Jon's Weekly Update 1-23-15

posted Jan 23, 2015, 11:17 AM by Cynthia Friedman



Tuesday, 1/27, 3:15-4pm         T.R.U.E.  Rehearsal (Mandatory)

Tuesday, 1/27, 6:30-7:30pm    Ukulele PERFORMANCE! Sam Bonds

Thursday, 1/29, 3:15-4pm       T.R.U.E.  Rehearsal 

Tuesday, 2/3, 3:15-4pm           T.R.U.E.  Rehearsal

Thursday, 2/5, 3:15-4pm         T.R.U.E.  Rehearsal

Thursday, 2/5, 6:30pm             Pre-Lottery Informations Session: New Middle School!?

Saturday, 2/14, 1pm                 Ukulele PERFORMANCE! Asian Celebration

****NOTE: (not-so) BIG LEAP IN TIME

Saturday, 5/9, 4-7pm                Student Uke Jam, Cozmic Pizza

Thursday, 5/28                         Canopy Connections Field Trip

Thursday, 6/4, 6:00-8:00pm    Eighth Grade Graduation

Mon, 6/8-Thurs, 6/11               Adventure Trip

Wed, 6/10                                 Last Day of School


Dear Middle School Family,


The Ridgeline Ukulele Extravaganza knocked it out of the park at Cozmic Pizza.  As usual.  The students were absolutely buzzing after their performance for a crowd of roughly 150 people.  I am so proud of our kiddos!  They kept their cool and put on an awesome show.  This week Cozmic Pizza... next week: Sam Bonds! (With a longer setlist!)


After-School Ukulele Rehearsals

We'll continue after school Uke rehearsals through the rest of the school year on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:15-4pm.  We already have two gigs after next week's Sam Bonds performance: Asian Celebration, 2/14, and Cozmic Pizza, 5/9.  More will come.  


After-School rehearsals are mandatory to participate in the Performance Troupe.  Participation in the Performance Troupe is NOT required, but highly encouraged; it's a lot of fun.  (Note: please don't require your student to participate if they don't want to.  "Fun" is the operating word.)


Life Science (from Carrie!)

This Cycle we are learning about water, the essential ingredient for life.  This week’s focus was on how water interacts with the land, and how human land use impacts that process.  As part of our scientific investigations this past week, each group created and ran a simulation of how water runs through a watershed.  Next, we will examine the mechanisms for how rivers and streams cut through the land, create valleys, and move mountains. Little stuff like that.


Africa Independent Research Projects

It's humbling, honestly, how seriously our students have taken our studies of this important continent.  We've covered a lot of ground, covering the broad strokes (and many finer, more specific details) of Africa's magnificent (and troubled) past and present.  We have enough common context, now, to do some meaningful independent exploration.  


This week, the students started working on independent research projects of deep interest.  Students are going to dig deeply into small, specific areas of interest to become 'experts' on, so they can teach the class what they've discovered.


Modern-day pirates, cause and effect of civil war in Sierra Leone and Sudan (two separate studies), drum language, native textiles, Zulu tribal culture, modern industry, agriculture and agricultural practices, religious architecture, slavery, pre-desert Sahara, women's roles in society...  


Our kids are smart, deep-thinking cookies.  We can't do it all; we'll never do it justice, but we will share, and all benefit from, 28 deep investigations into the continent.


It's important to note that our learning here is two-fold: we're after content knowledge for sure, but even more importantly, the students are learning what to do with the content.  What will they do with what they've learned?  How will they share it?  We'll be looking at a lot of ways to process and present information for an interested audience.


It's not just "Middle School"

We're preparing our students for life, not just school.  It's easy for educators to lose perspective under the high stakes pressure for student academic performance on standardized tests.  There's no hope in 'standardizing' human growth and development.  No hope in standardizing human worth.


We are each our own individual.  It's an individual, lifelong struggle to work out what that means.  These middle school years are crucial to the development of our personality, Montessori insists.  We need to first and foremost help our students discover who they are, so they can Choose the best paths in the labyrinth of who they will become. our job.  Sincerely,

Jon and Carrie