Jon's Weekly Update 12-5-16

posted Dec 5, 2016, 1:59 PM by Cynthia Friedman
Tues, Dec. 6, 3:15-4:15:                   TRUE Rehearsal
Thurs, Dec. 8, 3:15-4:15:                TRUE Rehearsal
Sun, Dec. 11, 3:00-3:45:                  TRUE Performance: Beergarden, 777 W 6th Ave.
Tues, Dec. 13, 3:15-4:15:                 TRUE Rehearsal
Thurs, Dec. 15, 3:15-4:15:               TRUE Rehearsal
Fri, Dec. 16, 10:30-1pm                    Star Wars Party!
Mon, Dec 19-Tues, Jan 3                  **NO SCHOOL: Winter Break
Wed, Jan 4                                         Classes Resume
Thurs, Jan 5, 3:15-4:15:                   TRUE Rehearsal

Dear Middle School Family,

Writing, writing, critically reading, and writing, is mostly what we're up to in the back of Building B these days.  I'm being very intentional with our Communications assignments.  We're working to help the students build a solid foundation for written and oral communication (both sending and receiving).  Fewer assignments with a lot of feedback.  I'm calling this the "Baseline Work."

Everyone's at a different place in this process, of course, so, we're adding more expanded (graded and ungraded) options to the foundational work every student has to complete each week.

Reading for Pleasure as a Life Habit
We've already added Reading as a regular, weekly assignment.  Simple.  Read a book you want to read.  Record the title, author, and pages read in Jupiter Ed at the end of the week.  The students are supposed to keep a daily log of the pages read in their weekly planner.  "Read at your own pace.  Just... read!"  We have a library of books up in the loft.

Each term they must write a Book Review for the Eugene Public Library's Blog.  (Ridgeline basically owns the EPL Review blog.)

Massive Blog Project: Fictional Schools
Next week, the students will be creating characters for a massive blog project.  Think Harry Potter Live. 

Maizzy and I have developed the schools we started last year into full-fledged existence.  She is the Headmaster for Fangorn Aerie, a school where students learn to master "Natural Magic." I am the Headmaster for Wundertech Academy, a school where students learn to harness the infinite power of Advanced Technology.  The students will be choosing a school to engage in, and creating imaginary characters to create Blog identities for.  We've opened up the rolls.  Their character could be a student, a teacher, a groundskeeper, a coach...  It's up to them.

This will be an "After the Baseline" activity.  Optional awesome.  Maizzy and I will be regularly writing and engaging in the students' blogs.  We'll also be playing students in each other's schools, to help stir stuff up. It's going to be a hyper-linked, interactive, living story.  Blog community the way it was intended to work.

It's going to be a closed environment, not viewable by the rest of the world (just yet).  If you'd like to participate, let me know.  =)

Civic Action!
This initial interview phase has been a Massive hurdle to not just Civic Action, but to building general communication skills!  How do you schedule conversations?  How do you follow up with questions?  How do you engage the World outside your comfort zone?  

How do you respectfully be inconvenient?  Boom!  The work we're doing affects everyone in the school.  Changing well-worn habits is always inconvenient.  

I'm sincerely grateful for the staff and parent support to help get these initiatives off the ground.  It's going to pay off.  The students' efforts are going to engage and benefit the entire Ridgeline Community.  Such important work!

Board Games!
The students have been busting out the board games at lunch.  It's grown to be so popular that we're going to make it into an Elective next term.  If you have old Board Games you'd like to donate to the cause, please do!  Such a pro-social, fun, and engaging way to learn critical thinking skills!

TRUE Concert at the Beergaden
This is the last old school TRUE concert.  We're playing at the Beergarden at 777 W 6th Ave. on Sunday, December 11, from 3-3:45pm.  We have several alumni joining us for the show.  It's going to be a lot of fun.  My adult band, 'Olekona, will be playing traditional and contemporary Hawaiian music afterwards, from 4-5pm.  
Star Wars Party!
The new Star Wars movie is coming out on December 16!  We're going to party like it's a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.  We're going to watch "The Force Awakens," and have a pizza party, starting at 10:30am.  We need some help buying and delivering pizza, salad, and drinks from Costco at noon--reimbursed by Cookie Sales!  Costumes are highly encouraged.

May the Force be with you!
Jon and Maizzy