Turner Middle School takes students, community to the Dark Ages at Medieval Fair

By Shelley Widhalm

The Berthoud Surveyor

Seventh graders at Turner Middle School (TMS) hailed the community to the Medieval Fair on April 6 to step back to the Dark Ages and become enlightened on their social-studies lessons.

The Medieval Fair, held in the school’s cafeteria in booth format, presented the culmination of two months of research the students conducted on royal, village and town life during the fifth to 15th centuries. More than 200 guests came to the morning event, where the walls were decorated with fake banners to make it look like they were walking into the great hall of a castle.

“The fair is the award,” said Justin Muir, seventh-grade social studies teacher at TMS. “Let’s show off everything we’ve done.”

The students — 180 in total — broke into groups of three to four to research various aspects of Medieval Europe, including the Vikings, knights, castles, Black Death, towns and villages, and key people during that time period, such as Mary of Tudor or Bloody Mary.

The groups, which had February to April to do the work, created posters to present their research findings at the fair, along with coats of arms, artwork, and artifacts related to their topics. They could work on the artwork in school or at home and created things like illuminated letters, mosaics and frescos in their seventh-grade art class, taught by Holly Thompson, art teacher. They also created paintings, pencil sketches, pottery and paper stained-glass.

“Art reflects … the consciousness of what’s going on in that time period,” Thompson said, explaining because churches funded most of the artwork, there was a lack of portraits and landscapes. “This is why during this time period all you see is … fresco paintings, mosaics and architecture.”

The students made their artifacts at home; choosing things like shields, helmets, foam weapons, serving platters, and a miniature guillotine, Muir said. They also made goods and services to sell in exchange for plastic coins their parents, students and members of the community received in bags at the door. This year, because the coins ran out, taxes had to be collected to continue providing the coins for the next guests.

For their goods, which included traditional breads, cookies and brownies, the students gave the items Medieval-sounding names, such as Plague Bread, Witches Brew, Dragon Snot and Unicorn Blood, and some tried recipes from the time period. One group sold Slime and called it Black Death Dupe.

Other groups offered services that included hair braiding, henna tattoos, face painting, and games like a ring toss, Planko and a miniature witches’ dunk tank, resulting in a carnival-like setting. The students dressed in medieval clothing as part of their presentations.
“The Medieval Fair was very fun and enjoyable,” said TMS seventh-grader KeeLei Burrows. “We all got to dress up and have fun. We got to buy other peoples’ products and enjoy a fun time with friends. My group had the topic of law and punishment. For our good, we made Jell-o with gummy body parts in it that we called Witches’ Brew. Our artifact was a model showing a man being hanged, drawn and quartered.”

The fair began with an opening ceremony and the procession of the royal court with the king and queen, eight nobles, the town crier, and the court jester making an entrance while the school band played. The king proclaimed the fair open and the buying of goods and playing of games ensued. After 45 minutes there was an intermission with the town crier making an announcement, the choir giving a performance, and the court jester telling jokes.

The fair then continued, and guests could participate in a trebuchet chase contest or come to the stage to learn fencing moves, presented by re-enactors from Colorado State University. At the end of the event Muir gave the closing speech.

“They put a ton of effort into it,” Muir said, adding all of his students turned in their assignments in order to participate in the fair and took pride in their projects. “The kids love it. I’m able to keep it motivating, and they are very interested in it.”

Other teachers got involved in the project for interdisciplinary learning, teaching the students Old English, the songs of the time, and the biological aspects of the Black Death. Students made scale-model drawings of suits of armor, applying mathematics principles and in-tech education, the students built trebuchets, a type of catapult. They also cooked their baked goods in the family and consumer sciences classroom.

“Project-based learning takes one project and blends it in other classes to get multiple perspectives, so students understand it at a deeper level,” Thompson said. “It gives a deeper connection. … The level of enthusiasm and engagement is much higher.”

Muir, who has led the fair for two years, moved it to a larger venue, from the gym to the cafeteria, and added the re-enactors, trebuchets, artwork and other disciplinary projects.

“We took something they’d already been doing a good job with and made it better,” Muir said.

Berthoud High Students Show Compassion Through Crafting

By Katie Harris

The Surveyor in Berthoud

It’s been nearly a year since Berthoud High School (BHS) librarian Carin Barrett launched the school’s Compassionate Maker Space, a place where students can come together to create items for those in need in the community, and the program is going stronger than ever.

“Last year I was looking for ideas for my ‘Philanthropy as Civic Engagement’ class to make things to be donated to non-profits,” said Barrett. “I tweeted something and a librarian in New York tweeted back explaining what she did in her library. As I got to looking at what she was doing with her students I realized that this could be much bigger than just one class, it could be something for all the students in the school to do.”

Barrett and library assistant Michelle Trujillo began brainstorming project ideas, and by May 2017 they’d converted their library office space into a crafting area and Compassionate Maker Space was born.

“A person that works at our school had attended a meeting with a woman from Restore Innocence, a group that makes restoration bags for people who have been rescued from sex trafficking circles,” said Barrett. “We decided to start there.”

She opened up the space to the entire school, while making it known that participation was entirely voluntary. It wasn’t long before the first project was running in full swing.

“Once it was explained to them, almost every student wanted to help in one way or another,” said Barrett. “I think it quickly changed the vibe of our library. Students would peek in there and they’d be intrigued by what was going on.”

When designing the space, Barrett and Trujillo did their best to create a relaxed atmosphere in order to make it easy for students to participate when and how they wanted.

“There are options where students can just contribute and don’t have to finish a whole project, or we have bins where students can leave unfinished projects and come back to them where they’re able,” said Barrett. “They can come in during their open periods, during lunch, or during student advisory. It’s nice because students who can’t drive have limited options for volunteering in Berthoud, so this gives them a way to earn volunteer hours.”

For BHS senior Henry Mizer, the flexibility the project offered is one of the main reasons he got involved.

“My favorite thing about the maker space is the fact that it’s so easy to volunteer,” he said. “I can go in on one of my off hours and make a difference for 45 minutes of my day.”

Since the maker space opened last May, Barrett said more than 10 percent of the student body has participated, creating nearly 300 projects for eight different non-profits. Projects have included small pillows donated to Medical Center of the Rockies to cover hospitalized patients’ medical ports, 3D printer toys such as puzzles and rattles for Operation Smile, and scarves and hats for FoCo Cafe and the Longmont Public Library’s coat tree.

BHS senior Sophie Visger’s favorite projects were the pillowcases and pillowcase dresses the students made to go with the port pillows.

“I made quite a few pillowcases because they were easy and very therapeutic,” she said. “As for the dresses, I liked those most because I got to build on my sewing skills and build something so proactive with new people.”

Once projects are complete, Barrett mails or hand delivers them to the recipients, bringing her students along with her when possible.

“The FoCo Cafe was interesting,” she said. “Our class visited the cafe on a field trip, and there were a few students in my class who had made scarves to donate and were able to deliver them themselves. When the place is close and there’s that opportunity, we’ll definitely do that. They left wanting to volunteer in other ways too, which was great.”

Ella North, a freshman at BHS can attest to that sentiment. “Personally, [volunteering] has made a difference in my life because I have been more aware of my own blessings, which I take for granted, and how much I value these.”

Just as all work completed in the maker space is done on a volunteer basis, 100 percent of the funding for materials is donated. According to Barrett, a large portion of the money was donated by an anonymous Berthoud Community member, with a fundraiser through the Thompson Education Foundation raising an additional $700 for materials. Barrett said, due to a lack of storage, the best way to contribute is through a tax deductible cash donation, which can be written to BHS with “Make for Good” in the memo.

“No school funds have been used for this,” said Barrett. “It’s really good in the sense that the students know that the community supports this too.”

As another school year draws to a close, Barrett hopes to engage every student at BHS in Compassionate Maker Space by the time they graduate.

“I really hope that this becomes something that new students coming into the school already consider an opportunity and look forward to getting to do,” she said. “The students who have done it so far, they come back; they want to do it again and recruit others. I want to see that whole ecosystem grow even more.”

For the students at BHS, contributing to the effort has given them something to be proud of and feel good about.

“Being a part of the maker space has helped me to focus my energies on helping others and getting out of my head, said Visger. “It’s been a really amazing opportunity.”

 

2017 National Teacher Appreciation Week ~ Julie Norton

5.12.17 Audrey_Norton, GES

Thompson School District is proud to celebrate 2017 National Teacher Appreciation Week, May 7-13. All this week, we are featuring photos and inspirational words submitted by students and families throughout the district.

Teacher: Julie Norton

Student: Audrey

School: Garfield Elementary School

Grade: 3

Mrs. Norton is Audrey’s favorite teacher! She is so nice, helpful and caring! She has made 3rd grade at Garfield a success!

2017 National Teacher Appreciation Week ~ Jeanne Carmichael

5.12.17 Anya_Carmichael, BES

Thompson School District is proud to celebrate 2017 National Teacher Appreciation Week, May 7-13. All this week, we are featuring photos and inspirational words submitted by students and families throughout the district.

Teacher: Jeanne Carmichael

Student: Anya

School: Berthoud Elementary

Grade: 1

We moved to Berthoud in August of last year right before school started. My daughter, Anya, had a rough kindergarten with a move in the middle of the year to a new house and bigger school, so she was a bit hesitant to start 1st grade. Mrs. Carmichael has been so nurturing and loving while being an exceptional educator that she has helped her thrive while going through some very tough transitions, which resulted in her falling behind in her reading. Thanks to the extra effort Mrs. Carmichael put forth, not only does she love school, but is really starting to become a solid reader. I also spend time volunteering in the classroom, so I can say from personal experience how much Mrs. Carmichael adores every child in her class and goes that extra mile to make sure they all feel loved and that they are all getting what they need to succeed in 1st grade.

2017 National Teacher Appreciation Week ~ Kasey Gupton

5.12.17 Cooper_Gupton, PES

Thompson School District is proud to celebrate 2017 National Teacher Appreciation Week, May 7-13. All this week, we are featuring photos and inspirational words submitted by students and families throughout the district.

Teacher: Kasey Gupton

Student: Cooper

School: Ponderosa Elementary

Grade: 5

Mrs. Gupton means the world to me! She is always there for me. She’ll always listen and gives the best hugs every morning. She makes us laugh. She challenges our minds, gives us something to think about, and is always helping us learn something new. Mrs. Gupton is the best!

2017 National Teacher Appreciation Week ~ Elizabeth Rodgers

5.12.17 Gracelyn_Rodgers, MES

Thompson School District is proud to celebrate 2017 National Teacher Appreciation Week, May 7-13. All this week, we are featuring photos and inspirational words submitted by students and families throughout the district.

Teacher: Elizabeth Rodgers

Student: Gracelyn

School: Monroe Elementary

Grade: 1

Our amazing teacher, Elizabeth Rodgers, is the most caring, thoughtful, generous, and dedicated teacher I’ve ever met. She was my son’s 1st grade teacher four years ago, and we were blessed with her teaching my daughter this year. Her huge heart is such an inspiration to me and countless others. I’m sad that she is retiring this year and won’t be able to teach my youngest two children, but we are forever grateful for the past four years with her in our lives. I’m happy that she’s going to have “free time” in retirement, but we will miss her dearly! We love her so much and think she deserves every bit of recognition for her dedication to Thompson School District! We love you, Mrs. Rodgers!

2017 National Teacher Appreciation Week ~ Terri Maynard

5.12.17 Taylor_Maynard, LCS

Thompson School District is proud to celebrate 2017 National Teacher Appreciation Week, May 7-13. All this week, we are featuring photos and inspirational words submitted by students and families throughout the district.

Teacher: Terri Maynard

Student: Taylor

School: Loveland Classical Schools

Grade: 1

Mrs. Maynard from Loveland Classical is by far the most amazing teacher ever! Wish I had someone like this growing up.

2017 National Teacher Appreciation Week ~ Heather Willett

5.11.17 Cameron_Willett, NVCS

Thompson School District is proud to celebrate 2017 National Teacher Appreciation Week, May 7-13. All this week, we are featuring photos and inspirational words submitted by students and families throughout the district.

Teacher: Heather Willett

Student: Cameron

School: New Vision Charter School

Grade: K

This wonderful woman is not just our son’s teacher, she is a second mom to 24 sweet little kindergartners. She handles big emotions from little people with grace, love, and the warmest hugs you’ll ever find. She works tirelessly to create enriching educational activities that engage and excite her dear “kinders,” building on their unique strengths and giving them confidence in areas that challenge them. Her students are happy and thriving because they know their teacher accepts, loves, and values each one of them. She is quite simply everything a parent hopes their child’s first teacher will be. Thank you, Mrs. Willett – you represent the very best of Thompson School District!

2017 National Teacher Appreciation Week ~ Monica McClure

5.11.17 Sammie_McClure, GES

Thompson School District is proud to celebrate 2017 National Teacher Appreciation Week, May 7-13. All this week, we are featuring photos and inspirational words submitted by students and families throughout the district.

Teacher: Monica McClure

Student: Sammie

School: Garfield Elementary School

Grade: 2

Sammie loves Mrs. McClure at Garfield Elementary! She is thoughtful, funny and always happy! She has made 2nd grade so much fun!

2017 National Teacher Appreciation Week ~ Courtney Wehage

5.11.17 Sophie_Wehage, CWP

Thompson School District is proud to celebrate 2017 National Teacher Appreciation Week, May 7-13. All this week, we are featuring photos and inspirational words submitted by students and families throughout the district.

Teacher: Courtney Wehage

Student: Sophie

School: Cottonwood Plains Elementary

Grade: 3

My teacher, Mrs. Wehage, means so much to me that I’d call her my mom if I could. She’s been with me since August, and we’ve shared so much with each other. She encouraged me to enter my first writing contest, she supports me in my activities outside school, and she’s always in the front of the classroom to help me when I need it. Mrs. Wehage and I have had a lot of fun experiences together. She is why I love to go to school every day.