Winterim–Backcountry Camping

Our Backcountry hiking course is designed for the high purpose of experiencing and observing self and nature for the improvement and appreciation of both. Some excellent benefits of this course are personal health, maturity, and independence. We’ll also learn some practical survival skills and have an adventure. During our two weeks together we’ll spend time learning about gear, practices, principles and philosophies of hiking. We’ll also take several hiking trips, each one longer than the last, culminating with a 3 night backcountry hike in the Apalachicola National Forest in Florida. This year we have 7 young men participating and having a great time. Hammock camping is the way to go!!

Aside from on campus training, we had three main off campus events. First, we attended a training session at Dunbar Cave with ranger John Ball. We hiked at LBL, making a 5 mile loop to test our gear. Then we headed down to Florida and hiked 12 miles to a backcountry campsite in the Apalachicola National Forest.
We camped and hiked and learned about backpacking and prepping for survival in the wilderness. We got to know each other better and had a great time and got some great memories. This was a wonderful experience for our students. When asked about their trip a couple of the students commented,
“It was like a reset for my brain, so I can come back and I don’t take for granted the things I have.”
-Landon Bailey
“Keep your head up and look at the world around you”
-Tyler Lucas

Winterim–Entrepreneurship

Over the next two weeks students will learn what means to be an entrepreneur.  They will meet with local leaders, small business owners and financial advisors to learn what it takes to begin a small business. The culmination of their work will be to produce and sell a self crafted soda.

 

Day 1: Students began by getting to know one another, dream casting their ideas and learning about leadership theory.  We began by playing Jenga–with a twist; the task was to encourage one another so that all 15 students would get a turn, and on each block there was an icebreaker question.  Students were separated into three business groups by random draw and this will be their small business team for the week. Groups later toured campus to decide on the best use of the funds raised through their business venture–where and how can they give back to CA?  The afternoon was spent in a master-class in leadership theory led by CA Alumna Erica Christmas.


Day 2: Students traveled to the Escape Game in Clarksville to try their luck at problem solving, team bonding and identifying leadership skills of their group members.  After successfully escaping all four rooms, students travelled to the Ft. Campbell Outdoor Recreation center  to participate in the Odyssey Challenge Course, a ropes course activity.  This course was just another way to learn team work, community building and leadership in their groups.

 


Day 3: The group traveled to Thrive Creative Group to speak with owner Lorilee Rager and her team.  Mrs. Rager provided the group with a wealth of information on marketing and branding.  After lunch, students returned to campus to brainstorm product names, marketing strategies and branding opportunities.


Day 4: The group travelled to Project 2231 to tour Miss Lucille’s, Belle Hollow, ACME Athletics, and The City Forum. We heard from Clifford who told us the story behind each business venture, and the students came out with a new appreciation for all of the hard work that goes into the entertainment business. We bowled, ate delicious pizza, and played in the arcade before returning to CA to finish our work for the day.


Day 5: The group heard from three key figures in the entrepreneur community in Clarksville: Janie Manning, owner of NBalance Yoga Studio; Austin Cherry, CA alumnus and owner of Cherry’s Custom Concrete; and Lorneth Peters, Director of the Tennessee Small Business Development Center at APSU. The students listened to a panel discussion and an open Q&A session afterward. Later that morning the group walked over to F&M Bank to hear from Nelson Boehms about small business financing options for emerging entrepreneurs. After a meal at Blackhorse, they headed back to CA to work within roles to develop graphics, marketing strategies, sales plans, and more.

DAY 6:

We had a big time brewing our sodas at Kings Bluff Brewery! Dustin Brewer gave us lots of details about how his business operates and what they stand for in our community. The groups will brew Root Beer, Orange and Grape Sodas!  Stay tuned!

Winterim–Journalism & Media

The Journalism Winterim is exploring what Journalism and Media are, and what a Journalist does. Over the two weeks of Winterim, we will meet with journalists, photojournalists, and editors to ask questions and learn about their jobs. By the end of our class, the students will write, take photos, and edit a small CA newspaper.

 

Day 1 was spent brainstorming ideas for our publication and getting to know one another. Day 2 the group travelled to The Leaf Chronicle to speak with Editor, Chris Smith about the importance of the newspaper and the different aspects of journalism.


Journalism students met Jennifer Babich, an investigative journalist with The Leaf Chronicle, who also has experience in radio and TV. She spoke to us about her experiences and answered questions on various journalism topics.

Winterim–Web Game Development

A group of CA students and one teacher are spending the next two weeks immersed in a web game development and coding experience at Austin Peay State University.  This group of students will build their own computer game from start to finish.  Follow along as they explore the world of gaming, programming and coding!

 

Day 1: Mrs. Hardison introduced the group to the facilities at APSU and to their instructor for the course.  The students were eager to learn and found themselves designing the beginning elements for their game.

Senior Jacopo Manini– “I thought that the first day of the camp was really fun and interesting. I have never done anything with coding and am learning that I might be interested in a career with creating video games. We are learning a lot about the Unity engine and the C# language. These are key to know for anyone who might be interested in computer science and engineering. Thank you so much for offering this possibility and class!”

Junior Jackson Trotter–“This is Clarksville Academy’s first winterim, so I didn’t exactly know what to expect. I have had prior experience and interest in computer science but was unfamiliar with game development which motivated me to join this particular winterim. The first day was extremely interesting and was an excellent way to start off this experience. I am excited to see what the rest of these two weeks entail!”



In the first two days of coding camp the students have learned how to create a car in a virtual world using the Unity game engine. They were able to access the store to add features such as rocks, and trees to their game. The students have learned that it takes a lot of time to program a simple task such as moving a car forward. They also learned how to move their car in different directions to avoid objects in the road and apply different camera views to their games. They finished their first lesson and  Wednesday will start on their second project. The students are paired up in teams and will begin thinking about a game that they would like to develop.
“The camp is extremely insightful and makes me appreciate the amount of time and effort it takes to create video games. Even the simplest tasks are not so easy. “- Senior, Brennen Morrow

Day 3: Today the group began their second project where they learned how to install characters, animals, and food into a game. They also learned how to move these objects and eventually were able to have the player throw food at the animals. In the afternoon they were given time to work on their group game development.

 
“We learned multiple aspects of coding today, such as the use of prefabricated items by throwing them. It was quite informative and I’ve learned so much about coding in just this short amount of time.” -Silas Elder, CA Junior
 
“We learned how projectiles are created and how to allow other objects in the scene to move besides the player. I never knew anything about coding but I’ve learned and retained a lot in these 3 days.” -Dalton Daniels, CA Junior 

Day 4: Today they finished their second challenge in the Unity Gaming Engine called Fetch. In this challenge they had to attempt to get balls to randomly fall from the sky and then send their dog out to catch them before they hit the ground. We will start our next challenge tomorrow. The students are powering through and learning how it can take hours to complete a simple coding activity.

 


Organization 101

Kayla Morgan, FUSE Coordinator


When I was asked to write a blog post on organization, I giggled. Me? Organized? Yet as crazy as life on the hamster wheel can seem, the reality is that I am a very organized person. Without organization being present in my life, that hamster wheel would turn into the exercise ball, rolling down a set of stairs, with a loose lid… and no one wants a hamster loose in their house!

So where to begin? There is no perfect recipe for living an organized life. We all have our own routines, and things that we have found to work for our families. Some prefer mapped out methods, whereas others are more about day-to-day survival. One thing we all more than likely have in common is the desire to come out of each day with our head above water and the majority of our checklist complete.

Let’s Go Home

Who doesn’t love being in the comfort of a freshly cleaned house where everything is in its place? We begin and end our days at home; therefore, it makes sense that starting our journey to organization begins there.

De-cluttering is a must. Although I am not a follower of The KonMari Method, I do love the idea of asking yourself, “Does it spark joy?”. Periodically cleaning out different areas of your home, while asking yourself this question along the way, can really help begin the process. Before you can truly organize your belongings you need to know what you have. The ability to locate everything at home, even if that means inside of stacked and labeled Tupperware boxes, will eliminate stress and frustration in those moments when you just need things to come together easily.

Once you have cleaned out, have a yard sale with a goal in mind to get something that your family is really wanting or needing. If you are not up for the “fun” of having a sale, head to the donation spot of your choice. The weight of all of your “non-joy bringing junk” will instantly be lifted off of your shoulders!

It’s easy for organization to fly out the window in the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life. Here are some of my personal tips for everyday organization at home.

  • Eliminate “drop-zones” by creating a family command center. Give each family member an assigned area to place their belongings as soon as they arrive home each day. This is also a great place for chore charts or a family to-do list.
  • Keep a family calendar visible so that everyone can stay up to speed on what is coming up.
  • Map out the week each Sunday so that you have time to seek out help or rearrange plans if necessary.
  • Plan out your meals for the week, but be realistic. Everybody needs a pick-up dinner or fend for yourself night at least once a week.
  • Keep a running grocery list. Quick stops at the store add up fast, and take up time that most of us don’t have to spare.
  • Keep extras on hand. Buy quickly consumed school supplies when it goes on clearance, and keep it for replenishing as the year goes by. I also keep essentials like paper towels, toilet paper, detergent, extra toothbrushes, hairspray, eyeliner, and obviously… coffee… in stock.
  • Have a designated homework area that is free from distraction.
  • School stacks are perfect for students. I tell my students to pick a

    spot near a plug, where they can stack their school items before bed, plugging their technology in right on top. This makes mornings much easier.

  • Pack lunches and lay out clothes the night before. If you are like me, you’re spinning out of the driveway on two wheels each morning to make it to where you’re going on time.
  • Establish morning and evening routines. Realistically, we all function better when we know what to expect. Set your family up for success by putting these plans in place and sticking to them.
  • Straighten up before bed each night. Something is to be said about waking up to a neat house. Although it may be hard to muster up that five extra minutes of energy once everyone is in bed, you’ll be glad you did it the next morning.
  • It never fails that our brains catch their second wind once our heads hit the pillow. To avoid the anxiety of forgetting something the next day, try sending yourself emails, setting reminders in your phone, keeping a list in your notes app, or simply keeping a notepad by your bed.

    In the Midst of the Grind

    Outside of home, in the middle of your daily grind, what are things that you can do to try and stay on top of it all? This is a question with unlimited answers. It’s really all about trying different things and picking what works best for you. Realistically, what works in one phase of life, may not in the

next. What works for one family, may miserably fail for another. It’s okay to mix it up and to do it your way. Here are a few ideas you can try.

  • good old-fashioned daily to-do lists
  • use post-it notes to leave reminders where they can’t be missed
  • prioritize tasks and have a daily/weekly routine to meet goals
  • use a paper planner or a planner app
  • set reminders for important deadlines or appointments
  • use Google Docs (good for running grocery/to-do lists)
  • use family organization apps that can be shared on devices
  • follow organization blogs for new and fresh ideas
  • Pinterest boards for storing ideas/planning events
  • keep a neat and organized work space
  • keep a trash can/bag in your car and necessities in your console

    I hope that through reading this post you have gained at least one idea you feel could help you in your quest for organization. I’ll leave you with words from the insightful Benjamin Franklin, “For every minute spent in organizing, an hour is earned.”

    Now, I’ve got to go get my life together!

Homework–Do we need it?

By: Patrick Miller, Intermediate Math Teacher


Why is Homework Important? What does my child gain from doing work outside the classroom?  These are questions parents often ask when it comes to assignments outside the classroom. Homework should be positive in the eyes of the children.  It should be short and to the point. The goal is to practice on the concept that was just taught in class and to be a review of previous concepts.  Also, if a student feels confident about the homework assignment, it will translate in the test scores on the particular concept.  If a student struggles on the concept, it gives the student a wonderful opportunity to reach out and ask for help.  Homework teaches children major life skills they will need for the rest of their life.  Three major life skills are time management, problem solving, and self-discipline.

 

The time management piece is one of the most difficult for children.  If a student learns about time management and how to prioritize all of their tasks, deadlines will be met on time.  Learning to complete assignments on time and prioritizing assignments based on length of assignment and due date will help them in the future. Time management has a real-world connection, such as, paying bills as an adult.

 

The problem-solving piece is a wonderful way for students to overcome challenges at an early age. Having students think through a problem to reach a solution is valuable and beneficial in the childhood development. Every challenge is not going to be a one-step process.  Challenges in life often require multi-step problem solving.  Also, another valuable life lesson in problem solving is every challenge is not going to be solved the same way.  For example, 2 x 1 = 2 and 4 x ½ = 2.  One person might have said that the correct way to solve the problem was 2 x1 while another person may have said 4 x ½.  If students get the correct answer and justify how they arrived at their answer that is most important.  If there was a minor mistake, a student can learn from their mistake if work is shown.

 

The self-discipline is another challenge that students face each day.  Do I want to go to the movie with my friends or stay at home and finish my homework?  We all know what is probably the most fun choice.  However, if we teach self-discipline at an early age it makes all the outside distractions easier to work though.  This will be very beneficial for students later on in high school and college.   Also, this self-discipline will equip everyone to being a life long learner.

 

Homework isn’t something teachers take lightly.  The goal isn’t to punish the students or to give busy work. Homework serves a purpose in your child’s education and one that will help them throughout their life.

Fitness & Weight Training

By: John Crosby, Fitness Instructor


At the high school level, the importance of fitness training through use of the weight room should be strongly emphasized.  Fitness classes offered to students in grades 8-12 is a strong trend in education today. Many classes are in session 5 days a week, with an emphasis on weight training 4 of those days, separated by an active recovery day in the middle. Several scientific studies in recent years support the idea that fitness groups during the school day can greatly enhance the learning abilities of a student in the classroom. Alongside this, athletes see great improvement on a weekly basis for their respective sports. 

The first thing that is emphasized in weight training classes is safety. Students are taught the importance of correct exercise form, as well as weight room etiquette. Once these practices are effectively managed, students will demonstrate the ability to warm-up the body through pre-workout exercises. These exercises are done for both short term and long term injury prevention. For example, rotator cuff strengthening is a point of emphasis for upper body days that involve pressing from the chest and shoulders. Active dynamic warmup exercises are done at the beginning of each workout as a way to prepare the body to be at its best for the workout to come. 

Once the workout is in session,  a goal should be to improve several aspects of the student’s performance. These include, muscular strength, muscular endurance, explosion, mobility and flexibility. Some workouts are more focused on a strength building/ low repetition approach, while others are primarily focused on a high repetition/ endurance approach. There is an equal amount of targeting the anterior chain, as well as the posterior chain of the body. Each student should be pushed to reach their full physical potential regardless of the focal point on a given day.  

The end goal of a fitness department at any academic institution is to teach and promote how to live a healthy/active lifestyle after high school. If a student can take any of the ideas that are taught during their time in a fitness class and apply them to their life outside of school, then the instructor’s goal has been accomplished. 

Inquiry Based Learning

By: Carol King, FUSE Instructor


As the world that our children are growing up in is changing, the way they view and learn about it needs to change as well. Schools are tasked with continually adapting to best meet the needs of students. There are several modern ways to approach teaching and learning that help children become 21st century learners who collaborateand problem-solve, are digitally literate, and can think critically. One effective method used in many classrooms today is called Inquiry Based Learning.

What Is Inquiry Based Learning?

Inquiry Based Learning (IBL) is a way for students to learn through exploration and investigation. Students are presented with a question or problem,then are allowed the time and freedom to discuss with their peers, research information, and engage in hands-on activities. Students are required to base their discoveries on evidence and often delve into data to support their investigations. Communication of their findings is also an important part of the process. Whether by writing or presentation, students share what they’ve learned with their peers.

What Does It Look Like In The Classroom?

There are many ways to use IBL across all subject areas. In a science classroom, this might come in the form of creating a water filter out of recyclable materials or determining a correlation between genetics and certain diseases. Social Studies students may determine alternate ways that the American Revolution could have been handled or plan and design a functioning community. In reading class, students could explore characters in a novel, participate in in-depth character study discussion groups, determine how a character’s decision in a novel could have changed the outcome,  and then justify a character’s choices. These are just a few of the many applications of IBL in the classroom. By allowing students to investigate and collaborate, what they learn has depth and meaning.

The Benefits

There are several benefits to teaching students through inquiry based learning methods. Students are at the center of this process, therefore are often more engaged due to feeling ownership of their learning. This investigative approach challenges students’ thinking and places a priority on evidence, logic, and imagination. By sharing their outcome, students practice communicating using appropriate vocabulary and learning to justify their conclusions.

Why Is It Important?

Inquiry Based Learning is an engaging approach that keeps students excited and accountable for their academic experiences. This teaching style forces them to be creative thinkers and explorers who can support and justify their findings. It provides opportunities for students to gain 21st century skills and thought processes needed to be valuable members of our community and future workforce, as well as lifelong learners.

 

For more information about the Clarksville Academy FUSE program visit: https://clarksvilleacademy.com/academics/lower-school/fuse/

Why STEM?

By: Paul Mittura, Upper School Science


You get up on cold winter morning and the sparse clouds are beautiful reds, pinks, and oranges. Why? You are trying to head a soccer ball and can’t quite find the right place to be. Why? The breaker keeps tripping when you use your curling iron. Why? You are cleaning your bathroom and the new cleaner is making your eyes water and your throat scratchy. Why?

As a science teacher, people are constantly asking me why.

Most behaviorists would agree infants are born with innate reflexes like grasping, sucking, and blinking,but most behaviors are learned through exploration and experience. Most children will look at, pick up,and taste everything they can reach in their environment. As adults, we discourage the touching for fear of embarrassment and the tasting for obvious reasons. We encourage our children to explore in our predetermined “safety” filtered environment. This environment is usually inundated with the interests of the parents. For example if the parents are sports enthusiasts the toddler will be dressed in team apparel and every type of ball known will be in the playpen. We expose our children to what we know and like.

This behavior is both normal and expected.

As educators, it is incumbent upon us to introduce children to all disciplines. With STEM education, students are encouraged to explore the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Quality STEM educators can produce environments with “safety” parameters that allow each individual to experiment with disciplines they may not have had the opportunity to explore in a home environment. Early introduction is important for the formation of accurate concepts in a controlled environment with respect to the 4 disciplines. Continued exposure (grades 1-12) to these types of explorations is an important part of STEM instruction. One of the biggest obstacles for any educator is the dispelling of a misconception caused by misinformation or misinterpretation. Continually introducing STEM activities hopefully prevents these misconceptions from developing.

Now here comes the tough part. It is impossible for teachers to become “experts” in all areas of the educational process. Only through collaboration and pooling of resources to include expertise can pure STEM education be achieved. Vertical teaming (elementary and secondary teachers) and cross curricular teaming (science, math, English, social studies, fine arts, etc. teachers) is a good start. Ideally this would occur with each new unit,but as little as once each semester can capture a student for future studies in a discipline. This concept looks good on paper,but the logistics of moving teachers around and finding time for collaboration is a potential nightmare. Large group presentation is an option but is far less effective than single class presentations and hands on exploration. Regardless of the obstacles, STEM is a worthwhile endeavor. Capturing the interest of students is every educator’s goal and a school dynamic rich with STEM opportunities should be every institution’s goal.

To learn more about CA’s STEM program visit: https://clarksvilleacademy.com/stem/

 

Re-Enrollment

By: Sally Allen, Director of Marketing & Development


February is the time when independent schools across the country begin their re-enrollment process. This is a time of excitement and anxiety for both the school and parent.  Excitement for parents, as they look ahead to a new grade, and a new experience and excitement from the school for all the wonderful opportunities in the new school year.  Anxiety from parents as they look ahead and envision their child in a new grade level and as they commit to another year financially for their child’s education. During this exciting time, it’s important to remember why you chose a private education.

 

Traditionally, parents choose private education for smaller class sizes, more intimate learning environments, specialized course selections, athletics, expanded collegiate scholarship opportunities, etc.  Click here and here to read our past blogs reflecting on choosing the right private school for your family. It is important to weigh the facts when deciding whether to re-enroll.

Making the commitment to re-enroll your child, often times causes families to reflect on the past year and evaluate your commitment to your school choice.  A few of things you may consider as re-enrollment begins are:

 

  • Do you feel your school is meeting the needs of your student?
  • Does your school adhere to their mission statement?
  • Do you and your family feel an active part of the school community?
  • Is your child able to meet the expectations set forth by the school?
  • Is your family able to continue the financial commitment to send your child there?

If you answered yes to the above questions, then you should immediately re-enroll your child in their current school.  If you answered no to any of the above questions, it is important that you reach out to your school faculty and administrators to address any concerns you may have and engage in conversations regarding your child’s educational future. Keep in mind many schools have a set re-enrollment period, giving priority to current students and families. Failing to meet those deadlines could result in loss of space at the school and late fees.

For more information on Clarksville Academy, it’s programs or the re-enrollment process, please visit: www.clarksvilleacademy.com or contact admissions@clarksvilleacademy.com.

Begin Your Journey.