Jon's Weekly Update 5-5-14

posted May 5, 2014, 9:45 AM by Cynthia Friedman

Tuesday, May 6, 3:15-4:15: Ukulele Rehearsal
Thursday, May 8, 3:15-4:15: Ukulele Rehearsal
Tuesday, May 13, 3:15-4:15: Ukulele Rehearsal
Thursday, May 15, 3:15-4:15: Ukulele Rehearsal
Tuesday, May 20, Churchill High School Auditorium, 5:45-8pm: Music Showcase
Thursday, May 22, 3:15-4:15: Ukulele Rehearsal
Friday, May 23, 5:30-8pm: Ukulele Performance: Aloha Friday at Cozmic Pizza
Thursday, May 29: End of Year Picnic and Outdoor Classroom Dedication
Thursday, June 5, 6:30-8:30pm: 8th Grade Graduation
Monday, June 9-Thurs., June 12: MS Adventure Trip to Honeyman Park 

Dear Middle School Family, 

I'd like to start with a HUGE thank you to Janene (India's mom), Dave (Allison's dad), Erik (Julien's dad), Amary (Quinlan's mom), and Adrienne (Soren's mom), for joining us for the day, and especially for helping us truck all the students out to H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest for the University of Oregon-sponsored Canopy Connections field trip.   

This was the best one yet! The weather was perfect, and the curriculum was rigorous and engaging. The students built a shelter, learned to identify plants, and looked at the forest through the contrasting lenses of a scientist and an artist. They also climbed 90 feet up into a tree! This is the fourth year we've been a part of this program (Thanks! Amy Genz for making this connection for Ridgeline back then. It's become one of the highlights of our year.). They absolutely love our students and invite us back every year, and the curriculum changes each year. The only constant is the location, and the tree climb (thank goodness!). Life (and perspective) is different up there... 

Back on the ground, we're in the eye of the hurricane. The year is going to wrap up in a whirlwind. We have two BIG, culminating, academic projects going on right now that your student needs some support with (as in, you need to know that they have two long-term projects they're supposed to be working on and remind them that you know about them!).   

Before I get into that, though, I have an important request directly from the 8th Grade Graduation planning students: 

8th Grader Pictures! Stat!
We are looking for pictures for the eighth grade graduation slideshow. We are trying to collect 30 pictures per student by Wednesday, May 7th. We would appreciate it if you could gather up some pictures from birth to now and have your student bring them to school. We have a scanner available, but it would be simplest, for all of us, if you send them in with your student electronically on a flash drive. Please email if you have any questions (or if you'd like to share a folder of photos with her on Google Drive, instead of sending a flash drive.) Thanks! 

Westward Expansion Project:
We've spent the last two months studying Westward Expansion and Manifest Destiny in a broad sense. Your student has identified a topic of deep interest in the Big Picture that they want to dive into. By the end of last week, they were supposed to come up with 20 questions they have about their topic. By the end of this week, they were supposed to seek out the answers to at least 10 of their questions. By the end of next week, they're supposed to seek out the answer to the rest of them (and new questions, as they arise). 

They should have all their information gathered, and documented, by the end of next week (May 9). Their final project, that they'll share with the rest of the class, is due on May 16. Their goal is to put what they've learned together in a consumable product, something their classmates can learn from. Depending on the subject matter, it could be a timeline, a video, a slideshow, a poster-board, a diorama, a mobile, an epic poem... 

One hundred years is a long time (1800-1900). A lot happened. We're choosing highlights that fascinate us as individuals and becoming experts. They've had two weeks already just to formulate the area they want to investigate. They have two more weeks to put this together. Please support their efforts. 

Adventure Stories:
I love stories. We all love stories. We've been working all year to build our vocabulary (toolbox) and our sentences (what we build with them). I'm working with the students to build a 'showcase' piece, their best work. Stories are harder to write than most people think, but we tell them all the time. We're working slowly to put the students' best writing skills into practice.   

We'll put the results into a class anthology and print a copy for everyone. Please encourage them to take this seriously and take part. Ask them to share their story. Ask them questions about it! 

Adventure Trip to Honeyman Park
I've had some early commitments, I need to re-confirm: Who's in? We've got two group campsites reserved for June 9-12, Monday through Thursday. (We head out Monday morning, come back Thursday afternoon.) Please e-mail me ASAP if you can commit to joining us for the week (even if you've already said you would). 

It's time to get into details. Who wants to join us on the trip? Our daily schedule is going to depend a lot on what kinds of activities our chaperones want to lead... Sandboarding? Hiking? Drumming? Community Service? Boating? Crabbing? Fishing? HELP! You don't have to stay the whole time to contribute to the fun. Please e-mail me with dates you're available and what you'd like to do. Even if what you'd like to help with is the shopping, or other in-town pursuits, that's huge! 

Once I know who's in, we'll set a meeting so we can come up with a plan for the week (and the prep). I'm shooting for May 13 at 5:00pm or May 15 at 5:00pm (shortly after uke rehearsal). When you e-mail, please state a preference of date. We gotta get on this! 

Jon and Carrie