Jon's Weekly Update 10-23-13

posted Oct 23, 2013, 10:42 AM by Cynthia Friedman

IMPORTANT DATES:

Wednesday, 10/23: Picture Re-Takes

Wednesday, 10/23: TONIGHT! Laughing Planet Day!  Dinner out!

Thursday, 10/24: OBOB Permission Slips Due

Friday, 10/25: OBOB Meeting: 1:15-2:30

Thursday, 10/31: Mt. Pisgah Trip

Friday, 11/1: NO SCHOOL-- Conferences--sign up in the office

Monday, 11/4: NO SCHOOL-- Conferences--sign up in the office

Friday, 11/15: Grading Cycle 2 Ends

Friday, 11/22: Stone Soup

Friday, 12/6: Ridgeline Talent Show!  (2 minutes max)

 

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Dear Middle School Family,

 

I need your help.  

 

This week, we started our BANDS projects.  The students have been broken into four groups, and each of them has been assigned a discrete Bio-region in the Eugene area.  The idea for the project is that they, literally, are a Band of 7 or 8 primitive human beings who have joined together the improve their chances of survival in the natural world.

 

We are in the process, right now, of familiarizing each Band with their Bio-region. 

We have:

Group 1 in the Oak Savanna

Group 2 in the Wetlands

Group 3 in the Temperate Mixed Forest 

Group 4 along the River

 

We started research with the internet early this week, and the students were magnificently frustrated!  "I can't find anything?!"  The internet does not have all the answers.  It was a beautiful, hopeful experience.  We're going to continue to flush out our internet-based "reality" this week.  It's always good to start with a framework.  

 

My hope (and my challenge) is to get the students outside, in their Bio-Region, as soon as possible (I'm hoping next week), so they can have a more accurate, sensory experience of what life they would have to build there.  Fortunately for us, examples of all four of these Bio-Regions exist in one place: Mount Pisgah Arboretum 

 

We need drivers/chaperones to make this happen on Thursday, October 31 from 9:45-3:15.  (We'll leave right after ukes and Current Events.)  Carrie and I can transport eleven students in our personal vehicles.  We need transportation for 18 more students! And we need at least two adults who can join us for the whole day, and lead one group each.

 

We'll leave at 9:45am, and come back by the end of the school day.  (We'll do lunch out there, and hike to the top after we're done with reconnaissance.)  

 

The idea is to wander through the area, map it, identify food and water sources.  Identify resources for building shelter.  Gather all kinds of photos and even physical samples to help the students begin to identify their Band's relationship with the land.  Food, water, shelter, clothing, rudimentary tools... these are the beginnings of 'culture.'  We want to bring life and context to their internet research of their natural world.

 

The trip next week is just a fact-gathering expedition.  The students will gather evidence and information for their society to use and elaborate on as they adapt over time. 

 

Eventually (later--not next week), we'll use a lot of this information and experience to develop songs, dance, folklore, mythology, art, leisure activities, systems of governance...  The students will need to identify dominant animals and landmarks while we're out at Pisgah, places to grow stories from. (Obviously it's going to take some imagination to look beyond the impact of the modern world.)

 

It's going to be a blast!  And it will fundamentally change the students' experience of this project.

 

Please help!

Jon and Carrie

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