Photo: Students pose with their “swoords” during WARP.
Each fall our community comes together for what is arguably the most whimsical event of the year—our all-school fantasy role play called WARP, or Wilderness Action Role Play. Modeled after LARP (live action role-play), this long-held tradition transports our students to the WARP, a magical land set on our 220-acre mountain campus, where they embark on epic quests and battles. Both students and teachers don ornate costumes and choose affiliations of good or evil in this day-long adventure through the woods, taking on mystical challenges and solving riddles together. It is a day filled with teamwork, imagination, and, most of all, play. We know that this year’s WARP participants—both good and evil, magical and mortal—will carry their memories of the day with them for years to come.
*Note: To see additional photos from the week, scroll to the bottom this page and click the “Weekly Photos” button.
Top: The 8th-grade history class discusses their reading. Middle 1: Dexter offers his opinion. Middle 2: Bennet reads. Bottom: Emily checks the Title Trek board.
This past Monday we celebrated Indigenous Peoples’ Day, and in honor of the holiday our 8th grade history class participated in a lesson that connected the Indigenous groups in the Adirondack region to our own campus tradition of maple sugaring. Students first read and annotated a chapter called “Maple Nation: A Citizenship Guide” from the book Braiding Sweetgrass for Young Adults by Robin Wall Kimmerer. They then discussed their own personal and scientific connections to the maple sugaring process, examined different qualities of citizenship, and compared the ways in which the economic value of natural resources is defined in modern Western culture versus Indigenous cultures.
Meanwhile, students in 5th-grade ELA (English Language Arts) chose their own free-reading books as part of our NCS Title Trek program. The Title Trek Challenge asks students to read and write a reflection for 46 different books, at which point they are celebrated as Literary 46ers—a reference to the 46er hiking challenge associated with summiting the 46 highest mountains in the Adirondack Park.
Top: Garth explains a geometry problem to the math class. Middle 1: Roan works on a math problem. Middle 2: Amanda explains a math problem to Owen and Julia. Bottom: Hazel and Alina work on a math problem.
This week we saw two different math classes creatively put the skills they’ve been learning to work. In geometry class, students have been learning to find missing angles at specific points between parallel lines using transversals, and this week they applied those skills to a common situation in our campus woodshop—setting a table saw to the correct angle to cut wooden boards for differently shaped frames. In Algebra 1 class, students played a fun game that put into practice their understanding of equivalent algebraic expressions. Starting at the entrance to a maze, they worked to find expressions that would give the same mathematical result. Each time they made a match, they progressed their character one step closer to the endpoint of the maze.
Top: Students at the lake. Middle 1: Higgs, Alina, and Winnie enjoy the beach. Bottom: Cat gets ready to go canoeing.
We experienced what were likely the last few warm days of the season this past week, so we took advantage of the beautiful conditions by spending time at our campus lake. Groups of students soaked up the sun during leisurely swims, while playing on the beach, and by paddling around in canoes. It was a great way to bid farewell to warm days on the water as we head into the cooler days of mid-fall.
Top: Students participate in a magical quest during WARP. Middle 1: Magical creatures in WARP. Middle 2: Gaining important information during WARP. Middle 3: Keira, Hazel, and Marlowe at WARP. Bottom: A magical creature suffers a dramatic downfall during WARP.
This Saturday experienced the opposite conditions, bringing chilly temperatures and a deluge of rain to our annual WARP day of fantasy role-playing. Students exhibited remarkable resilience despite the challenging conditions, and spirits were high as good battled evil for dominance of the realm. It was a day filled with magical challenges (Foam archery! Fishing for amulets!) and riddles that gave different factions access to student-made “swoords.” After a giant game of Troll Ball—a variation of Capture the Flag—good and evil ended the day in a peaceful tie, and an agreement to inhabit the realm alongside one another.
FARM AND GARDEN
Top: Ruby helps Ian carry a turkey. Middle: Roan, Kevin, and Melissa learn how to break down a bird. Bottom: Wyatt and Matt go through the 9th-grade biology lab.
At North Country School, our farm program engages students with the food that sustains us. Sometimes this involves seeding, planting, and harvesting vegetables. Other times it involves learning about dairy animals and helping to milk our nanny goat. And several times per year, participating in our campus food system means giving students the opportunity to understand where the meat we eat comes from, and how we work to make choices that are both humane and respectful to the animals that we raise for food.
This past week, our 9th-grade class took part in the first animal harvest of the year during a lesson that connected to their biology class—our annual Turkey Harvest. The group met in the barnyard with their teacher Colin and Barn Manager Erica to learn about the process of harvesting these birds that we’ve been raising since they were chicks, and about what they would see as they examined the internal anatomy of the birds during the science lab portion of the morning. Everyone did a great job supporting one another and treating these creatures with compassion and respect, and were able to thoughtfully reflect on the fact that others must do the important work of animal processing in order for us to eat meat that we don’t harvest for ourselves.
Top: Edible Schoolyard students assemble their “from scratch” cake. Middle: Vivián, Adela, and Nadya assemble their cake. Bottom: The completed “from scratch,” styled for a photo shoot.
Not all farm and food lessons at North Country School are as somber and reflective as our animal harvest days. This past week our oldest Edible Schoolyard students also took part in a creative and tasty project in the Teaching and Learning Kitchen (TLK), during which they saw several of the lessons they’ve worked on throughout the term come to fruition. Students used their homemade jam made from NCS-grown raspberries and rhubarb, along with the homemade butter and yogurt they prepared earlier in the week, to make a “from scratch” layer cake. They then decorated and styled their cake with edible flowers and herbs from the garden for a magazine-style photo shoot, before tasting their beautiful creation.