Jon's Weekly Update 11-14-17

posted Nov 14, 2017, 11:37 AM by Cynthia Friedman
Fri, Nov 17, 5:15-6:30pm               TRUE Alumni Performance: City of Eugene's "Light Up Downtown" Celebration
Fri Nov 17, 7pm                              TRUE ALL IN Performance, Barnes and Noble Bookfair
Tues, Nov 21                                    Bring Stone Soup Veggies
Wed, Nov 22                                     Stone Soup
Thurs-Fri, Nov 23-24                      NO SCHOOL: Thanksgiving
Fri, Dec 1, 5:40-7pm                       TRUE Alumni Performance: Grrrlz Rock Whirled Pies
Sun, Dec 10, 4:00-4:40pm               TRUE Alumni Performance, Beer Garden--Opening for 'Olekona
Mon, Dec 18-Tues, Jan 2                  NO SCHOOL: Winter Break
Wed, Jan 3                                         Back to School!

Dear Middle School Family,

Don't panic! Your student's Climate Change Project is due Wednesday. We knew this day would come. We've dropped almost all other work in my class for the last two weeks, so they'd have time to complete the last phases of this assignment at school. Maizzy and I have been conferencing with individual students like crazy. 

Did you know that they spend 105 minutes with us every day? That's an hour and 45 minutes!

There are no posterboards, no powerpoints. Here is a link to the handout I gave the students a couple of weeks ago, describing the first phase of this project. In short, your student must compile, in a fancy folder, a cover page with the project title and their name; an Abstract that tells us their Essential Question and answers it in 150 words or less; the graphic organizer (mindmap and outline) they used to organize their research; their script (that they will read to their small groups); and their raw research.

On Wednesday, the students will be broken into small groups of five "experts" on diverse topics about Climate Change. They will share their script with their group and show them graphs or other infographics, if that helps them explain their research. The rest of their group will take careful and purposeful notes. What I mean by 'Purposeful' is very important: the students are going to combine their research into a more formal group presentation.

The group presentations are all going to follow the same final format. The students must combine their individual research into a presentation that provides concrete Evidence that Climate Change is real. Their presentation will also use their research explain some of the Causes and Effects of Climate Change. Finally, they'll provide us with some effective Actions we can take to slow down this very real catastrophe.

While the students are presenting in their small groups, their group mates will all be taking notes capturing important facts and information in each of these four categories (Evidence, Causes, Effects, and Actions), to help propel their group project forward. The goal I'm pushing for is to do these group presentations next Tuesday (Stone Soup is Wednesday, and there's no school on Thursday and Friday).

After Thanksgiving, we're going to put our collective knowledge to work, starting with energy and waste audits at Ridgeline to help our community move into positive action.

My hope is that a small group of students will rise up after these presentations and collect and refine our findings into an incredibly powerful Final Presentation we can share with the community at large in a Climate Symposium at Ridgeline. My vision for this continues to develop as I witness the work the kids are doing, and as my network in the Eugene community around this issue is expanding. Thanks, Dave Vazquez for the connections!

One last word on Wednesday's deadline: It had to come. Urgency is everything, it seems. Almost every student has put valiant effort into this project. They know more than they think they know. And they certainly know more than they know how to organize into a presentation.

This is all part of the process of learning how to do this important work. I think of learning to do meaningful projects the same way I think about learning to drive a car. You have to get in the car and drive. At first, you can only drive slowly, joltingly, around a large open parking lot with no obstacles, but you're still driving a car, growing into the potential of the car. Growing into your potential as its driver.

It only gets better from here.

Jon and Maizzy​​