Jon's Weekly Update 11-8-12

posted Nov 8, 2012, 12:01 PM by Cynthia Friedman
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 3:15-4PM: Uke Performance Group Rehearsal
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 6-8PM: BOOK FAIR--Barnes and Noble: Uke performance at 7:15
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 20: Bring Vegetables for Stone Soup
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 3:15-4PM: Uke Performance Group Rehearsal
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 6-7PM: Adventure Trip Planning Meeting  

Dear Middle School Family, 
It was good connecting with most of you last week at conferences. We had a 93% turnout in the Middle School this year! I'm pretty sure that's a world record for parent conference attendance at a middle school. Please know that I am always open to feedback, and eager to hear how things are going at home. We're in this together; I really felt that sentiment reflected in our conversations. Thank you. 

Our Occupations Projects are going really well. The Middle School Library will be up and running next week. UO architecture students have been coming in weekly to work with our DesignBridge team to plot and plan our outdoor space. Our Lunch Program hit a major roadblock this week with our kitchen. We need to do some substantial upgrades in order to be able to prepare lunches to serve to our students.   
Every obstacle is an opportunity. 

Lunch Program will be taking a slight detour in the coming months. We can bake. And I have a lead on an espresso machine loan... With a little work, we hope to get an espresso cart with baked goods up and running. Our primary goal will be to raise funds to get the kitchen in order (our first hurdle is the sinks--we need 5! and some plumbing work...) 

Cycle 4 starts on Monday (November 12). We're changing the schedule up a little bit. Math lessons will be Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Students should have their math assignments finished on the day they're due. It is IMPERATIVE that your student keep up with their math work. If they fall behind, it will be very difficult for them to keep up. If they're left to do it on their own, at their own pace, at their leisure...they simply won't do it. Accountability is a valuable lesson with the math. 

Monday and Wednesday, we'll be working on STEM projects in the afternoon in addition to our Occupations Projects. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Rather than suffer through a fact-based science textbook, we'll take on interest-driven, inquiry-based projects, working to build the students' problem-solving skills through the scientific method. Think, "Science Fair."   

Cycle 5, we'll take on Humanities projects (more on that later). Then back to STEM in Cycle 6, Humanities in Cycle 7, etc. I prefer to engage the students in deep-digging specialized projects, rather than overwhelm them with everything at once. 

Occupations projects will continue to develop on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.   

Next week, Wednesday, November 14, we'll start our Middle School Ukulele Performance Group Rehearsals. 3:15-4:00 pm. I encourage everyone to participate in the first rehearsal, but please keep in mind that this is a performance group, not a social group. The participation contract will include a commitment to practice at home and attend performances, as well as behavior expectations at rehearsals. We're going to start setting up performance gigs around town, so it's going to be essential that the students who participate in the after school rehearsal are committed to perform. This is not a school-funded activity. I'm doing it anyway. 

Our first gig is at the Barnes and Noble event on November 16. We're going to play a short, sweet set. Please encourage your student to participate, and bring them! Performance is addictive! It's going to be a blast. Unfortunately, I won't be able to be there due to family commitments (we're moving!). Jessica and Satsuki have agreed to take on the leadership role for the group. These kids are going to blow your mind.   

I feel like I should say that last sentence twice. (I'm not just talking about the ukes...)
Have a great (long) weekend (no school Monday),

Jon and Carrie