2009-2010 LOTC & Guest Speaker Highlights

8/18, Tuesday  – SPEAKER – George Fam, Arabic Professor at the College of Charleston, will speak about the Arabic language and Middle Eastern culture. fam will provide an interesting language contrast to our new study of Mandarin this year, and his faith background (Coptic Christian) provides some interesting insight into the religious diversity in the Middle East. His talk will take place from 10:00-11:00.

8/19, Wednesday – orientation for Learning Outside the Classroom. Students will bake cookies, deliver them, and clean up the kitchen. This will allow students to gain practice with the responsibility inherent to LOTCs and meet our neighbors around Coleman Blvd.

8/26, Wednesday – we will conclude our LOTC from last week. Some USL students will bake cookies, deliver them, and clean up the kitchen. We will finish the exercise of meeting our neighbors around Coleman Blvd. Other learning activities will focus on the walkability of cities and neighborhoods, and this will include discovering what this entails in terms of layout and the needs of citizens. We will also look at a web-based program that evaluates the walkability of an address.

9/2, Wednesday – USL students will practice new study skills techniques to become more efficient learners, and then IS & MS students will work on Math in mentor pairs. In the afternoon, we will walk to the Pitt Street Bridge Park for lessons in walkability, history, and ecology.

9/11, Friday – University School students, faculty, and parents will take part in National Day of Caring service projects through the United Way: (building picnic tables and doing yardwork at Mitchell Elementary in downtown Charleston; doing yardwork and painting at East Cooper Community Outreach; removing debris and doing yardwork at Lowcountry Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy in Huger).

9/15, Tuesday  – *IS only – The theme of IS Humanities is “Our World,” and IS students are approaching this through the question, “What is an immigrant?”  In this exploration, we are examining “culture,” beginning with ancient civilizations and working into contemporary ones. After having just completed the study of Egypt, we visited the Charleston Museum to learn more about their Egyptian exhibit.

9/16, Wednesday – We will visit America’s only tea plantation and the oldest tree east of the Mississippi River. The Charleston Tea Plantation on Wadmalaw Island is a working farm that uses tea plants dating back to the 18th century, and the tea is processed at an on-site factory.We will learn about the processing of the tea and explore the 180 acre plantation by trolley. On the way to the Charleston Tea Plantation,we will stop and visit Angel Oak.  This oak tree is estimated to be over 1000 years old.

9/17, Thursday – SPEAKER – Ian Sanchez, Director of Lowcountry Environmental Education Programs (LEEP), will speak about tectonic plates, continental drift, and geology. His presentation will began at 1:00 PM.

9/18, Friday – SPEAKERS – Ranit Katz, Kate Frain, and Lily Frain will give a presentation about Rosh Hashanah. This is an important holiday for the Jewish faith, and it marks the start of the new year in the Jewish calendar (beginning at sundown). We will also take part in one of the traditions of Rosh Hashanah and eat challah bread and apple slices with honey — for a sweet year.

9/19, Saturday – USL will take a day trip (families welcome!) to the NottingHill Coill Baronial War Practice (sponsored by the Society for Creative Anachronism). The event is being held in New Ellenton (near Aiken). The SCA is an international organization dedicated to researching and re-creating the arts and skills of pre-17th-century Europe. The SCA’s “world” consists of 19 kingdoms, with over 30,000 members residing in countries around the world. Members, dressed in clothing of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, attend events which feature tournaments, royal courts, feasts, dancing, various classes & workshops, and more.

9/23, Wednesday – Our LOTC experiences will focus on life skills. Chef Arthur McElrath from Gilligan’s will guide students through cooking essentials in our kitchen, and this will include students prepping and cooking dishes for our lunch. Additionally, students will take sessions focusing on listening skills and multiplication.

9/30, Wednesday – We will explore Mount Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park and Fort Sumter. The day will begin at Memorial Waterfront Park, and then we will walk over to Patriots Point for the ferry to Fort Sumter. We will be guided on our expedition by local historian Russell Horres. In addition to the normal comprehensive tour, Mr. Horres will share his research into the masonry of the Fort and how it is affected by our climate and the passage of time. * Click here for a slideshow of our visit.

10/2, Friday – SPEAKER – Michael Applebaum will speak atUniversity School at 2 PMl. Applebaum won an Emmy in 2009 for Outstanding Cinematography for Reality Programming for “Out of the Wild: the Alaska Experiment” that aired on the Discovery Channel. A New Orleans resident, Applebaum has been nominated before for his work on Survivor.

10/7, Wednesday – USL will visit the Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge near Georgetown. Established in 1997, Waccamaw NWR now features a just completed Environmental Education Center. Our activities for the day will entail a lesson about forest ecology (with invasive species), exploration of relevant ecosystems, and a creative reflection exercise. * Click here for a slideshow of our visit.

10/9, Friday – SPEAKER – Dr. David Reader, a retired Royal Air Force flight surgeon visiting from the United Kingdom, will speak at USL at 1 PM about the British National Health System.

10/12, Friday – SPEAKER – Sharon Becker, author of The Kindness Tree, will speak with the Intermediate School. She will read her book, talk about the experience of writing it, and discuss the work and its message with the students.

10/14, Wednesday – 4th-7th grades – community building exercises and then community service by running Hibben Church’s Pumpkin Patch and cleaning up in and around campus; 8th grade – take the PSAT in the morning and then community service at Hibben. We will also get an introduction to yoga at Serenity Now Yoga.

10/16, Friday – SPEAKER – Beatrice Frask-Ramos will speak at USL at 1:15 PM about the French language and French culture. Frask-Ramos, fluent in five languages, was formerly an instructor in the French Department at the College of Charleston. A native of the Normandy region, she holds a Master’s degree in French Literature from Johns Hopkins University.

10/21, Wednesday – USL students will explore several areas of responsibility overseen by the  Charleston County Department of Environmental Management. We will visit the Bees Ferry Landfill — including its Composting Site, and our exploration will also include the County’s Recycling Center in downtown Charleston. * Click here for a slideshow of our visit.

10/28, Wednesday – Our Learning Outside the Classroom experience will include taking school pictures and a presentation on farming. We will begin the morning at USL for a presentation by Will Bond. Bond and his father own Martin-Lightcap Box Farm in Midnight, Mississippi. Their 8000 acre farm focuses exclusively on row crops, including soybeans, rice, and corn. After the presentation, we will move to Alhambra Hall for pictures (organized by Ring Photography).

11/3, Tuesday – * Special LOTC day – Click here for an overview of our two-day exit polling and prediction LOTC. USL students will engage in exit polling at several precincts and develop informed predictions of results as part of the Mount Pleasant mayoral and Town Council elections. USL Head of School Jason Kreutner appeared on WCSC-Channel 5 on November 4, 2009 to discuss the students’ exit polling and accurate predictions of the Mt. Pleasant mayoral and Town Council elections. Click here to watch the segment. 

11/4, Wednesday – we will review the results of Tuesday’s election. We will compare our predicted results by precinct and by race to the actual results. (* This included a visit by Mayor-elect Billy Swails who talked with us the day after the Election about our precise exit polling). In preparation for Saturday’s LOTC to Auldbrass Plantation in Yemassee, Mr. Russell Horres will give a presentation about Frank Lloyd Wright and his architectural works. He will preview Auldbrass, the Austin House in Greenville, Falling Water in Pennsylvania, and the Johnson Wax building in Wisconsin. The Moultrie News featured University School’s pioneering Learning Outside the Classroom program in an article about this day. Helen Ravenel (“Local students learn about exit polling during the election“) specifically focused on the students’ work with exit polling and election predicting in the Mount Pleasant municipal elections. On January 27, 2010, fostering enterprising thinking — related to our exit poll work — in our students was the focus of an article in The Moultrie News (“Student speaks to employees about initiative“). It relayed USL student Carter Falk’s speech at a Fortune 500 company’s, SAIC, leadership retreat in Charleston.

11/7, Saturday – USL will take a day trip to Yemassee in Beaufort County to visit famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s Auldbrass plantation. Owned and restored by Hollywood producer Joel Silver, it is open for tours every other year for only two days. We will also explore the Old Sheldon Church ruins (located between Yemassee and Beaufort). The Church was built over 250 years ago, and the site is hauntingly beautiful. * Click here for a slideshow of our visit.

11/11, Wednesday – we will visit Legare Farms on Johns Island. The main experience will include a program about Thanksgiving on the Farm. Members of the Legare family will talk about the sources of these foods for both the Pilgrims and modern Americans. In addition to exploring various aspects of the farm, Helen Legare will also speak with us about Community Supported Agriculture (families purchasing subscriptions for weekly deliveries of produce from the farm) and the Slow Food movement. Legare is an advisory member of Slow Food Charleston, and this group endorses sustainable and local agriculture and food-use.

11/18, Wednesday – USL students will visit The Citadel for an array of experiences, including a tour of the campus and of civil engineering labs (including lessons in public health, community design, and neighborhood walkability with Prof. Wiliam J. Davis). On November 25, 2009, University School’s LOTC experience at The Citadel was spotlighted in The Moultrie News (“University School of the Lowcountry learns about civil engineering “).

12/9, Wednesday – We will travel to the Gibbes Art Museumfor two tours and lunch. In the morning, we will learn about the Museum’s permanent collection and special exhibitions. We will then have lunch in the courtyard. At noon, our second tour will be a behind the scenes exploration of the Museum.

12/11, Friday – SPEAKERS – The Frain and Katz families will speak about the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. The presentation will include learning about the holiday’s origins and how it is celebrated. Students will also be able to sample representative foods from the holiday. The presentation will begin at 1:30.

12/16, Wednesday – In preparation for our drama camp (half-days during the first eight days of the new semester in January), we will conduct rehearsals for our plays.

1/6, Wednesday – In preparation for our Festival of One Act Plays on January 12, we will conduct rehearsals for our plays.

1/13, Wednesday – We will watch video of our performances from the Festival of One Act Plays and then discuss and debrief the drama camp experience with director Charlie Watts.

1/20, Wednesday – We will visit Magnolia Plantation in West Ashley. It is one of the three major plantations that are adjacent to each other on Highway 61 (Middleton and Drayton Hall are the others). This is in line with our effort to visit a different plantation each year (Middleton in 07-08 and Hampton Plantation in McClellanville in 08-09). We will tour the grounds, experience the new Slavery to Freedom tour, and explore the Audubon Swamp.

1/27, Wednesday – We will learn about the culture of Lowcountry African-African-Americans through a Gullah Tour of Charleston with Alphonso Brown — a lifelong resident who demonstrates his native Gullah tongue. This included stops at the American College of the Building Art’s campus at the Old City Jail and first-hand le…ssons about the metalwork of renowned American artist Philip Simmons by his nephew Carlton. Students also saw and learned about Denmark Vesey’s House (and his failed slave rebellion), The Whipping House, the Old Slave Mart, Sweetgrass Basket Makers, Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Slave Quarters, and Black Slave Owners. We were grateful to Mr. Brown for extending his normal 2-hour tour to 3.5 hours so that the students could ask questions and explore more in depth. This endeavor built upon last week’s LOTC to Magnolia Plantation and the history of African-Americans. The day concluded with lunch at Gilligan’s on the Market.

2/3, Wednesday – Minna Hosseini, North Charleston’s Victim’s Advocate for Hispanics, will speak at USL at 8:30. Following the morning speaker, our LOTC for the Middle School will entail painting Greek vases using period elements. Our LOTC for the Intermediate School will involve preparation and service for our immigrants project at local senior citizens’ centers.

2/9, Tuesday – SPEAKER – Dick Boylston, a Revolutionary War “living history” teacher, will talk with the Intermediate School in full American soldier regalia about life as a soldier during this conflict.

2/11, Thursday – The Plantation Singers will perform at University School at 10 AM in the gym, and the public is welcome for this free performance. They feature traditional gospel songs honoring the Gullah culture of the Lowcountry and will perform at our campus. We are pleased to have Montessori of Mount Pleasant, Christ our King-Stella Maris’ 6th grade, Hibben Preschool, and Charleston-area home school families join us for the show.

2/12, Friday – Our LOTC activities will include traveling to Marion Square in downtown Charleston for the first day of the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition. Flight demonstrations by the Center for Birds of Prey, specialty breeds of dogs, various forms of wildlife art, and the presence of government and non-profit experts on the environment and wildlife are the highlights of this experience.

2/14, Sunday – Optional Family LOTC to the Chinese Association of Greater Charleston’s Chinese New Year Celebration. It is held from noon-4 PM at Burke HS in downtown Charleston. Our Intermediate School students will perform and sing Mandarin songs as part of the event.

2/17, Wednesday – Our LOTC activities included rehearsing for the All-School Talent show, watching the landmark Frontline episode from 1985 about discrimination – A Class Divided (aka “The Brown Eye, Blue Eye experiment”), and exploring web-based learning simulations.

2/20, Saturday – First Charleston Chinese Speech Contest and Performance, Sat. (2:30-4:00 PM at Simmons Center 309 at the College of Charleston).

2/24, Wednesday – Our LOTC activities will include exploring mass transit in the Charleston area. Students (divided into teams) will research transportation routes to their destination and learn more first-hand by only using CARTA and DASH buses to get there and back. In line with our study of food from the ground to the table, each group will eat lunch at a locally-owned restaurant (Osaka, Nirlep, EVO Pizza, Sesame’s, Sea Biscuit Cafe, Jack’s Cafe, and Juanita Greenberg’s Nacho Royale).

3/3, Wednesday – Students will participate in online competition for World Math Day in the morning, and then we will travel to the Center for Birds of Prey in Awendaw for a tour and flight demonstrations.

3/5, Friday – SPEAKER – Major Joseph Katz, a Ranger, instructor at the United States Military Academy, and veteran of tours of Afghanistan and Iraq, will teleconference with USL students in preparation for our visit to Fort Jackson.

3/9, Tuesday – SPEAKER – Dr. Steve Zimmerman will speak with the Intermediate School about chiropractic medicine. This is part of their study of systems in the human body, and they will learn more about the nervous system and its role in coordinating body functions.

3/10, Wednesday – Our LOTC activities will include baking desserts in preparation for our lunch and conversation as guests of Hibben UMC for their annual Lenten lunch series. We will also have Eric Stone, US Navy Petty Officer First Class, join us for a conversation about the Navy. His talk will provide an interesting contrast to what we have learned about the US Army (especially comparing Fort Jackson, USMA at West Point, and the Navy’s Great Lakes Training Command). His presentation will focus on anti-piracy operations near Africa and Asia, his experience on the LHD-7 Iwo Jima, and the DDG-81 Winston Churchill.

3/15, Monday  – SPEAKER – George Patton Waters, grandson of US Army General George S. Patton, will speak at 1 PM.  Waters was five when his grandfather died in 1945, and he spent 5 years in the Navy (including Vietnam) before embarking on a real estate career.   Waters’ efforts to this day have been instrumental in maintaining his grandfather’s legacy.

3/17, Wednesday – The Intermediate School will learn more about slavery in America and in Charleston by visiting the Old Slave Mart Museum on Chalmers St. Following the tour, students will make and eat pizzas at Your Pie in West Ashley.

3/17-19, Wednesday-Friday – The Middle School will take a trip to Columbia. On Wednesday, we will sit in on a USC Honors College Literature class, tour the new Honors College LEED-certified dorm, talk with Honors College students, and explore USC. In the afternoon, we will discover the nature and wildlife at the Congaree National Monument. On Thursday, we will spend the morning learning about our state government. In the afternoon, we will tour the SC Military Museum(we expect to have two Medal of Honor recipients joining us for conversation and the tour). On Friday, we will witness a graduation at Fort Jackson and explore the base and several training areas. * Click here for a parent chaperone’s reflection on the trip.

3/24, Wednesday – After Stanford testing, the IS will travel to North Charleston to explore Quarterman Park and North Charleston’s Naval Base Memorial Park. The MS will write thank you cards for the Columbia trip and then, in conjunction with the presentation by George S. Patton’s grandson – George Patton Waters, will watch the film Patton.

3/31, Wednesday – University School will travel to  Charles Towne Landing in West Ashley for our Learning Outside the Classroom experience. Newly renovated over the last five years, this amazing resource is now considered a much more historically accurate destination for visitors to learn about the roots of Charleston.

4/14, Wednesday  – We will head to Walterboro to Keegan-Filion Farm.  As the students can tell you from his presentation in the fall, we learned about large-scale modern commercial farming from Will Bond (runs Martin-Boxlight Farm in Mississippi).  Keegan-Filion Farm specializes in free-range chickens, cows, turkeys, and pigs.  They do this without using hormones or antibiotics, and the cows are grass-fed (not corn or grain-fed). The farm is held in high regard for its practices and its products, and they supply many of the finest Lowcountry restaurants.

4/20, Tuesday – At 10 AM, University School will host Science: Laugh and Learn in the gym. This program brings alive optical illusion, chemical magic, miracles of lights, and electric wonders in a spellbinding, action-packed demonstration. It is appropriate for all ages, lasts about 45 minutes, and is free and open to the public.

4/21, Wednesday – University School will travel to Marvin’s Meats in Hollywood. In conjunction with this year’s science theme of Earth, we have seen how food goes from the ground to the plate. This investigation continues as we learn how animals are killed and processed for human consumption.

4/28, Wednesday – We will engage in a variety of activities, including multi-level mentoring opportunities and creating wikis covering all of the aspects of USL.

5/5, Wednesday – University School will travel to the set of Army Wives to watch the filming of several scenes for the show.

5/11, Tuesday – In mid-May, University School IS students entered the sharing phase of their year-long project involving making oral history to learn about immigrants to America. View this slide show and this other slide show they made for the interviews with residents in local senior homes.

5/12, Wednesday – University School will travel to Cypress restaurant in downtown Charleston. In conjunction with this year’s science theme of Earth, we have seen how food goes from the ground to the plate. This exploration will conclude as we see how animals and produce from Keegan-Filion Farm are prepared and served by Chef Craig Diehl.

5/19, Wednesday – USLwill embark on an eco tour of Capers Island. One of the Lowcountry’s vital barrier islands, Capers Island is replete with shells and wildlife that will allow us to learn more about the ecology of this unique area.

5/27, Thursday – University School will celebrate the end of the year by the beach on Isle of Palms.

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