Dear Coast Redwood Middle School Families,Update for 10/26/14:
Thanks to all for a great start to our year together. The kids are clearly growing more and more comfortable with each other since the campout/ropes course and the class is really starting to feel like a family. Thanks to all the parents who have brought in water, helped to create an appealing physical environment, led classes, taken the kids up to the field during lunch. Parents working directly with the kids each day really helps support that family feel of our school.
*Due Thursday: a piece of paper with your child’s Gmail address and password.
*Due next week: Research: “Are viruses living or non-living?” (see Germs below)
*Individual Meetings: Sign up on clipboard next to the Lost & Found area.
*Month 2 paperwork due to the Charter Office: Friday, October 17.
*Drive for Schools tickets and $$ due: Thursday, Oct. 23
Because of this, I’m thinking that I should keep a master list of the kids’ Gmail addresses and passwords on my computer so that I can look them up, if need be. Please send your child to school tomorrow or Thursday with their Gmail address and password written on a slip of paper to give to me.
As part of our germ study the kids took surface samples from various spots around the room and used the samples to inoculate petri dishes. The cultures all seem to be growing well and we’ll look at them tomorrow under magnification. In preparation for the inoculation the kids came up with lab safety rules and biological testing practices. The kids also worked in teams to experiment with the effectiveness of different hand-washing techniques. Using Glo Gel, the kids tested the effectiveness of their technique under a black light then wrote up the results using a standard experimental write-up format. I’m looking forward to all groups sharing their results tomorrow.
During our first day together the kids came up with their own set of class norms, first writing their own lists, then discussing the lists at their tables, then prioritizing them as a group. The list is tacked to the white board under the daily agenda if you’d like to see what they wrote.
Because the middle school yard duties’ have enough kids to keep track of with just the middle school, we are asked to hang out in our own space during lunch. CRMS kids who would like to spend time with their SLVMS friends are welcome to invite them in to our space. Thank you to all of you who have taken the kids up to the soccer field during lunch. It is so helpful for them to have a place to play!
*Possible overnight in San Francisco
*Possible trip to Headwaters in April
*Possible ski/sled trip to the Sembrat’s cabin
*Possibly doing 23 & Me profiles for all the kids who are interested as part of a study of genetics.
*Science equipment so that more kids can be involved in each aspect of experiments we’ll be doing
*Helping pay for yearbooks
*Helping pay for a graduation celebration
*Purchasing more high-quality, digital cameras
We can brainstorm more fundraising ideas at our parent meeting on 10/23.
*A basket or nice-looking box for returning books to the CRMS library
*More upright file holders to help hold workbooks in the library
*Pieces of Masonite board for ceramic art projects (I can show you an example of some I already have)
*A rack to hold the Chromebook computers while charging.
*An 8-10 foot long extension cord with a power strip for computers.
*Ideas on how to make three portable hand washing stations.
*Someone who is willing to dust the blinds
Coast Redwood Middle School
Dates to Remember:
*Monday, Oct. 27: Boys Basketball and Girls Soccer tryouts.
*Tuesday, Oct. 28: Newspaper copy due to Hannah (see Newspaper below)
*Wednesday, Oct. 29: Homework (Continuation) due: We did not get to our discussion last week, so there is still time for your child to research the question of life from a scientific point of view. What criteria do scientists use to determine whether something is alive or not? What are your criteria for determining whether something is alive or not?
*Thursday, Nov.13, 6:30pm: Town Hall Meeting at the Quail Hollow Campus.
*Nov. 26-28: Thanksgiving Holiday, No Class.
Thanks to all of you who made it to the meeting on Thursday! It was great to connect face-to-face. For those of you who missed it, I have included information from the meeting in this update. Here is the Doodle Poll for scheduling the next parent meeting: http://doodle.com/w6yhh97y7bpkk534 Please vote for all times that you can attend.
Please check look at the work that your child brings home in his/her binder and ask questions. It would be great for them to practice articulating what we are doing in class themselves. Please help your child remember to bring his/her binder back to school on Wednesday.
Gmail addresses & passwords:
Thanks for getting these to me. We’re almost at the point when we can start computing together!
Drive for schools:
The word from Roberta is that our final total for CRMS Drive for Schools fundraising is $920. Kudos to CRMS students and families! The kids had great fun thinking up ways to continue to fundraise so that we could make it to our top $1000 goal. Given all the enthusiasm and that there are still some straggling funds that have yet to be received, I think we can say with confidence that we’ll make it to the $1000 goal.
At this point we have about $3800 in our account. This may seem like a lot, but it goes quickly doing really fun activities with 24 kids. For example, if all 24 go to Headwaters Outdoor School in the spring (which still might be a possibility) then that would cost $7200, not counting transportation. Also, if we wanted more cameras, so that more of the kids could use them at once they cost $700 each.
At the parent meeting we discussed that it is helpful if those who can pay a little more for field trips and other activities do since some of our families need scholarships in order to participate. We will only do an activity if we have enough funds for everyone to participate. Sandy suggested that we look into the Science Camp offered by Walker Ridge as a less expensive alternative to Headwaters.
At the parent meeting Kacia offered up several ideas about fundraisers that we could do including selling first aid kits (which everyone needs), scratch off fundraisers, etc. She suggested looking at Nature’s Vision, Mother Earth Fundraising, and Green Fundraising websites for more ideas. Our own Cristallo family has offered to do a fundraising night at their restaurant in Ben Lomond, Casa Nostra. A percentage of the proceeds from the evening’s sales would go to benefit CRMS. We decided to make Nov. 21 the night. Kacia is confirming the date with the Cristallos.
This weekend I tallied votes for the student-requested ways to celebrate. Top vote-getters at the $400 level were: Pizza Party and Halloween Party; at the $700 level were: Movie Night, Arts and Crafts Day, and Ice Cream Day; at the $1000 level: a Trip to the Boardwalk, a Pool Party, and a trip to the Tech Museum. It looks to me like some of these could be combined. Clearly, the Halloween Party should come first. Is anyone willing to go to Costco and pick up Pizzas for class this Thursday? Perhaps crafts could be involved, too. We already have one project which the kids can work on, which is trimming and sanding their green ware ceramic mugs. Would anyone else like to lead an art/craft this Thursday? We already have the CRMS tradition of bobbing for doughnuts, which I’ve already heard that the continuing kids expect to do again. Those of you who enjoy party planning, I’d love to have your help! Please let me know if you’d like to help plan or participate in any way.
Our newspaper editors are looking for articles for the next edition. Please encourage your kids to write about any “news” they may see or hear about over the next few days. Short book reviews would be wonderful, as would little reports on areas of interest. For example, this week I encouraged a student who is learning about the US Constitution to write an ongoing “Constitutional Corner” column, sharing facts about what he is learning. Copy is due to Hannah (email@example.com) by Tuesday, 10/28. It looks like many of the kids would like to have a Karaoke night. Look for information on this in upcoming editions of the newspaper.
It looks like we don’t have enough families able to participate in Spanish class when Sandra can offer it. Let’s try again next year!
Rhonda has connected with the Math Department at UCSC and hopes to receive applications from potential Math students soon. We’ll let you know as specifics become available.
Our very own Lou Larwood has offered free tutoring services in Language Arts to students in need of extra support starting in January. Lou is a Teacher Supervisor in the Special Education Department at San Jose State University. She will be retiring from that position at the end of the year and has generously offered to spend more time with CRMS students.
Parent Help in the Classroom:
I am so grateful to all of you who have come to help! It has worked out really well for the kids to be able to run around at lunch time and to be able to split the group in half at other times.
This week Bruno was with us on Thursday. Bruno has just graduate from UCSC’s Agroecology program and led half the kids in nature observation and photography in the garden while I had the other half in the SLVHS ceramics studio for mug making. Andrea generously offered to get us a donation for the garden project from Scarborough Lumber. I am so glad to have Bruno and Andrea involved in the project and look forward to the transformation of that space into an even richer learning environment.
I have plenty of meeting times available in the next few weeks. I’d love to be able to check in with you about how your homeschooling is going! Please sign up on the sheet next to the Lost and Found basket.
Thanks to all who have contributed healthy snacks! Let’s stick to seasonal fresh fruit and veggies. Each week parents have brought in apples and popcorn/crackers. The apples look very inviting in the basket and hungry kids have relished them (they are all gone). The popcorn/crackers seem to elicit more erratic behavior and make a mess, so I would request that you not bring them unless it is for a special event. Thanks!
I’m still collecting 2oz spray bottles and 2oz squeeze bottles for an upcoming project. Those of you who save such things, would you check to see if you have any that you’d like to contribute? I’d like to recycle as much as possible. I would also love to start collecting sturdy shoe boxes with lids to allow for the transport of delicate items from the ceramics studio to the classroom and back.
If you intended to contribute to the camping trip/ropes course, but you haven’t yet, now would be a good time. Ann and I will be looking at the budget to assess how much we’ll be able to spend on field trips, etc. this year.
After School Sports:
Boy's basketball tryouts begin Monday October 27th in
the middle school gym: Come dressed and ready to go.
8th - 4:30 - 6 pm
7th - 6 - 7:30 pm
Girls soccer tryouts begin Monday Oct 27 2:30 on the soccer field. Come dressed and ready to go.
6th/7th grade at 2:30
8th grade at 3:00pm
Summary of the Week:
We checked out our antiseptic experiments. Some antiseptics had a clear area of inhibition surrounding the soaked paper square, others had none. Some worked to inhibit the growth of bacteria, but not mold. Some of them had a little bacterial colony growing right in the middle of the area of inhibition. As we extended the experiment, I encouraged those with bacteria in the area of inhibition to reinoculate using that bacteria to see if they were culturing an antibiotic resistant bacteria. Other kids retried their antiseptics if they felt that their antiseptic was old or if they felt that they did not inoculate their dish enough. Each child should have a write up for their new experiment. I encourage you to look at these write ups and use the same format for any experiments that you might do at home.
The kids started work on their project presentations. They worked in pairs to brainstorm ideas, narrow their topic, come up with main points of interest and questions for each of those main points. The kids are all in different places with it. Some have already scheduled their presentation date and have begun making a timeline to determine what part of it they need to do when. This timeline will need to be amended with you when they decide what they would like to do for a project and how long it might take. Please let me know if you have any questions.
Those who did PE with Kacia last week got to do Photography with Viviana and visa-versa. Viviana also acted as photography mentor when the kids were investigating the garden with Bruno.
The kids all got a chance to use pinch pot technique to hand build their own water mug out of clay. We were so lucky that Tamera Smith let us use her ceramic studio at the high school. The kids were very impressed with the artwork the high schoolers’ had done.
Thanks to All!