Greetings ALC Universe. Many new and exciting happenings at ALC Mosaic this week.


    Veterans Day with Dan!

    -November 11th was Veterans Day and Dan came ready in uniform to share with the students his experience as a Veteran. We learned many cool things like How astronauts shower in space. In case you didn’t know this is how they do it.

    We love Dan!

    Since August @libby and @animalfreak9 have had the goal to Skateboard standing up. And now they’re doing it!!



    We had morning work out three out of five days this week. Feeling pretty ripped. Andrew planked for FOUR MINUTES! Tessa maintained the splits for ELEVEN MINUTES. I am taking this push-up challenge. We choose our own exercises and we have been pulling inspiration from this website. Here is one of our favorites:


    Geoguessr UPGRADE! Keeping up with Milo’s suggestion, we now take only 5 minutes per guess. Definitely increased the stakes of this challenge. Check out this map of the places we’ve been. Click on the pins to learn more about the areas! If you want to add to it, just request an invite from any of the ALC Facilitators.


    I FINALLY traded @zelda my Thunderous EX card. @zelda is slowly curating a formidable Pokemon collection. @alobob, with his superior knowledge of the cards and their face value, facilitated the trade. I forget what I traded for… but the experience was very professional.


    Liam‘s visit and the makey makey.

    -Such a pleasure to see Liam from Asheville on Thursday. He brought with him (along with just general awesomeness) a makey makey. He and some folks spent the morning turning anything and everything into a button. ALC Mosaic was so inspired by this device that we are now scheming ways to hook it up to the door so that THIS will play to remind us to move our name tags!


    Tai Chi! On Wednesday, @zelda led a Tai Chi class outside in the afternoon. The class was well attended and @sassygirl26 became an apprentice to @zelda. Thank you @zelda for this incredible offering that was masterfully led and scheduled.


    In Ecology Club we set learning goals for our time together. We want to learn about different trees and their uses (inspired by Warrior Cats)

    -We want to learn about birds through birding, and animals through tracking. Hopefully we will get some snow!

    -As we were talking two hawks were circling overhead and calling. As usual!

     @libby‘s Upgraded Kanban, with customized sticky holder, pen holder and labels.

    From @libby‘s Kanban, to @dthomasson‘s stories, to @zelda‘s offering, each of these experiences draw me back to the mullings: What is Agile Learning? And why is it important?
    These question have come to me many times. In their most recent form, on Friday when @dthomasson and I attended a science educator meet-up at Zada Janes.
    The meetup is for science, math, engineering and tech folks, and any other like-minded parties. Some are tied to the federal STEM initiative and others work for non and for profit entities invested in education.
    The go-around prompt “What was you first STEM moment?” got the group to share stories of the powerful moments in their childhood, where they experienced the foundations of STEM and what it means for their practice.
    A trend echoed throughout their responses. Each person reflected moments where they had the freedom to explore, and engage in relationship with people or the environment. The memories shared resembled every moment in an ALC.
    One man spoke of when he was able to solder a hearing aid with his father under a microscope. “It was so cool” he said, the experience had a significant impact on him.
    I think of our parents and facilitators and how we recognize the value, and have the courage to name these moments as learning. Almost every educator in the room could reflect the moments as children where they had the freedom to experience what ALCs hold for each and every day.
    I always come back to @nancy‘s What IF. When she asked one year ago, “What IF more children were happy and in a state of flow?” I am grateful to be a part of the answer as it evolves with us.

  • Some call Wednesday “the hump day” but these folks obviously never went to an ALC. I want to quote @zelda‘s reflective comment today: “Today I got to do everything I wanted to do and I am going to do it all again tomorrow!”

    Other highlights: @sassygirl26 Isabella has been working hard to pull together the fall festival and today measured the runway, invited new people to participate, and made progress in the decorations. We now have standing tree decorations thanks to some wire hangers!

    MadLibs made a comeback and together we wrote many silly and absurd stories.

    Although we didn’t get to our intention to challenge ALC NYC in Geoguessr, it was because we all were in flow with what we were doing and that is awesome. I spent a fair amount of time at the park today doing Ecology Club. It was just myself and @jamesisland but I made many new observations and here they are!

    Ecology Club

    A beautiful Dragonfly (Anisoptera) flew across our path on the way to the park. I deducted it was a Dragonfly and not a Damselfly due to its size and wing shapes. Damselflies, like their name eludes, are more delicate looking, and their wings tend to all be the same size. Dragonflies on the other hand are sturdier and their lower wing pair tends to be larger. Check out this website for more facts: Dragonflies and Damselfies

    James @jamesisland and I then played under a beautiful Mockernut Hickory Carya tomentosa


    I noticed that many of the Willow Oak Quercus phellos trees in the park had big black bands around them. They look like this:


    I’ve observed this throughout Charlotte and today researched the phenomenon when we returned to school. Turns out, Cankerworms, a pest native to North America, have become rampant over the past two decades and threaten many tree populations in the Northeast. The recent spike is attributed to the loss of natural predators and decline of other tree species… some of the many consequences of development.

    Interesting Fact! Trees are affected year round by Cankerworms but by different species depending on the season. The fall species is called Alsophila pometratiaThe city has conducted 3 aerial sprays since 1993 to reduce populations, the most recent having been in 2008. Because chemical sprays are probably not great for human and other life, the more common treatment are these tree bands. Interestingly, this management technique supports neighborhood cooperation as communities must “band-together” to prevent the pest from spreading. If you would like to learn more here is the website from which I have been paraphrasing: Cankerworm Facts

    For more about Cankerworm life cycle and how they affect trees this website has a lot of good info: I want to learn more about Cankerworms!

    Using an Audobon app I was FINALLY able to identify this tree:

    Cercis canadensis 'Forest Pansy'

    It is an Eastern Redbud Cercis canadensis

    As usual, Red-Shouldered Hawks Buteo lineatus called above us. I’ve heard them many times before during the days, my guess it was lunchtime.

    Last Ecology Club we differentiated between Sugar Maple Acer saccharum and Red Maple Acer rubrum, and today James and I found a Sugar Maple. We collected its magnificent leaves and made this:


    Inspired by the work of this amazing artist! (Andy Goldsworthy)

    Can’t wait for more fall fun!