Jon's Weekly Update 9-18-15

posted Sep 18, 2015, 1:26 PM by Cynthia Friedman

IMPORTANT DATES:

Wed., Sept. 23:                  Picture Day!

Tues., Sept 29:                  Laughing Planet Fundraiser

Wed., Sept. 30, 6-7pm:     Middle School Class Meeting

Fri., Oct. 2:                        End of the Warmup Cycle

Mon., Oct. 5:                     Beginning of Trimester 1

Friday, Oct. 9:                   NO SCHOOL - Statewide In-service Day

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES:

Friday Practical Life Classes!

Every Friday, from 10:20am-12:20pm, students will be participating in either a Gardening/Yardwork group, a MicroEconomy group, or a Home Ec. group.  We absolutely need regular adult volunteers to make these programs successful.  Please contact me or Carrie for more details!

THE STORY THIS WEEK:

Dear Middle School Family,

 We had a lot of fun last week getting to know each other.  I'm guessing your kids slept pretty soundly Friday night.  It's an 8 mile hike roundtrip to the top of Spencer's Butte from Ridgeline!  I will try to get the pictures uploaded soon to a secure website, so you can get a glimpse of what we were up to last week.

This week, we dug right in with our regular schedule and academic work.  It's going to take a little time to get used to moving between the three prepared learning environments, but once the dust settles, I think the students are going to appreciate the structure, and the support and freedom it provides.

We've worked hard to make sure we mix the students up throughout the day, so everyone gets to spend plenty of time with, well, everyone!

We want the Middle School Community to continue to genuinely feel like a family, in the way we care for and support each other.  So far, so good!

This week in Math, we did a short assessment on Monday that demonstrated very clearly that every student in the community needs to brush up on fractions, and shake out the cobwebs in their math-brain, in general.  We'll be pacing the work according to the needs of each individual student, but a strong foundation in manipulating fractions is absolutely necessary for success in Algebra.  So fractions review it is, for the time being!

This week in Humanities, we began our exploration of U.S. History, with a snapshot of where we are now as a society.  Our students' view of the state of our Nation right now isn't bleak, necessarily, but it is certainly filled with concern for their future.  It is also filled with a great deal of hope and pride.

One of my goals this year is to help the students understand their role and responsibility as a Citizen of the U.S., to help them understand how our government works, in real terms, and how they can take an active part in making change for the best.

We're going to start back at the 'beginning.'  Over the coming weeks, we'll be examining the real story of Christopher Columbus, and the "Discovery" of the Americas.  

This week in Music, we've been working a lot on form.  How do you hold the ukulele properly?  How do you strum effectively?  We don't use our hands this way in daily life.  It's so frustrating right now for the 7th graders.  Music is a whole brain, whole body activity.  It's one of the most valuable struggles the students will engage in this year.  One of the most valuable IMPOSSIBLE! successes they will experience in their lives.

...It's going to be an exciting year, full of logistical challenges and goof-ups, as we all get used to the new systems we've put in place to adapt to the growth of the Middle School program.  We appreciate your patience, flexibility, and support as the details settle into place.

Have a great weekend,

Jon

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