We returned to the North Country School campus this past week after a restful and joyous holiday season, ready to jump back into school programming and embark on new outdoor adventures. In our arts classes, students took part in lessons in our new Teaching and Learning Kitchen and Walter Breeman Performing Arts Center (WallyPAC), while the fresh inches of snowfall around campus provided the perfect playground for outdoor program activities like skiing and sledding. In the upcoming weeks we will begin weekly Whiteface Days on Tuesday afternoons, which provide the entire student body with the opportunity to ski and snowboard at nearby Whiteface Mountain Ski Resort. As winter term continues, we look forward to upcoming auditions for the spring production of Alice in Wonderland, our annual Skimeister competition, Intersession week of special programming, and the 9th grade trip to Utah.
This week our 6th grade math students began studying fractals. Fractals, which are complex shapes that are composed of neverending patterns, appear in nature in the form of tree leaves, shells, vegetables like romanesco, and sunflowers. Fractals can also be created using mathematical formulas. The class, which included students Sweety, Will, and Mia, watched a computer-generated video of a Mandelbrot Set fractal in awe, before taking on a paper-folding assignment that asked the group to predict and then create their own fractal shape.
In Meredith’s Japanese class, students participated in two traditional Japanese New Year’s activities. The first was Fukuwarai, a game where players try to put the pieces of a traditional face in the correct places on the board with their eyes shut. Students learned vocabulary for facial features as well as directions like up, down, left, and right. Kakizome is another traditional New Year’s practice of writing an intention or wish for the coming year using ink and a calligraphy brush. Students chose words to write, learned how to form the characters, and put their best efforts into writing their words and signing their names.
Costuming class moved into the new WallyPAC space this week and began organizing the costume closet for our upcoming production of Seedfolks, which will be performed in collaboration with Northwood High School at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts in mid-February. The class has been designing costumes for Seedfolks since winter term began in early December, and have begun planning out costumes ideas for May’s production of Alice in Wonderland as they sort through the space.
Students in our culinary arts elective, Flour Power, have been exploring grain-based recipes from around the world throughout the winter term. On Wednesday the class took on the challenge of preparing Hokkaido milk bread, also called Japanese milk bread. Students including Ezra, Sam, Sonya, Alex, Tiri, and Grace measured out and prepared ingredients before kneading the bread dough. In Friday’s class the group finished baking their dough and was able to taste their finished product—a light, fluffy, and slightly sweet bread with a soft interior.
Students returned to our snowy mountain campus this week ready to break out the skis, sleds, and snowboards for a fun array of winter activities. While our Whiteface ski afternoons will begin in a couple of weeks, this week the community enjoyed our own ski hill during out-times and Wednesday’s homenight activities.
Plenty of time was also spent on our sledding hill, where students including Kalina, Tristan, and Steven took solo runs down the hill and participated in an all-group race to the bottom. Colton got some air time on one of the hill’s small jumps, and everyone was able to take in views of our own ski hill and Cascade Mountain in the distance.
FARM AND GARDEN
While students and teachers have been on vacation for the past several weeks, the barn staff has been hard at work making sure our farm animals have been well-cared for. Students returned this week ready to pitch in some hands to our hard working farmers during twice-daily barn chores and farm out-times. Farm intern Nick led a student out-time to muck out animal spaces, and students including Azalech and Tianyu helped groom horses during evening barn chores.
Running a working farm means constantly preparing ahead for future seasons, and Garden Manager Tess has been planning for spring seeding since early in the fall term. This week, Tess and Nick began sorting through the new shipment of seeds, as well as organizing the planting schedule for the upcoming planting season. North Country School and Camp Treetops grows over 300 varieties of vegetables, flowers, and herbs that are used in our dining rooms throughout the year. Our seeds are sourced from a handful of small seed companies and co-ops, as well as saved seeds from our own crops. We will begin seeding in our greenhouses in March, and our students will take part in the seeding, transplanting, and early harvesting process throughout the spring term.
Check back next week to see what we’re up to on our mountain campus.
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