This is the last week before our Term 2 Exams, so we are very busy finishing up all of our reading. However, we still manage to make time to be active. A couple of weeks ago, the Greene family came to share a recipe for pita bread. The Greenes are a local homesteading family that grows and sells produce at Foothills Farmers Market. Since they homeschool, the children were able to come in to talk about what a typical day on the farm looks like. Then we each made our own pita and ate it warm from the oven with butter. Yum!
Last Friday, we took a field trip to Charlotte, NC to visit Discovery Place and First Presbyterian Church. Of course, Discovery Place gave us an opportunity to study principles of science in a fun, hands-on way. While we were there, we also saw an IMAX movie about the migration of the monarch butterfly from Canada to Mexico. The reason for the visit to First Presbyterian Church was to view a real fresco. Our study of Raphael this term taught us that a "fresco" is a picture that is painted right into wet plaster, so that when it dries it becomes a permanent part of a wall. We had seen many pictures of frescoes in Europe, and we thought it would be difficult to find one to see in person. Then we found out about Ben Long, who has painted frescoes throughout North Carolina. The one we saw showed the story of the Good Samaritan. The children were surprised to see just how big the painting was. They noticed that it looked different from far away than it did up close, and they moved slowly along the painting in order to see the details of each section. Now, if we could just get to Rome to see Raphael's frescoes...Maybe one day we will!
We are getting good at Spanish! Our students study Spanish for 15-20 minutes each day. At first, we only listened, so that we could begin to understand spoken Spanish. Now we are starting to learn to read what we understand orally. The children in the photos below are matching pictures with sentences. We are also learning the folk tale, Tres Cerditos, or The Three Little Pigs, in Spanish. The students are creating their own storybooks and will learn to read the story by the end of this school year. The literary language adds much to the study of conversational Spanish.
On Friday, we went to visit with our senior friends at Wood Creek Apartments. These residents love to play games and win prizes. And guess what? So do children! It was a special time of service and fellowship with people of differing ages. As we looked on, the teachers commented that our students have grown significantly in their ability to be both gracious hosts and gracious guests this year. They have discovered the joy that comes when we step outside ourselves to serve others.
Today we walked over to Art Blooms Studio to work on a project to commemorate the successful completion of our inaugural year. Students drew a self-portrait on clay tiles and began to paint them. Next week they will finish painting, then the tiles will be fired and mounted together to form a collage that will hang in our school.
Last Monday, we went to Art Blooms to screen print our school shirts. The children got to choose their shirt and ink colors, and the shirts have that uniqueness that anything hand-made has.
We also got our school pictures back. We wanted our pictures to show our uniqueness, too, so we opted for the beauty of the outdoors and let our personalities shine.
On Friday we walked over to the GWU library to talk with a student who has her senior exhibit on display. Missy Potter works with pastels to create stunning portraits that are full of life. She talked with the students about her technique (called "integrating") and how it is similar to Impressionism. After spending a few minutes reading in the children's section, we walked over to the Millennium Playhouse to see the set of My Sweet Charlie. Chris Keene showed us around and let us see some of the lighting effects. He also talked a little about the plot of the play, which is set during the time of segregation.
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Dr. Jen Spencer is the Director and Lead Teacher of Willow Tree Community School. She enjoys hiking, writing, and discussing philosophy and education reform.