CRMS Update for 11/16/14

posted Nov 30, 2014, 6:54 PM by Marcy Reynolds

Dear Coast Redwood Middle School Families,

Dates to Remember:

*Your Child’s Project Presentation Due Date!

*Tuesday, Nov. 18: Last chance to vote in Doodle Poll for field trip beginning and ending times.

*Thursday, Nov. 20: Gazos Creek field trip permission slips and payment due to Marcy.

*Nov. 26-28:  Thanksgiving Holiday, No Classes.

*Wednesday, Dec. 3: Field Trip with Tim Corcoran to Gazos Creek State Beach. (See Field Trip below)

*Thursday, Dec. 4, 1:45pm-2:45pm: Next CRMS Parent Meeting.


No homework this week (apart from working on project presentations) J.

Marcy’s Availability:

I’m noticing that it is difficult for me to schedule meetings after class on Wednesdays and Thursdays because that is a time when I need to touch base with parents and students about things that come up that day.  I have meetings scheduled with some of you this week.  Let’s go ahead with those, but after this week, I would like to schedule meetings with families on Monday and Tuesday afternoons.  If you’d like to schedule a meeting, but you can’t make either of these times, please let me know.  I’m sure we can find another time.  I will be sharing a Google Doc meeting schedule with you that shows available times for December.  If you haven’t met with me since our first meeting in Aug./Sept., please sign up for a time.  I’d like to check in with you before the holidays.

Fridays…I teach a field program on Fridays, and so am virtually unreachable on that day.  Please know that if you leave me a message on Friday I may not be able to get back to you until the weekend or following Monday.  If you need to talk to someone right away, please contact Holly or Rhonda at the Charter Office.  Thanks for your understanding.


The basket of organic apples is working out great!  Thanks to all… and to Sara for filling our drinking water containers.

Project Presentations:

We heard our first project presentations this week on Lemon Sharks, the Brookdale Lodge, and Pirates.  All were informative and engaging; the kids did a great job.  Thanks to Erin W., Erin I. & Henry for being willing to go first!  Each child had completed a project as well as researching their subject and organizing a presentation.  I was most impressed by the depth of knowledge that each of them had about their subject.  This depth of knowledge really showed when they answered questions from the audience and referred to information that they hadn’t included in their formal presentation.  Before the first presentation we went over the evaluation rubric as a class in detail.  The audience did a great job of noting strengths and areas of growth on the rubric as they listened to each presentation, sharing what they thought was done well with the presenter at the end.  I have sent home a self-reflection sheet with each of the presenters to complete, using the rubric as a guide.  Please have your child bring the self-reflection sheet back to class so when I meet with him/her one-on-one  we can use the reflection sheet as a starting point for celebrating achievements and discussing strategies for improvement.

Class Newspaper:

Please send submissions to Traci-lin.  Her email address is:

Field Trip:

So far five parents have expressed their preferences for beginning and ending times for our field trip to Gazos Creek State Beach on 12/3.  If you have a preference, please vote by this Tuesday at:   I will emailing a permission slip to you this Wednesday that will need to be returned to me this Thursday since we will have no classes the week of Thanksgiving. I’ll be arranging carpools on Monday, 11/24 and will get the information out to you soon afterward.  December might seem far away, but it is just around the corner!

Casa Nostra Fund Raiser:

So far everyone who voted (4 parents) can make it on Tuesday, Jan. 13.  I know it is a long time in the future, but if you can see your way to January, please cast a vote at:

Summary of Last Week:

Math:  Following up on the homework, the kids each shared their strategies for figuring out 65% of 2 oz. with their six table-mates.  It is hard to explain how you figured something out to someone else.  The kids did a good job.  Special thanks to Crystal (parent helper on Wednesday) for helping me help the kids articulate their reasoning.  In the discussion afterward many kids said they didn’t understand the other kids’ reasoning.  Digging a little deeper, it turns out they understood how the kids got to their total ounces of alcohol needed, but they didn’t understand how that would translate into actually measuring the alcohol.  It was at this point that we followed up with an activity on equivalent volume.  Using precision tools acquired from the dollar store, the kids at each table took turns measuring and writing down volume equivalents for water (e.g. how many quarts per gallon, pints per quart, cups per pint, etc.).  This week we’ll compare each of the table’s results, and adjust the amounts on the grid to reflect a standardized measure.  Then the kids will translate volume into weight (pounds and ounces).  Once we do this we’ll be ready to make our hand sanitizer.  Please feel free to follow up this lesson at home, reinforcing how many cups to a pint, tablespoons to a cup, teaspoons to a tablespoon as you may be cooking or doing other household tasks.  Some of the kids did not know the difference between a pint jar and a quart jar, so some reinforcement would definitely be welcome.

Honoring Veterans:  During our circle sharing time the kids shared the names of people in their family who served in the military.  Almost every child knew someone in their family who was a veteran.  One of the students in the class had requested that we say the Pledge of Allegiance.  So we discussed the history of the Pledge and how it had changed over time.  We also discussed different interpretations of the meaning of the Pledge and why some people think it is against their beliefs to say it.  After all the discussion those who felt comfortable saying the pledge did so, in the customary style, while those who didn’t stood respectfully.

Criteria for Life:  This week our discussion led into the subject of when it is OK to kill or harm.  As a group we discussed different belief systems as cultures around the world grapple with this question, trying to live ethically.  I took points from their writing the week before and turned them into questions.  The kids stood on either side of a line of tape on the floor.  I would make a statement, “It is OK to kill if __________”.  Those who agreed with the statement would step up to the line.  After each statement I asked the kids to look around and see where their classmates stood.  After about eight statements I asked the kids to write about what they noticed about themselves, what they noticed about the group, and how it felt to either choose with the majority or not.  Their reflections are quite thoughtful and show true concern for the issue.  This week we’ll look more closely at the tree of life and consider how much the type of organism matters in how we feel about harming/taking life.

Photography:  Thanks to Viviana for guiding the entire group through indoor and outdoor photography throughout the last several weeks!  Now the kids are off and running with the photography.  I will be encouraging them to pick up a camera to shoot photos at various times of the day.  Kids are also welcome to bring cameras from home, but for the photos to be eligible to go in the yearbook they need to be uploaded to Google Photos (in their Google Plus account).  The student who is the subject of the photograph always has the final say about whether a photo of them will be published or shared.

Ceramics: We got a start on glazing our mugs and will finish this week.

P.E.: Thanks to Kacia for leading P.E. with the kids one more time.  They stretched and then played Ultimate Frisbee while the other half of the class worked on photography.  The kids also played Banana Tag (by popular vote) and some played on the field at lunch as well.

Mindfulness: We did do our 30 seconds of mindful breathing this week.


Wish List:

*Cat repellant for the garden beds next to the classroom.  We’re hoping to encourage the resident cats to find another location for their litter box.

*Ongoing:  Sturdy shoe boxes with lids to allow for the transport of delicate items from the ceramics studio to the classroom and back.


Thanks to All!

Marcy Reynolds

Coast Redwood Middle School

(831) 512-9331.