Jon's Weekly Update 11-7-14

posted Nov 12, 2014, 9:16 AM by Cynthia Friedman


Fri, Nov. 7:                           Conferences & Clothing Exchange – NO SCHOOL

Mon, Nov. 10:                      Conferences & Clothing Exchange – NO SCHOOL

Tues, Nov. 11:                      Veterans Day – NO SCHOOL

Fri, Nov. 14 (MS: 7pm):       Uke Performance at B&N Book Fair

Fri, Nov. 14, 10:45am-1pm: Grandpersons’ Day at Ridgeline

Sat., Nov. 22, 6:30-7pm:      Grrlz Rock Performance at Sam Bonds

Tuesday, Nov. 25                  Bring vegetables to slice for Stone Soup

Wed., Nov. 26                       Stone Soup

Thurs., Nov. 27                     NO SCHOOL – Thanksgiving

Fri., Nov. 28                          NO SCHOOL – Thanksgiving Break

Mon., Dec. 1                          NO SCHOOL – Professional Development


Dear Middle School Family,


How time flies!  Cycle 2 ends next week!  Please log in to Jupiter Grades and help your student do some strategizing to catch up on missing assignments over this LONG 5 day weekend.  I've posted links to all the "Lost Kingdoms of Africa" videos in Jupiter Grades, so they can even watch them at home and make up the notes!  


All makeup work for Cycle 2 is due by Saturday, November 15 at 9am (so I can complete grading for the Cycle on Saturday).  We start fresh on Monday, November 17.


Lost Kingdoms of Africa

I've attached the template for the video note-taking to this email, in case you'd like to help your student along at home with notes catch-up.  I'm not looking for exhaustive notes.  The point of this exploration is for us to get the 'lay of the land,' so to speak.  Africa is a massive, diverse continent.  Their notes are supposed to reflect what they see in the videos about the land and the people IN ADDITION to what the narrator says.  (That's what the history section of the notes is for.)


The intention of watching these videos together, exploring the continent in the context of great civilizations of Africa, past and present, and their cultural and historical details (as far as we can make out from what we know (very little!)), is to create a common context of understanding that we can all relate and refer back to.  We need to start with a common framework of big picture understanding: common experience, common language for discussion, common questions...


Phase Two of this exploration will engage the students in personal learning projects that dig deeply into a specific area of personal interest they want to become an expert on.  This is where the Thoughts and Questions portion of the notes comes in: we're working to help the students find a hook for deep interest.  What stands out as interesting?  What do you want to know more about?  


We've spent a lot of time discussing what we've 'learned,' from this BBC series.  Curiosity is piqued.  The real learning will ensue when the students get to work making meaning from too much information about something they sincerely want to learn.


I'm working on bringing in guests and getting out for field trips, as well.  I'll keep you posted as this develops.  I'll be honest: I'm learning and growing right along with the students.  THIS is what I love most about teaching: learning.  


Barnes and Noble Bookfair, Friday, Nov. 14

This is the Middle School's first 'official' concert of the 2014-15 school-year.  No alumni, just us.  We've come further in two months than any group I've had to date.  It's going to be a short set, just four songs, but you're going to feel as proud as I do about how well these kids can rock this mighty instrument.


We go on at (roughly) 7pm.  Please bring your student to Barnes and Noble by 6:45pm if they'd like to participate in the concert.  If they have their own ukulele, please bring it!  (Please encourage them to participate!)


Lunches and Snacks

Please help support your student to pack their own healthy snacks and lunches.  Candy, chips, cupcakes, and other nutrient-poor, calorie-rich foods are detrimental to your student's health, well-being, and academic success.  The research on the effects of diet on adolescent behavior is well-documented.  Healthy, active adolescents are happier adolescents.  (True for all of us!)  



Jon and Carrie