Photo: Riiley on her bike.
While winter at NCS is marked by skiing, sledding, and ice skating, spring brings with it the return of some of our favorite warm weather activities. This week, students explored campus trails on their bikes, hiked to open vistas and took in the newly-green mountain views, and relaxed at our lakefront while enjoying the first swims and paddles of the season. They also participated in the lofty Range-in-a-Day and Whiteface Toll Road hikes—two of our special Spring Term trips that offered our avid hikers the chance to push themselves and reach new goals.
In the upcoming weeks, students will participate in several other ambitious outdoor trips that allow them to practice the skills they’ve been learning since their arrival at NCS, including the annual 9th-grade hike up Cascade Mountain. The hike takes the group up this familiar 4,000-foot peak that towers above our mountain campus, and offers our graduating seniors the perfect capstone experience to their time as North Country School students.
Top: Matt reads his essay at the 8th-grade Anthology Café. Middle 1: The environmental science class participates in a lab activity. Middle 2: A math activity about slope. Middle 3: A Japanese lesson at the barnyard. Bottom: Wyatt makes a Japanese video with Bo the horse.
It was a fun and busy week for our 8th and 9th graders, with hands-on lessons and milestone activities taking place all around campus. In English class, our writers participated in an event they look forward to each term—their Anthology Café. Students read through one another’s persuasive essays from their Spring Term collection, titled “Drumroll Please,” while volunteers read sections of their pieces aloud to their peers. In environmental science class, students continued learning about the effects of oil in marine ecosystems by staging a mini oil spill and using several real-world techniques for cleanup. Groups then analyzed the efficacy of these different techniques, which included using booms, skimmers, sorbents, and dispersants.
In pre-algebra class, students have been learning to graph linear equations, and during a lesson about calculating slope they measured the rise and run of various ramps, staircases, roofs, and pillars around the Main Building and Walter Breeman Performing Arts Center (WallyPAC). Meanwhile, students in Japanese class visited a spot across campus—the barnyard—for a lesson that combined their unit on adjectives with the concept that animal sounds are described differently in different languages. Each student created a video in Japanese from the perspective of a specific animal on our farm, in which they introduced themselves as that animal, described that animal using adjectives, and made that animal’s particular sound as it is vocalized in Japanese.
Top: Laurie takes a photo on the Lake Hill. Middle: A wrapped up tie-dyed shirt. Bottom: Emily with her unwrapped tie-dyed shirt.
It was a week filled with dramatic light and color for our student photographers and 5th-grade studio artists. Darkroom photography students could often be found on the Lake Hill, film cameras in hand, ready to capture the vibrant sunsets and dynamic reflecting light we’ve seen throughout the week. Meanwhile, down in the art room our young students have been experimenting with wearable art. The class unwrapped their first tie-dyed shirts of the term, and everyone was delighted with their one-of-a-kind technicolor results. Top: Lorenza and Liam perform at the Annual New York Thespian Festival. Middle: Sienna practices stage makeup techniques. Bottom: Yolanda measures a costume for The Hobbit.
Other students incorporated drama into their art in a more literal sense, with one group traveling to New York City for the Annual New York Thespian Festival, while back on campus others made progress on the spring theater production of The Hobbit. This past weekend our thespian group saw their theatrical efforts come to fruition during their trip to this state-wide competition, and were able to receive feedback from professional performers in the process. Congratulations to our talented actors for the impressive “Excellent” ratings they received at the Festival!
While some of our students explored the city, others back on campus worked on aspects of the spring theater production that will help the our actors get into character, and that will shape the theatrical experiences for all in attendance. Students in Stage Makeup class honed a few of the makeup techniques they will be employing during the end-of-term performances of The Hobbit, while our costume designers were busy assembling, measuring, cutting, and sewing costumes for the elves, hobbits, dwarves, and other magical creatures that make up the cast of this epic show.
Top: A hiking group on the Whiteface Mountain toll road. Middle 1: Hikers with their Mountain Cake mileage stickers. Middle 2: Emma and Lauren on the Whiteface toll road in front of a rainbow. Middle 3: Hikers on the trail of the Tongue Range. Bottom: Matt enjoys the view from a scenic overlook.
This weekend groups of our enthusiastic hikers had the opportunity to participate in two of our more ambitious hikes of the year—the Whiteface Mountain toll road hike and the Range-in-a-Day hike. The Whiteface Mountain group faced a variety of inclement weather conditions but—as is so often the case—the cold mist and rain brought with it a rainbow that heralded the group back down the mountain. Several of our hikers also reached their 50 or 100 mile hiking milestones over the course of the day, and were able to celebrate while receiving their Mountain Cake mileage stickers.
The Range-in-a-Day hikers covered a whopping 16 miles as they explored the Tongue Range near Lake George. Along the way, they took in the majestic views of islands that dot the picturesque lake while traversing high points on mountains including Fifth Peak, First Peak, French Point Mountain, and Brown Mountain.Everyone in both groups were in high spirits throughout their hikes, and they arrived back to campus in the evening tired, but proud of themselves and their classmates for the day’s accomplishments.
FARM AND GARDEN
Top: A riding lesson at the ring. Middle: Abel steers Tucker the horse in a riding lesson. Bottom: Orrin picks Wasabi the horse’s hoof.
Now that our campus trails and riding ring have thawed, our students have been spending lots of quality time with our horses, both during riding lessons and at the barnyard. During afternoon out-times, Barn Manager Erica has been teaching our young riders how to steer, trot, and canter our horses, while this past weekend students participated in our annual horse grooming contest. Each student was paired with a horse, and they work to get their horse as clean as possible for the riding season, while demonstrating knowledge of grooming tools and process to the contest judges. This year’s overall contest winner, with the best-groomed horse and most thorough understanding of the grooming process, was 8th-grader Orrin, who worked with our chestnut gelding Wasabi!
Top: Kim shows an Edible Schoolyard class how to inoculate mushroom logs. Middle 1: An inoculated oyster mushroom log. Middle 2: Ariana inoculates a mushroom log. Bottom: Fruiting pink oyster mushrooms.
One of the goals of the Edible Schoolyard (ESY) Program at NCS is to give students a deeper understanding of the many different foods we eat, and this past week one of our ESY classes investigated some of the many ways we consume an ever present but less talked about part of our food system, fungi. After learning about how yeast (a single-celled fungus) plays a crucial role in the culinary world, the group focused on mushrooms, which are the food people most often associate with this large group of organisms. The class joined Garden Manager Kim in our campus woods to help inoculate logs with small amounts of shiitake and oyster mushroom substrate, before starting their own quick-growing pink oyster mushroom kit in the Teaching and Learning Kitchen (TLK). While the mushroom kit in the TLK is already fully fruiting (or producing mature mushrooms) after less than a week, the earliest the inoculated logs will bear fruit is late next spring.