Jon's Weekly Update 1-10-14

posted Jan 10, 2014, 10:38 AM by Cynthia Friedman


Tuesday, January 14, 3:15-4:30pm: Uke Performance Group Rehearsal, MS Classroom

Thursday, January 16, 7pm: Ukulele Performance, Cozmic Pizza with NEHS

Thursday, January 23, 3:15-4:30pm: Uke Performance Group Rehearsal, MS Classroom

Thursday, January 30, 3:15-4:30pm: Uke Performance Group Rehearsal, MS Classroom

Wednesday, April 30- Thurs, May 1: Canopy Connections Overnight Field Trip

Monday, June 9-Thurs., June 12: MS Adventure Trip to Honeyman Park

Dear Middle School Family,

Welcome back!  This was the longest Winter Break ever.  The students came back full of energy and ready for action.  It's been a fun first week back.  We got right down to work (and play).  More on the academic work we're doing next week.  This week, a couple of important event announcements:

Ukulele Performance on Thursday, January 16

There's nothing like a performance opportunity to boost casual practice of an instrument into proaction.  We're seriously gearing up for our performance with North Eugene High School's Ukulele Orchestra on January 16.  It's going to be a good show.  About half the class is showing up for the extra required rehearsals.  Please come out on the 16th to show your support!

Canopy Connections Field Trip

The Canopy Connections field trip is a go.  We're going to stay overnight Wednesday, April 30, and be back at school by 3:15 pm on Thursday.  Details and permission slips will be coming your way in early April.  Thanks to David, Janene, Adrienne, Jim, and Amary for volunteering to chaperone/drive for the trip.  

Middle School Adventure Trip

I was teasing the students on Tuesday that the Adventure Trip was settled: we were going to camp in my backyard and spend the week clearing blackberries and poison oak!  They were pretty agreeable to the idea. (I think they've got my number...)  

After years, now, of exploring realistic and interesting options, we really can't beat Honeyman Park in Florence for the variety of activities available for the price. Transportation alone for 30 students can be a formidable hurdle, let alone accommodations.  I've booked two (HUGE) group campsites at Honeyman for June 9-12.  We'll head out Monday morning and be back by the end of the school day on Thursday.  Sandboarding, Tidepooling, Crabbing, Beach clean-up, Hiking...  There is so much to do in Florence.  It's tent camping.  There are flush toilet bathrooms on the grounds and showers across the footbridge in the main park.)

There's still a lot of planning and budget-crunching to do, but my rough estimate is the whole trip will cost $125 per student (scholarships available), including all activities, transportation, campsite fees, and 3 breakfasts, 4 lunches, and 3 dinners.  I'm throwing out the estimate early for the budget-conscious: if you can tuck away $25 a month for the next five months...  And there will definitely be scholarships available.  Our goal is 100% participation.

If you can commit 4 days of your life to Awesome, here's your big chance.  If you can carve out 3-6 hours, and commit to helping us transport kids and camping gear out and/or back to/from Florence, it'll be a huge help.  If you can commit to helping organize and purchase food and gear for the trip, you'll help make the end of the academic year go a lot more smoothly.  Want to come out for a day and lead an activity with a small group of students?  Please do!

Every little bit of help you can give helps!  (Really, really helps...)

Academic Work 

The students hit the ground running this week, and we're already settling back into our routines.  There are a few big things in the works:

Slavery Unit for US History

This week, we started our slavery unit, using the "Young People's History of the United States" as a jumping point.  We collectively put together the story of slavery in the United States, as the students currently know it, and discovered that the class really doesn't know much about the role of slavery in US history.  A lot to learn is a good place to start.

This week, we started watching the beginning of "Roots" to get a better understanding of tribal life in Africa, and the terrible journey across the ocean that brought the slaves here.  Next week, we'll be watching some of the PBS special, "Slavery and the Making of America."

It's a difficult chapter in our nation's history, but understanding the early days of slavery and how the story unfolds over time is essential to understanding who we are, what we've overcome, and how far we still have to go.  

University of Oregon Science Fair!  

The University of Oregon is holding their Science Fair again this year on March 8. We'll commit a good deal of time in February to science projects for the Fair.  More on this later.

Math, Writing, and Physical Science continue to be a large part of our everyday work routine.  We're moving to a strictly project-based program for Humanities for the rest of the year.  More on that next week...

So happy to be back in school,

Jon and Carrie