Jon's Weekly Update 3-6-14

posted Mar 7, 2014, 8:34 AM by Cynthia Friedman
IMPORTANT DATES:

Saturday, March 8, 10-11am: Ridgeline Lottery Info. Session
Saturday, March 8, 11am-4pm: University of Oregon Science Fair/Regional Science Fair
Tuesday, March 11, 3:15-4:15: Ukulele Rehearsal
Tuesday, March 11, 3:15-4:15 and 6-7pm: Ridgeline Project Fair
Thursday, March 13, 9:45-10:30: Health and Human Development
Saturday, March 15, 10am-12pm: Teen Summer Job Workshop (Ridgeline Library)
Tuesday, March 18, 3:15-4:15: Ukulele Rehearsal
Thursday, March 20, 9:45-10:30: Health and Human Development
Monday, March 24-Monday, March 31: NO SCHOOL Spring Break
Tuesday, April 1: Classes Resume
Wednesday, April 30- Thurs, May 1: Canopy Connections Overnight Field Trip
Friday, May 23, 6-8pm: Ukulele Performance: Aloha Friday at Cozmic Pizza
Monday, June 9-Thurs., June 12: MS Adventure Trip to Honeyman Park

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Dear Middle School Family,

Just two precious weeks of school left until Spring Break.  That also means just two weeks left until the end of the grading Cycle.  If your student was out sick in the last couple of weeks (we've had a bunch of 'em), please log into Jupiter Grades and help them devise a makeup plan.  There's still time!

It is each student's responsibility to connect with Carrie or me for support with work they missed.  We want your student to be successful (at Ridgeline and beyond).  This is one of the most important skills for them to master: self-advocacy.

Here's some of what we're up to:

UO Science Fair (This Saturday!)
A full third of our class is participating in the University of Oregon Science Fair.  The students have invested a lot of (last minute) hard work to put their project presentations together.  
"How does the tempo of music affect your heart rate?"
"How does the color of the text affect your ability to read it?"
"Do sports drinks with 'electrolytes' deliver on their promise?" 
"How long does it take for middle schoolers to clean up classroom materials left in a high traffic area?  Will they?  Who will do it?"
"Bristle bots made with toothbrush heads are cute. What will it take to make a bigger bristle bot?"
There are fun workshops and many student projects on display this Saturday at Willamette Hall on the UO campus from 11am-4pm.  Hope to see you there!

Humanities Directions:
This week, we dove back into our Bands to revitalize our simulation in preparation for evolution.  We started these small groups of primitive humans to get to the root of our basic needs: food, water, shelter.  Our Bands are expanding.  Their resources are going to start running out.  They need to make harder decisions about how their resources are distributed, about how they treat each other, about how they're going to treat outsiders from other cultures with different practices and laws...

We tend to lose sight of what it means to be a citizen.  Our government and economy are very complex.  Roads are just repaired; bridges are just built; order is just upheld; food just appears in stores.  We've been working simply, and slowly, so we can begin to understand how these systems were developed and why. 

We've been working through the history of slavery in the U.S., and soon, Westward Expansion and Manifest Destiny, so we can examine some of the choices we've made to get where we are as quickly as we have (and their cost).

As the students' Bands continue to grow, and interact with each other, they're going to have to make choices about how they want to grow, how they want to interact.  What world would they choose to live in, if they had the choice?

Studio Workshops:
I have to say, right up front, that we couldn't even do this workshop model without Dave (Allison's dad).  Dave's been doing great work with charcoal and paints and drawing--all kinds of fun stuff--with a group of about 8 students.  Carrie's been felting with another 8 students.  I've been writing (and doing improv theater) with another 9, and the other 5 students are doing independent projects with electronic music, drawing, and computer programming.

This has, hands down, been the most productive Cycle for Studio so far this year.  I'm so proud of the work the students have done!  We're going to start fresh the Wednesday we get back from Break.  Now's your chance!  These kids are a blast to work with.  If you have some creative talent or skill you'd like to share, in any medium, please let me know ASAP.  We'd love to have you here!  The students would really, really like to do some acting...  1:30-3:00pm on Wednesdays.

Have a great weekend,
Jon and Carrie

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