Dates to Remember:
Sports Tryouts This Week: See After School Sports (under Announcements below.)
Sewing Machines and Teachers needed this Wednesday: April will begin teaching the kids how to sew the border on their quilt squares this Wednesday from 12:30pm-1:30pm. If any of you have a machine you’d like to bring to use, that would be great. It would also be great to have several parents there who know how to use sewing machines to help the kids. Please let me or April know if you can help. We’ll be setting up the machines during lunchtime (12-12:30pm) so they are ready to go at 12:30pm. Also, if you have any light colored thread that you can contribute to the project, that would be greatly appreciated as well. If anyone can stay late, until 2pm that would also help move the project forward.
Math Tutoring with Victor and Mr. Paine: Wednesdays, 1:45pm-3:00pm.
Month 7 Attendance Paperwork Due this Friday, 3/20/15.
Forum on the State Mandated Testing: Friday, March 20, from 1:30-3:00 in Room 12 at the District Office. (see Parent Meeting below.)
California Academy of Sciences Field Trip Thursday, 3/26/15. Marin Headlands, Wednesday, 3/25/15. The kids who are going on the overnight will plan meals, etc. with me while the kids who are not spending the night sew with April.
Spring Break, March 30-April 3: There will be no classes the week of March 30, and you don’t need to keep homeschooling records that week.
No homework for class except working on project presentations.
Summary of the week:
Cross Stitch: Almost everyone is finished with their cross-stitch this week. Those who didn’t finish will get a chance to work on it this Wednesday while we plan our trip to Marin Headlands.
Garden: During our gardening time, some kids planted herb seeds, others worked on the beds, and others worked on the scale model. We’re almost to the point of planning where all the plants will go, and some of the kids herb seeds have sprouted! I went over the description of one of our herbs written on the seed packet. We discussed what each term meant. We looked at germination rates and figured out how how many seeds we would need to plant to get the final number of plants wanted.
Neuroscience & Plant Medicines: We got microscopic with our neuroscience studies this week, looking at neurons themselves and how they work. The kids labelled different parts and functions of a neuron on two diagrams. They watched a McGraw Hill video and took Cornell Notes on it. After evaluating each other’s Cornell Notes, they acted out neurons firing in a relay race, each team mimicking the process of myelination by trying to beat their previous time. Here’s some key vocabulary we used if you’d like to reinforce it at home: neuron, dendrite, soma, axon, myelin, axon terminal, action potential, synapse, synaptic vesicle, neurotransmitter, receptor.
On Thursday the kids got to see/hear action potentials in real time through using the Spikerbox. The kids worked in pairs, based on their interest in playing the different roles involved in the experiment: anesthetizing a cockroach in ice water, surgically removing one leg, returning the cockroach to the recovery tank, and securing the still living leg to the Spikerbox with the electrode pins. With the Spikerbox they could hear the spikes (action potentials) moving through the nerve cells of the leg and noted down their rhythm, both with external stimulation, and without. They then soaked the leg in one of the plant extracts they had made for three minutes, testing the leg afterward to see whether their extract had acted like a nervous system stimulant or depressant. My partner Skip was able to come and show the kids their leg’s spikes on a laptop screen…so cool! The gingko leg was quite alert so we used that one to run music through so the kids could see how the electrical impulses of the music fire the nerves. We’ll be analyzing our data this week.
Here’s a link to a video which essentially shows what we did: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mKen7tCDCs. It would be fun (and educational) to make our own Spikerboxes, but that would be a bit pricey for all of us to do. If you are interested in extending the experience at home, www.backyardbrains.com is the place to find materials and interesting experiment ideas.
P.E.: We played soccer on Wednesday. On Thursday Kacia and I talked about the 7th grade PE test with the kids. Our plan is to use the upcoming PE test as a good excuse to include more exercise. For the next few Thursdays we’ll be splitting the class during gardening time so that everyone gets some time in the garden and some time running around working on the skills that are included in the PE test. Everyone will be encouraged to set their own goals and move at their own pace while practicing the different skills. The kids will be paired up with a workout buddy and will have parents/teachers there to support and make it fun, but they will not be doing the activities all at the same time. We are setting it up so, as much as possible, each child is only competing against themselves.
Parent Meeting: Thanks to all who were able to attend the parent meeting on Thursday. There parents approved spending for the Marin Headlands Hostel and the purchase of sheep brains for dissection later in the year. Bruno is putting together a shopping list of irrigation supplies for the garden which will put up for approval as soon as I get it, maybe through Survey Monkey. A snafu with the Marin Headlands is that Hollywood wants to come in and film the day that we had scheduled to visit. To make a long story short, we will still spend the night at the hostel, but we won’t be spending the day at Pt. Bonita and the Nike Missile site. Instead B.J. and I are looking into going to Ano Nuevo or other fun and educational places as we make our way up the coast. The pay-off for this change of plans is that Hollywood studio will cover our hostel costs, plus make a $2500 contribution to Coast Redwood Middle School. This gives us a good head start on getting to Headwaters Outdoor School next spring. With this head of steam, I went ahead and reserved the dates with Tim Corcoran, May 2-6, 2016. The kids are all excited about the infusion of extra money!
Also discussed at the parent meeting were dates and possible locations for our Fall Campout, and dates for our graduation/end of year celebration. Some parents suggested doing our campout in October, after classes had already started. Everyone like the idea of staying local again. Please let me know if you have an opinion on this. With everyone’s tight schedules, it looks like our graduation will actually be on the last instructional day of the school year, Thursday, June 11. As usual, we will have our graduation/celebration on the beach at Natural Bridges from 11am-2pm.
Also discussed the upcoming state-mandated Language Arts and Math testing. My plan is to make the testing a part of each school day, May 6, 7, 13 & 14. The rest of the day will run normally. With three grades together, the kids will be taking different tests beginning and ending at different times, so I will be asking you to please send some quiet work from home (math, reading, etc.) for your child to do during the testing periods when they are not working on the test. It is a great study hall time since the kids really do a good job staying quiet and focused. Rhonda will be hosting forum on the state mandated testing to allow for more conversation and clarity on Friday, March 20, from 1:30-3:00 in Room 12 at the District Office. You are all invited to attend.
Wish List: Thanks to the parents who helped me fulfill wish list requests!
I have one new item on the wish list. If you use two liter plastic soda bottles, or water bottles, would you please save them for me? We’re going to need them as cloches in the garden to help keep the pests off of our seedlings. Thanks!
SLV Fashion Club Annual Fashion Show
Many of you know SLVHS Art teacher Tamera Smith because she worked for our SLV Charter School in the past, but many of you may not know that she runs a fashion club for teens. Next weekend they will have their annual fashion show at the new performing arts center. The show is a fundraiser for the arts programs at SLVHS. It should be a fun time! Here are the details: show times: March 19, 20, 21 7:30pm. March 22, 2pm. $5 for students, staff & seniors, $7 general admission, $10 VIP (includes seating in the first row and gift). I talked to Tamera and she is excited about perhaps having some CRMS kids in the fashion club next year. If you think your child might be interested, definitely try to get to the fashion show to check out the club’s biggest event.
Spring After-school Sports:
6/7th Girls Softball tryouts are 3/16, 3/17 and 3/18 from 2:45 to 4:00 on the middle school softball field.
Be dressed and ready to go! See Mr. Coulson if you have questions.
8th Grade Girls Softball tryouts begin 3/16. Meet at the middle school softball field at 3:30.
Come ready to play! See Mr. Coulson if you have questions.
Boys Volleyball tryouts are 3/16 to 3/20 from 3:00 to 5:00 in the middle school gym.
Be dressed and ready to show out! See Mr. Coulson if you have questions.
First Track and Field practice is Tuesday March 24th!
Meet outside the locker rooms at 2:30 sharp dressed and ready to practice! See Mr. Coulson if you have questions.
Practices for Golf will start next Monday and Thursday, from 3:15-5:15. This schedule is only for next week.
The kids will need $5.00 for each practice round. For more information email Coach Crandall at email@example.com
The Eating Disorders Resource Center of Santa Clara County is hosting their 6th annual Every Body's Beautiful Essay Contest is now accepting submissions, through March 27. If you find your child is slipping into judging themselves and others based on the Hollywood version of beauty, this might be a great excuse to bring some critical thinking to the issue. I wrote the EDRC to make sure that they would consider essays written by kids in Santa Cruz County, and the answer was, yes!. Sixth-twelfth graders are invited to submit essays and have the chance to win cash prizes. Please see flyer for more information.