Jon's Weekly Update 9-15-17

posted Sep 15, 2017, 11:01 AM by Cynthia Friedman
IMPORTANT DATES:
Sat, Sept 16, 7pm                            TRUE Alumni Performance: Slug Queen Coronation,Thinking Tree Spirits
Tues, Sept 193:15-4:15pm            TRUE Rehearsal
Thurs, Sept 213:15-4:15pm          TRUE Rehearsal
Wed, Sept 20                                    Picture Day
Wed, Sept 276-7pm                       Middle School Class Meeting: Start in Homeroom
Sat, Oct 7, 12pm                              TRUE Alumni Performance, Spencer Creek Grange
Fri Nov 17, 7pm                              TRUE Performance, Barnes and Noble Bookfair
Sun, Dec 104:00-4:40pm              TRUE Performance, Beer Garden--Opening for 'Olekona

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Dear Middle School Family,

I don't think we've ever had a crew of 7th graders who are so ready to get down to business right away. We're still taking it slow and easy in the back of Building B. The 8th graders are feeling confident on this familiar ground, but Summer happened! In every one-on-one writing conference I've done this week, I've had the opportunity to reinforce and coach effective habits. 

Communications Work
We're going to continue to spend the next couple of weeks easing the students into the processes and routines for managing, completing and turning in their 'routine work.' As the year progresses, these assignments truly will become routine. And the students' writing ability is going to impressively improve.

The students will annotate and write an academic response to a news article every week. They'll learn to fact check and weigh the validity of the sources in the articles. They'll learn to quote authoritative sources to support their own arguments. They'll learn to critically respond to any argument. 

One student commented on Tuesday, as I was leading them through the process of breaking down the argument in the first article this week, "I feel like you're trying to get us to take the author to court." Well, yeah. Kind of. We're trying to train them to get under the surface of the media we're inundated with. We're preparing them to lead others through the cloud of misinformation.

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Grading
We are currently in the Warm Up term. Grades now will not affect the students' report cards. We kick it in for real with the first Cycle on October 2. There are 6 Cycles in the school year. Grades reset every Cycle. 

We use Jupiter Ed to communicate the assignments and grading with the students, and with you! I will send a separate e-mail shortly after this e-mail with a link for you to log in to your students account and keep up with their progress. You can even set it up to text you updates on missing assignments.

One of the most important things we're doing in the Middle School is making sure our students' transition from a Montessori environment to a Public High School environment is successful. Transparency and accountability is key. The students will know exactly what work they're supposed to do each week (and how to do it)  and when it's due. So will you. They will learn to play the Grades game. (If you complete the work, and turn it in, your grades will be okay!)

We'll go into more detail about how we assess and measure the work, and how we assign grades at our Middle School Meeting on Wednesday, September 26, at 6pm. Please come!

Work next week is going to get a little more busy. Please prepare for some stress. It's normal. We'll all settle down by October, I promise. Learning is uncomfortable. 

We promise to keep your student uncomfortable all year. =)

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After School Ukulele Program
There are currently only 4 students registered to participate in TRUE this year. If your student plans to participate, please find details and register by clicking this link. Please register as soon as possible! The first all-in rehearsal is Tuesday, September 19, from 3;15-4:15pm.

Have a great weekend!
Jon and Maizzy
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