that receives public money (and like other schools, may also receive private donations) but are not subject to some of the rules, regulations, and statutes that apply to other public schools in exchange for some type of accountability for producing certain results, which are set forth in each school’s charter.  Charter schools are opened and attended by choice.  While charter schools provide an alternative to other public schools, they are part of the public education system and are not allowed to charge tuition.


Um.  Well.  Okay.

What are you going to tell Great Uncle Earl when he asks what a charter school is at your next holiday get together?

A charter school is a public school of choice. It is public.  Public means no tuition.  In other words, it’s free.  And, you choose to go there.

A charter school offers innovation in education. A charter school has to meet the same state academic standards that every other school has to meet.  However, the school itself decides how it’s going to achieve those standards.

Now you know.

So go forth and educate the world.  Or at least your immediate community

Upper grade elective offerings for this term


 Twice yearly students in in 5th – 8th grades have the opportunity to sign up for a class in an area of study that is of high interest to the student.  Check out the descriptions of this term’s offerings.

Drama Club — Students will explore elements of drama as they work toward a goal of presenting a full production in the spring.  This fall the club will focus on set design and set construction for the spring performance of the children’s muscial The Princess and the Pea.

Fusion: An Ensemble Experience — This fall students will once again return to the basics of music and learning some music theory, notation and dynamics while focusing on learning songs for our Veteran’s Day program and the Tree Lighting ceremony.  As time alows they will also learn additional holiday songs for a lunch time holiday concert before leaving for Christmas break.

Crafy Lady Crochet — Learn basic crochet stitches and turn these into beautiful projects.  Possibilities include scarves, hats and small afghans.

Claymation — Students will work with clay by sculpting characters and objects during the first part of the class.  They will then map out a story that they would like to eventually produce into a video using Windows MovieMaker and their clay figures. 

Primitive Skills — Primitive skills are used to accomplish tasks with no or few modern tools, in a way that native peoples or early settlers might have done.  For example, a fire can be made with friction (bow drill) and natural tinder as compared to started with a match or lighter and paper.  The instructor will choose activities based upon weather, availability of supplies and student interest as well as appropriate class behavior.  Activities will include some of the following:  tanning hides, hand-sewing items made of buckskin, making cordage from natural materials, building primitive shelter, making friction fires, building a raft, or cooking on a fire.

Trail Blazers — Trailblazers is an onging project that gives students the opportunity to get outside and engage in physical activity while learning about and developing a greater appreciation of nature.  This year students will focus on honing obervations skills by spending some time during every class quietly looking at some aspect of nature or just listening.  They will resume work of maintaining the trail, the creek bank, and the adjoining areas by removal of fallen limbs, debris, and invasive plants.  Additional stonework will be added to the fire pit constructed by students last year and benches will be placed around to make it more user-friendly.  Attractive weather-proof signs will be created to identify the variety of wildflowers, trees, and even poisonous plants along the trail, and interesting information such as medicinal uses and alternate names will be posted.

Wilderness Adventures Outdoor Education— This course is designed and run by the Wilderness Adventures Team and approved by The Learning Center through their elective program.  It will comprise of half classroom/outdoors instruction plus outdoor trips (an initial challenge hike and subsequent three-day backcountry trips.)  Students will engage in in-class and on-site components in preparation for the backpacking trip.  Preparation will include safety briefings, trip planning and skill development.  Those same areas will be addressed and further developed in the field.

Yearbook —  As a member of the Yearbook Staff  students will create the school yearbook from start to finish.  From selling ad space, photographing school events and creating page layouts, students will make the annual TLC yearbook a reality.  Open to 7th and 8th grade students only.

Ready, SET, Go! Monster Mash Set Production, Chorus Performance Props and Christmas Float Design — Students with artistic flare will create the amazing set designs used in our annual Monster Mash and other seasonal school events.

The Outdoor Learning Center

Teachers and Board members learning about The Outdoor Learning Center before school began.
The 2011-2012 school year boasts the introduction of The Outdoor Learning Center (TOLC) at TLC!  This outdoor learning center is located adjacent to The Learning Center! campus.

The screen house in The Outdoor Learning Center.


In addition to a fire pit and seating area, TOLC also includes garden areas, berry patches, an old spring house, walking trails, story trees and screen house.  This awesome outdoor classroom space can be used for every subject taught during the school day including math, science, language arts, social studies, music, art and free play. 

Sixth graders making use of the fire pit.
Sixth graders are acting out Greek myths from their summer reading project in The Outdoor Learning Center.

Sixth graders wasted no time figuring out how to use TOLC.  Over the summer they read about Greek Gods and Goddesses and Ms. Jamie immediately knew it would be neat to let them act them out in TOLC.  The students put together a booklet of their specific story, read it together, and then made a skit.  Above, students are acting out the Greek myth of Persephone and Hades called “The Journey to the Underworld.” 

Stay tuned here to learn more about TOLC as the year progresses.  You’ll be able to use the Category drop down menu located in the right hand side bar to select “The Outdoor Learning Center” to pull up blog posts about it anytime you want to learn more.

Investigations Math in Action!

The second grade class is pictured here working in Math Workshop. Math Workshop is a time they have each day where the students get to practice, apply and develop math skills.

Here you see them working on Count and Cover. This activity works on counting, plane shape identification such as hexagons, trapezoids, triangles, and rhombuses.  It also work on mental adding.

Charter School Increases Staff, Transitions to Common Core Standards


L-R: Ms. Theresa, Ms. Chris and Ms. Jessilyn


The Learning Center! Charter School has begun implementation of the Common Core curriculum standards a year earlier than North Carolina schools are required and has added staff for school year 2011-2012. New this year are teachers Theresa Raker and Jessilyn Knight. Additionally, teacher Chris Crayton’s role has expanded to full time. 

Theresa Raker, from Kentucky, has 18 years teaching experience and holds a Masters of Education in grades first through eighth.  She lives in Hayesville, NC and is very interested in fiber arts. Raker has traveled to all 50 states and will be teaching middle school social sciences and language arts. In addition, she will be directing the middle school drama program.

Chris Crayton, originally from Illinois has lived in Cherokee County for the last 7 years.  She holds an undergraduate degree in  Pre-Med and a Masters in Botany. Crayton is certified in math & science grades sixth through eighth.  She has taught high school math, as well as math and science at Tri-County Community College. Crayton will teach 7th grade math, 8th grade math and science, and serve as school STEM coordinator. Additionally she will help coordinate the school’s Outdoor Learning Center Program. She has three children – also students at The Learning Center.

Jessilyn Knight, from Blairsville has 25 years experience in public school education. She holds a Bachelors degree in kindergarten through eighth and Masters Early Childhood Education.  She also holds an Education Specialist degree in Curriculum & Instruction, kindergarten through twelfth. She will teach kindergarten.