After reading books together and meeting each week to question, discuss, connect, and create pictures of the chapters they read, each group designed a culminating project to demonstrate what they have learned. Each of the five groups, chose a variety of ways to allow the rest of the class a glimpse of what they had experienced. We were an audience to a scene from the Tale of Desperaux; walked through a gallery of three artists' interpretation of the same scene from Hatchet; were players in board games based on The Lemonade War; and toured the main settings in dioramas from Witches and Artemis Fowl.
In our ongoing exploration of trees in art, Kara spoke briefly about Gustav Klimt's famous painting, The Tree of Life.
Using a simple design, students explored and interpreted Klimt's composition and piece through oil pastels and metallic gold tempera paint to create their own vibrant trees of life.
Today, Erin Leakey, a paleontologist and ecologist, returned to explore how a record of fossil leaves, preserved in fossil floras, can tell us a lot about what past ecosystems looked like, as well as what the local climate was like at the time the trees were growing. Students used fossil leaves from Colorado floras to obtain temperature and precipitation estimates by measuring differences in leaf area and leaf margins. Students will discuss how climates in Colorado have changed over time and how changing climates affect ecosystems.
A few minutes later, Cece met with the class to ask for input around the type of play structures the future play area should contain. Students looked through catalogs to:
-work, talk, and listen together
-choose structures that connect with nature
-find ones that are accessible to students of all ages and physical abilities
-limit the budget to $100,000
The river stones are listening because we have something to say.
The trees lean closer today.
The singing in the electrical woods has gone down.
It looks like rain, because it is too warm to snow.
Guardian angels, wherever you're hiding, we know you can't be everywhere at once.
Have you corralled all the pretty wild horses?
The memory of ants asleep and day lilies, roses, holly and larkspur?
The magpies gaze at us, still waiting.
River stones are listening.
But all we can say now is mercy, please rock me.
As many of you know, one of the missions of Horizons is to guide students to be community contributors. Children in the fourth and fifth grade participate in two organized projects - - Community Table and Share-a-Gift. Share-a-Gift is an all volunteer project that gathers, sorts, and distributes toys, bikes, and books to over 1500 children in Boulder County. Cathy Conery, a former parent of a Horizons student and coordinator of Share-a-Gift, appreciated the help our class was able to give this morning sorting toys, creating stocking stuffers, and organizing tables in preparation for the many parents who were coming this weekend to gather toys for their children.
"Try to fill other people's bucket." Livvie Witt and Anna Cutler, former Horozons students and now on BHS's student council, advised our classroom. Through including others, letting others know what you appreciate about them, and by simply saying, "Hi!" you can fill others' days with happiness and good feelings. Through a series of activities, students had positive, uplifting interactions with one another. Perhaps the highlight was the "Tap Someone" exercise (above) that demonstrated "how much everyone in this classroom matters. Everyone is appreciated for who they are no matter where they go." Most of the class sat in a circle and closed their eyes while others took turns tapping their classmates who: Tap someone who has made you laugh; Tap someone who is kind to others;Tap someone who you enjoy spending time with; Tap someone who is very similar to you; Tap someone compassionate; Tap someone who is loves art; Tap someone who has good sportsmanship; Tap someone who inspires you; Tap someone who you trust; Tap someone who is a good friend; Tap someone who is a good listener; Tap someone with great ideas; Tap someone who can really brighten your day; and many more.
Anna and Livvie returned to Horizons as a way of giving back to a community that helped shaped them.
Less than 24 hours after the middle school showcase night, the sixth, seventh, and eighth graders hosted all the fifth graders in their community rooms. All aspects of middle school were covered from content, expectations, schedule, community activities, Aperture (eighth grade culminating slef-directed project) in an experiential, hands-on manner. As typical at Horizons, each middle schooler took on a role of the shadowing experience and spoke in a genuine, knowledgeable, and honest manner that reflected the pride they felt in being part of the Horizons middle school.