Jon's Weekly Update 2-25-13

posted Feb 25, 2013, 9:00 AM by Cynthia Friedman
Friday, February 22, 5-7pm: Direct Donation Drive/Spaghetti Dinner/Student Craft Fair
Tuesday, February 26, 3:15-4pm: Uke Group Rehearsal
Thursday, February 28, 7:00-8:00pm: "Learn about the Middle School" Presentation 
Friday, March 1, 5:30am-5:30pm: Jon and Green Team in Portland for Oregon Green Schools Conference
***CANCELLED: Tuesday, March 5, 6:00-7:00pm: MS Adventure Trip Planning MeetingCANCELLED***
Saturday, March 2: OBOB District Battle for grades 6-8 at Willamette High School
Tuesday, March 5, 3:15-4pm: Uke Group Rehearsal
Tuesday, March 12, 3:15-4pm: Uke Group Rehearsal
Tues-Fri, March 19-22: MS Adventure Trip to the Snow! 

Dear Middle School Family, 
The Adventure Trip is upon us. This Wednesday I issued the challenge: Put Adventure! into the Trip. Students spent Thursday afternoon identifying projects to take on over the next three weeks to prepare them (and us) for an action- and fun-packed week in the snowy mountains of the Eastern Cascades. It's a work in progress. The basic idea is this: we're heading up to the snowy mountains for 4 days. It's a perfect laboratory to test some "book learning" in the field. And to strut our stuff!   

What's cool, is we'll be heading back out to the area on May 23rd to do the Canopy Connections trip at H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest (field studies in old growth forest ecosystems--we get to go high up into the forest canopy! More on this later...) 

So far, students are interested in basic survival skills, snow tracking, hunting and trapping, snow camping, fireside storytelling, snow-gear donation seeking, wildlife of the region, evening activity coordination... We're just getting started. We're going to a place: Blue River, Oregon, with particular climate conditions and a unique ecosystem. What we're doing is creating student-driven, place-based projects that can be academic or practical in nature. When we initially discussed the nature of the projects on Wednesday, one of the students asked: "If we focus our initial research and work on one topic, say, storytelling, can we still participate in one of the other projects once we get out there?" 

Most definitely yes. That's the whole idea! 
These projects are meant to provide the students with an opportunity to flex and share their expertise in a "non-academic" situation, to experience each other's individual strengths in real-world action. It's fun to see how the students are dividing up the work to suit their interests and skill-sets. Putting them in charge of the Adventure! in our Adventure Trip gives them a personally worthy goal for work and study.   

We'll be sending permission slips for the Adventure Trip home early next week. Our goal is 100% participation. The cost for 4 days and 3 nights in separate, gender-segregated bunkhouses with bathrooms and showers and a full commercial kitchen and a big gathering room is $140 per student, including meals. This is THE Adventure Trip. We will not be taking another trip in June. This is the one and only. It is a life-changing experience. 

Scholarships are available.  

We have 7 adults, including Carrie and Jon, who are joining the students on the Adventure. Our chaperone group is booked! If you'd like to join us, please do! But the same $140 fee will apply. (4 days, 3 nights, meals included!) 

We're in the process of finalizing these Adventure Projects, but we plan to get rolling with research and experimentation next week. If you have a skill-set you'd like to bring in to the classroom to help the students out, please let me know ASAP! It's up to the students to put the Adventure! into this trip. Please help them out. 

Please Note: the March 5 Planning Meeting has been cancelled. We'll be working with the kids to plan the trip. I will contact the chaperones directly to schedule an "Orientation Meeting" the week before the trip. If you'd like to be involved in the planning, please call or send me and e-mail, and let's get you in the class, working with the kids! 

Jon and Carrie