Jon's Weekly Update 4-4-13

posted Apr 5, 2013, 9:55 AM by Cynthia Friedman
Mon, April 8: Laughing Planet Fundraiser
Tues, April 9, 3:15-4:00: Ukulele Rehearsal
Thurs & Fri, April 11-12: NO SCHOOL: CONFERENCES
Sat, April 13, 11am-12:30pm: Uke Performance--Details to follow
Sat, April 13, 9am-4pm: OUTDOOR CLASSROOM! Work Party
Tues, April 16, 3:15-4:00: Ukulele Rehearsal
Sat, April 20, 9am-4pm: OUTDOOR CLASSROOM! Work Party
Tues, April 23, 3:15-4:00: Ukulele Rehearsal
Sat, April 27, 9am-4pm: OUTDOOR CLASSROOM! Work Party
Fri, May 17: Amazon Walk (formerly the Jogathon)
Sat, May 18: UO Science Fair
Thurs, May 23: Canopy Connections Trip to H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest
Thurs, June 6: 8th Grade Graduation
Wed, June 12: Field Day (Run by the Middle School) 

Dear Middle School Family, 
I hope you all had a fun-packed Spring Break. It's great to be back! 
We have an action-packed Spring ahead of us, full of guest presenters, field trips, and some exciting changes in our daily routines. 

8th Grade Graduation!
I can't believe I'm bringing this up now, but it's essential for my mental health. Last year, we began a tradition where the 7th grade parents would do decorations, and host an "Ice Cream Sundae Bar" for the 8th grade graduation, freeing the 8th grade parents to be Present at graduation. It's a great way to pay it forward and support this magical event. We need three 7th grade parent Leads to take this on, so I can let it go. Carrie and I will plan the Graduation Ceremony, itself. Your job would be to "prettify" the place and organize the ice cream sundaes. Please let me know ASAP, if you're willing to pitch in! 

BuildingGreen Work Parties
Starting next Saturday, April 13, we'll be in the North Field at Ridgeline all day, trenching, building, and planting. More details are soon to come, but if you're down for some fun, meaningful volunteer Work that will benefit every single kid in our school, this is it. Every Saturday, starting April 13, on into June. 

Whole Health Program
This Tuesday, we began a curriculum program I've been saving until after Spring Break. I've been looking for a hands-on, practical way to take on health and nutrition with our students. My investigations expanded my own understanding of what being "healthy" really means. It's a lot more than exercise and eating right!   

For the rest of the school year, we'll be practicing strategies and developing skills to support our Physical, Mental, Emotional, Social, and Spiritual health. We'll focus mainly on physical health: nutrition and exercise, but we'll also work on how to take care of your sense of self, as well: making self-supportive decisions in social situations; stress management; depression management; cultivating a sense of connection and purpose... 

Basically, we'll be working on the 90% of everything that matters to us in our everyday lives, for the rest of our lives. It's pretty terrific stuff.   

The word, "Spiritual" has probably raised red flags for some of you. By, "Spiritual," we're really talking about cultivating a sense of purpose and meaning in our lives. No one's religious or spiritual values are going to be put to question or dissected or debated. We're going to emphasize the need for purpose in our lives that is greater than our Self. Our "spiritual self" is a very personal, very family driven pursuit. It is the core of who we are; it helps guide us in our life's mission. If the other four kinds of Healthy are the "How" we take care of our Self, this is the "Why."   

Wow! That's some pretty heavy stuff! Rest assured: our main focus with spirituality is going to be that it needs to be attended to in order to support one's Whole Health. 

This is a perfect segue into the reminder that conferences are next week Thursday and Friday (April 11 and 12). Please sign up in the office. My plan is to make this a goal-setting session. The team's all there! In 20 minutes, we will jump right in. The students will come to conferences with a short list of just 3 personal goals to improve their "Whole Health," and we'll lay out a plan to support their success at home and at school.   

Please sign up for a conference session. I promise we'll make it important and meaningful.   

First Aid Training
Starting on April 15, Cyndy Meno will be training the students in First Aid and CPR twice a week for as long as it takes. If the students satisfactorily complete the training, they will earn their First Aid/CPR certification.   

Planned Parenthood
Jody will be back again this year to talk with our students about STIs, AIDS, and Birth Control. She does a great job, and the students have a LOT of questions. 

Making Movies
If you haven't heard about "Bigfoot in Love," the movie, yet, I'm sure you will soon. It's a short film (12 minutes) that we shot during the adventure trip. This was true "guerilla" film-making. We had nothing but four cameras, fourteen kids, and a Sasquatch costume. We plotted out the script in the morning (but didn't write anything down but a shot list), and spent the afternoon and the next morning shooting the film. We even shot it out of sequence! No one but me knew how the pieces were going to finally fit together. 

The students are HUNGRY for more. We've been playing with movies all year; now they're ready to take it to the next level. We'll be scripting and planning and shooting short films for the rest of the year, as part of our Language Arts curriculum. 

Nitty Gritties 
We're going to participate in the UO Science and Invention Fair again this year. Every student will be required to develop and execute and report on a science project, starting this week! Scientists from the UO will be teaching lessons in our classroom every Wednesday for the next four weeks. 

We've been invited to perform ukuleles at a Rotary Club Meeting in Springfield from 11am-12:30pm on Saturday, April 13. The group that granted us the ukuleles is very proud of our students' accomplishments, and wants to showcase them as an example of why the Rotary club should support the "Ukes for Kids" program. If your student would like to participate, please let me know ASAP. 

OAKS testing is starting up this month. We're going to get the Reading test out of the way before conferences. I plan to do the Math testing in early May. 

Math, Occupations Projects, everything else is carrying on: business as usual. 

There's a lot more going on, but I'd better stop. If you'd like to come out and help with... anything! Please let me know. 

Jon and Carrie