a student presentationPhoto: Edison gives a presentation in Social Studies class. 

The “in-between years” are an exciting time in a child’s education, when every day involves learning new things and seeing the world through a different lens. One of the many ways we engage our young learners is by ensuring that academic lessons involve student choice, which allows students to focus on the aspects of different subjects they find most interesting and provides an avenue for deeper engagement. We’ve seen this in action this Winter Term with our 6th-grade students, who have been studying the many ways the Roman Empire still influences our modern lives. This week, each student presented to their peers about the specific aspect of this time period that they found most engaging. We are always excited to see our young scholars light up with enthusiasm as they discuss their newfound knowledge, and the pride with which they take on the role of experts alongside their classmates. 

ACADEMICS

Top: 9th-grade students read out loud from Macbeth. Middle 1: 8th-grade students open their new copies of The Giver. Middle 2: Anna Olivia gives a presentation in Social Studies class. Bottom: Ryan gives a presentation in Social Studies class. 

This week we saw our oldest students take part in English lessons that focused on two different beloved works of fiction, both of which dive into complicated themes of power and the human condition—Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Lois Lowry’s Newbery-Medal-winning novel The Giver. Our 9th-grade students acted out Act 2, Scene 1 from the Bard’s famous play, then discussed Banquo and Macbeth’s varying responses to hearing the witches’ prophecy and seeing it begin to come true. The class will continue to discuss issues of power, gender roles, and how characters respond to change as the tragedy/play unfolds. Meanwhile, our 8th-grade students were excited to receive their brand new copies of The Giver, a tale that also focuses on choice, moral dilemmas, and how the actions of those in power carry long-lasting and often unforeseen consequences. Over the next several weeks, the class will read the text, write their own responses to these themes, and explore the relevance of Lowry’s 30-year-old work in today’s world.

Throughout the Winter Term our 6th-grade students have been working on projects related to the Roman Empire, choosing their own research topics and creating an interactive “Choice Board” with essential questions. Students chose topics that ranged from Roman gods and leaders to aqueducts, foods, and gladiators, and then depicted them in an informational poster, which they presented to their classmates this week. This project connected the groups’ Writing and Social Studies curriculum related to great world civilizations, which will continue with the Chinese Han Dynasty in the upcoming weeks.

ARTS

students building sets students building students weldingTop: 6th-grade students build a play set. Middle: Woodshop students move lumber. Bottom: Students weld. 

It was a busy week for students in our Design and Build classes, with projects taking shape in both wood and metal. Our 6th-grade students have been working on the set for their theatrical adaptation of Aesop’s Fables, while our older Community Projects students worked together to build wool bins that will store the farm-produced yarn we use in our Fiber Arts program. The students in Metal Shop classes regularly use found and repurposed materials to create large figurative sculptures, and this term students are using reclaimed circular saw blades to make a metal scorpion. This week the group began welding plates onto the impressive creature’s back. We are excited to see the collaborative project continue to take shape!

a student works on a clay projectstudents in ceramics classa clay projectTop: Claire works on a ceramics project. Middle: Students handbuild in ceramics class. Bottom: Edison’s ceramic monster. 

Meanwhile, our 6th-grade artists have been working on their handbuilding skills in the ceramics studio. Students have been using sculpture, carving, and coil rolling to create fantastical beasts. Once the expressive creatures are completely dry they will be fired in the kiln, glazed, and fired once more before finding homes in our various campus gallery spaces.

OUTDOORS

students on a mountaintopa student hikesa student climbs on a rock wallTop: A student group celebrates on Mt. Van Hoevenberg’s summit. Middle: A student group hikes on the Mt. Van Hoevenberg trail. Bottom: Ava gets to the top of a climbing route. 

Just down  the street from our North Country School campus sits an important local resource that is connected to the Olympic history of our region—Mt. Van Hoevenberg. Mt. Van Ho, as it is locally called, was one of the venues used in both the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympic Games, and today the spot offers our students a variety of activities including hiking, cross-country skiing, and climbing. Over the weekend two different groups took advantage of this favorite local resource, with one group hiking to the summit of the impressive mountain and another spending part of the day tacking on different routes in the indoor rock climbing gym. We love that we can so easily visit this wonderful spot, and that our students can practice their outdoor skills while learning about the unique Olympic history of our Lake Placid home.

a student ping pong gamestudents shake hands after a gamestudents at whitefacestudents snowboardTop: Matías and May compete in Mini Ping-Pong. Middle 1: Jack and Louis shake hands after Jack wins the Mini Ping-Pong finals. Middle 2: A student group skis at Whiteface. Bottom: Snowboarders at Whiteface. 

At North Country School there are many different ways for students to participate in community-wide activities, and this week we saw two very different events that had us excited to cheer one another on—the Saturday evening Mini Ping-Pong tournament and Tuesday morning’s Whiteface Day. During the Saturday tournament, students competed against another in sudden elimination rounds until only two students remained: 8th-grader Louis and 9th-grader Jack. After a rousing game filled with excitement and a heavy dose of good sportsmanship, Jack was named the tournament winner! On the other end of the activity spectrum, Tuesday morning saw our community participating in the third Whiteface Day of the term. It has been exciting to see our young skiers’ and snowboarders’ skills improve so quickly as they spend time on the mountain.

FARM AND GARDEN

students with chicksa chick hatchingputting chicks in the brooderthe broodernew chicksTop: Visiting the newborn chicks. Middle 1: A chick hatching in the incubator. Middle 2: Bringing a newborn chick to the brooder. Middle 3: Chicks in the brooder. Bottom: The chicks explore their new home in the brooder. 

This week our 4th-grade Science class and Edible Schoolyard II students welcomed the arrival of newborn baby chicks! After 21 days in the incubator at around 99 degrees Fahrenheit and 60% humidity, eight of our developing eggs hatched into adorable and fluffy chicks. Students were able to watch chicks hatch and help move them to the newly built chick brooder in the 4th-grade classroom, where they have soft shavings, chick feed, water, and a heat lamp—in addition to a delightful assortment of student-made inspirational art. Groups have been able to visit and hold the chicks throughout the academic day, and the tiny new flock will be integrated into different Lower School math and science lessons throughout the rest of the Winter Term.