Jon's Weekly Update 9-16-11

posted Sep 16, 2011, 12:27 PM by Cynthia Friedman
Dear Middle School Family,

In case there was any doubt in your mind: your children are superheroes. (With and without the capes!) I've laughed more in the last week and a half than I have in a very long time. Our classroom is a joyous place to be. (Check out the pictures link on the website!)


Wednesday, September 21, 6-7pm: Class Meeting (I'll give a quick run-down of what we're up to and answer any questions you have.)

Thursday, September 29-Friday, Sept. 30: Class camp-out! We're going to camp out in the field below the classroom (weather permitting). If it rains, we'll sleep in the gym. I'll send more details in the permission slip coming home the beginning of next week. Please join us! We will have an early release (12:00pm) on Friday, September 30.

Friday, September 30, 11am-12pm: Ukuleles Arrive! We received a grant for a handful of ukuleles to kick-start our middle school music program. Mele Ohan a's Uke's for Kids will come to award the ukes to the class and play a few tunes. Please join us!


The class calendar and links to the schedule and our grading system and other important information for the Middle School can be found at this (not flashy at all) website:

Please bookmark it and use it for a one-stop check-in point.

We're doing some cool stuff already (as I hope you already know). The students are using and interacting with each other's Blogs to craft journal entries. We're ironing out the kinks in our basic math skills using the Khan Academy website. We're committing a lot of time right now getting to know ourselves, know each other, and establish the best possible working environment.

One of my main goals for this middle school program is to smoo th the transition for our students from Ridgeline to High School. I'll talk more about this at the meeting next Wednesday. In a nutshell, though: we have 4 main subjects: Math, Physical Science (this year), Language Arts, and Social Studies (U.S. History and Governance). The students will work for letter grades in each subject. The year is divided into 7 Cycles. Grades start fresh at each cycle.

The students all have Day Planners/Student Agendas. We're working hard this year at the front-end to help them manage their time and work-flow. Each day should be filled out with "Deadlines" at the top. Next is "Work Plan," filled out each morning, listing the tasks they plan to accomplish that day. Finally, they list the "Homework" they have to do to meet their deadlines.

They get points every day for bringing their planner back, signed by you. Please help us close this accountability loop by asking them what's supposed to be the re (if there's nothing written). This is a way for them to plan for the day, and to communicate to you, and us, what they've done for the day. I'll explain the process at next Wednesday's meeting. It's meant to be simple and do-able. So they'll do it!

Accountability is high this year. Amazing things are in store for us. Our "big idea" theme for the year is, "Life is the story you're telling yourself." We are each the hero in our own story. How do we make it extraordinary?


Jon and Carrie