The second annual BTVS BBQ held on May 31st, 2017 was a huge success! So much so that a few students had expressed their desire to have one in the fall to kick off the school year. The day started off with a buffet of pot luck foods brought in by the students from homemade chips and dip, to cookies and brownies, to bacon wrapped weenies, and a lot of hot dogs! After everyone had plenty to eat, we headed outside for the festivities and games. The weather was perfect with bright blue skies, a few clouds, and a perfect 68 degrees. Our student event club organized a water balloon toss and water balloon pinata that allowed the students to cool off in the shade of our big backyard tree. They also played an intense game of kickball that ended in a score of 12-10, and a throwback childhood game called "what time is it Mr. Fox?" The students even participated in a relay race called a reverse scavenger hunt. Students had to quickly locate a specific item in a bin full of stuff and return it to the judge at the center of the gym. What an exciting day, and great end to a great year at BTVS!
On Tuesday the 2nd of May, 2017 our BTVS students had the opportunity to team up with Mr. Jurek’s Michigan Wildlife classes from JGHS to explore the Bay City State Park and the Saginaw Bay Welcome Center.
Our group first went to the lagoon to fish from the docks. Students successfully caught a few small Northern Pike up to 22 inches long, and one even caught a master angler black crappie thanks to the assistance of a few DNR officers. It was a whopping 19 inches even though the minimum master angler length is only 14 inches, and was very close to the state record of 22 inches. Even though it was cold and raining, the students stayed out on the dock fishing for over an hour.
We then went over the Saginaw Valley State University mobile research bus. They first had us travel to various locations along the bay to collect water samples in plastic sampling bottles. Our students then went on the bus to test the water quality by identifying amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus. They learned all about how the algae bloom in the bay is directly affected by the runoff from communities and farms. We also learned that the bay is typically safe to swim, but is unsatisfactory to most because of the muck (which is simply dead plant matter).
Finally, we went on a hike around the park to identify various bird, mammal, tree and fish species. On the hike we were able to learn about duck houses, see a beaver house, identify muskrats swimming in the lagoon, and learn why dead fish on shore are always missing their eyes (birds love them!).
It was an incredible experience that I suggest to anyone who has the time. You will learn a lot about history, ecosystems, and the human influence on nature. We will be going back again next year, and for years to come!
The best part about the day, however, was witnessing Mr. Jurek and JGHS receive the Green School Award for their efforts within the school and community to promote awareness of environmental issues.
The Bangor Township Virtual School teamed up with BTVS and John Glenn's Mr. Jurek and his science classes to take a much needed trip to Apple Mountain on Wednesday the 22nd of February 2017. Even though we had record high temperatures, and even though it had rained the day before, Apple Mountain workers made and moved snow diligently all morning to open for the public. We brought just over 30 students, and had an incredible time. The event was such a success that we have decided to make it an annual event on our social calendar. We look forward to hitting the slopes at the beautiful Apple Mountain again in the 2017-2018 school year! Thank you Apple Mountain Crew!
Next up........boarding the USS Edson on the Saginaw River for some ghost hunting in the spring!
Since the students today live in the digital age, and are considered the technology generation, of course they love video games. Our gaming club has been meeting once a month either on Saturday to Friday to set up their Xbox or Wii gaming systems to compete in various competition. We utilize our projectors to shoot a very large image onto our gymnasium walls with all of the lights off. The experience is incredible. We have had students playing Super Mario Smash Brothers, Call of Duty, various RPGs, and Wii bowling, tennis, golf, boxing, and baseball. Students also show each other their favorite computer games, hand held games, and even some card and board games. The club is so popular that we are now meeting more often.
Just before our holiday break, we had a white elephant party. There were treats, a white elephant gift exchange, and the students chose to watch A Christmas Story in the gymnasium. Here is the flyer for the event that we sent out to invite students:
Thanks to our wonderful cooks at John Glenn High School, we were able to get a full Thanksgiving meal sent to our building for the students and staff. There were full trays of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, corn, sweet potatoes, pie, cinnamon apples, rolls, and a jello-marshmallow mix. It was incredibly delicious, and all of us are incredibly thankful. Thank you to the wonderful lunch staff at JGHS! There was quite a bit of food left over, so the students decided to donate it to the women's shelter next door. They said it was a wonderful surprise, and they were able to serve it at their dinner that evening.
Kids love Halloween! So our Event Club threw a party equipped with all of the traditional Halloween games, candy, and a monster movie marathon! We had a ton of fun, and the students and staff wore costumes. Check it out:
BTVS partnered up with JGHS and Mr. Jurek's science class to go to Johnson's Pumpkin farm to see the beautiful fall sights, get a free pumpkin, some cider and doughnuts, and pet and feed the animals! The trip was a huge success, and only a few had a hard time in the corn maze. We were able to learn about certain farm animals, Native American history, and some agricultural knowledge. Below are some pictures of the fun we had:
One of the issues that I have discovered as director of the virtual school is that students lack socialization when they work from home. In order to combat this problem, we are offering more and more social events to get the students out of their house and with their peers. After all, a very important part of the learning process is collaboration with peers in both an educational and social environment. Thus, we started our movie night at Edison.
Late in the evenings we invite students, parents, siblings, and friends to watch a movie outside under the stars with popcorn, drinks, and other snacks. If the weather is bad, we move inside and view the movie there. We have done this about once every other week, and the students love it! As the weather turns bitter cold, we will hold off until the spring time before doing it again. Below are some images of our events thus far:
This September we had a social event called "September Games" in which our student Events Club developed games for all of our students to compete. They played games that included various skills of knowledge, focus, agility, etc. It was a lot of fun, and due to its success we will be having another version in the winter or spring. Here are few pictures of the event: