CRMS Update for 11/22/14

posted Nov 30, 2014, 6:55 PM by Marcy Reynolds

Dear Coast Redwood Middle School Families,

Dates to Remember:

*Your Child’s Project Presentation Due Date!

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

*Sometime over the holiday week:  Volume-weight reinforcement (See Homework below)

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

*Thursday, Dec. 4: Herb Reports Due (See Homework below)

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

*Thursday, December 11: Science Fair applications due to me (or you can turn them in to Amber’s box at the Charter Office by 12/12).  (See shared letter and application in Google Drive)


*Top priority are the Project Presentations.  I cannot reschedule any of the reports because we are coming up against the winter holidays.  If you need a reminder of when your child is scheduled to present, please let me know.

*Medicinal Herb Report:  I have asked the kids to each write a one-page fact-sheet on one medicinal herb.  I have attached a list to this email which shows name of the herb that I would like each child to research.  Your child’s fact sheet should be written in their best handwriting on an 8 ½” x 11”, unlined sheet of paper.  It is fine if you child draws straight lines with a ruler under the areas where they will be writing.  The main portion of the page will be occupied by a drawing of the plant.  If you have the plant growing at home, your child can make their drawing based on that, otherwise they can use an internet photo to draw from.  All parts of the plant that are used as medicine should be illustrated.  The drawing should preferably be done using colored pencil.  If you don’t have the supplies to accurately capture the color, then plain pencil can be used.  Please encourage your children to draw what they actually see instead of drawing what they imagine.  The common name should be written at the top of the page, and underneath, the Latin name.  Keep in mind that in a Latin (scientific) name, the first word will start with a capital letter (Genus name) and the second word (species name) will not.  Around the drawing of the plant details about its medicinal use should be listed.  The focal point of the page is the drawing.  If there is room on the page, your child can include where the plant originates from or any other interesting details.  They should glean their information from at least three reliable sources, cross-referencing to see if the sources agree.  At the bottom of the page they should write a “by line”.   I have attached a photo of the example I drew on the board to give you an idea of how it will look.  After the kids have created them, I would like to post the fact-sheets on the walls in the room, so please have your child draw large and write large enough that their writing can be read from 4 feet away (letters ¼’ tall).

In addition to learning about medicinal herbs, practicing researching information, evaluating the credibility of information, organizing information in a way that is clear and visually appealing, and making close observations, this project also encourages the kids to practice their drawing skills.  Please have your child take their time and do a beautiful job.  Starting on 12/4, the kids will be applying these drawing skills to making a silk painting of their medicinal plant.  They’ll want to have some good practice under their belts before they attempt to “draw” with silver wax-paint from a tube for the silk painting project.  It will take 2-3 weeks to finish the silk paintings.  Starting in the new year April (and any of you who like to sew) will be helping the kids sew their herb paintings into a class quilt.

*Volume-Weight Equivalencies Chart: To reinforce what we did in class, please have your child complete the Liquid Volume Equivalents Chart (attached) a second time.  The kids worked with their table mates, and then as a whole group to complete one in class. Your child should have his/her copy in his/her binder.  I would like each child to try to complete it again on their own with only the use of their brain and a calculator.  They can check their work against the work we did in class after they are finished.  Please start them out by providing them the information for one line (e.g.1pint=2 cups=16 oz.=1 lb.).  Hopefully, without much prompting from you, the kids will remember that they need to multiply to find equivalents for larger quantities and to divide to find equivalents to smaller quantities.  Most of the kids were getting the hang of it by the end of class, but the learning is still new and needs to be reinforced through repetition.  Thanks!

Marcy’s Availability:

I’ll be on campus Monday and Tuesday afternoons this week, feel free to give me a call or send an email if you have any questions.  Monday and Tuesday are official school days, so you’ll need to keep track of learning activities for those days.

Town Hall Meeting: 

Thanks to all who made it to the Town Hall Meeting.  Our request for $300 to help with the cost of yearbooks was approved!

Field Trip:

We’ve got 17 kids confirmed to attend the field trip to Gazos Creek on Wednesday, Dec. 3.  So far we have enough committed carpool support from Ann, Sandy, Kira, Larry and Marcy which would provide rides for 16 kids.  We have a couple of other parents who are checking to see if they might be able to help with the driving and will (hopefully) let me know by Monday, 12/1.  That Monday I will send drivers the list of students they will be transporting and directions to Gazos Creek from school.  I think I’d like to drive through Bonny Doon; it should take about 45 minutes to get there.   

Graffiti Removal Opportunity:

This might be a fun community service opportunity for the kids, and may be especially interesting for those who attended CRMS last year since we studied graffiti.  Here is the letter from Magi Ruiz, introducing the project:



My name is Magi Ruiz, I am the volunteer coordinator of a non-profit organization called the Graffiti Removal Project. We remove graffiti from the unincorporated areas of Santa Cruz County, free of charge. Recently, we have been trying to reach out more to the San Lorenzo Valley area as well as youth. I was hoping you could help me out with this. If you could pass along information about our organization to students, and even parents, I would really appreciate it. 


Here is a link to our page on the Santa Cruz Volunteer Center website:


Our next upcoming volunteer opportunity for youth is going to be a group paint out under Graham Hill Rd. by the Covered Bridge Park in Felton on December 13th from 10 AM to 12 PM. We are also having a fundraiser night at Woodstock's Pizza in downtown Santa Cruz on December 18h from 5 PM-9PM.


If you have any questions about our organization please contact me at 831-427-0462 or


Magi Ruiz
Graffiti Removal Project 

Volunteer Coordinator

Summary of Last Week:

Project Presentations:  This week we heard presentations on Ice Cream (Makayla), Money (Justin), and Comics (Julian).  All the kids did a great job.  If your child presented this week, please help them remember to fill out their self-reflection sheet so that I can meet with them about it when we return from the Thanksgiving holiday. 

Math:  We looked at the data that the kids came up with the week before when they measured volume equivalencies with water.  We discussed possible reasons for the discrepancies and then launched in to figuring out weight equivalencies for the volumes.  This was pretty tricky for most of the kids, but by the end, when we discussed it with the whole class, they began to see the pattern.  Thanks for reinforcing this learning at home!  We will be taking it to its final application (at least for now) when we return and make our hand sanitizer.

Writing Instructions:  The kids tested out the instructions they wrote for their clean-up jobs by having another child read them and follow them without any other help.  Once the kids recognized the necessary information that they left out of the instructions, they added it, did a final edit on their drafts, typed them on the computer, and shared them with me via Google Drive.  Thanks to Kira for helping to support the writers!

Ethics:  We discussed how specific circumstances make a difference in determining whether it is OK to harm/kill another living being.  Here are some the kids felt mattered to them: the plant/animal is endangered, it is needed for survival, more suffering my come by not killing, it is a “lower/higher” life form, it is a mammal, it is a vertebrate, it could potentially cause harm, it has already caused harm, it is being harmed for medical vs. other scientific research.  Based on specific scenarios, the kids made their own continua of when they felt it was more OK or less OK to harm/kill.  Your child should have this in their binder.  Feel free to ask them to show you their continuum and discuss it.

Garden:  Despite the rain Bruno got out in the garden with the kids on Thursday.  Now that they’ve gotten a lot of surface weeds out of the way, they noticed the depth of the Bermuda Grass problem.  It is growing underneath the gopher wire in the beds and will continue to be a problem unless we rebuild the beds.  The beds were also build to be very shallow which is not optimal.  We’re looking at the possibility of rebuilding some of the beds with the thought of wanting to do things well, while at the same time knowing that we may only be able to use the garden for a year (since it is on loan to us from the Middle School).  If we do go ahead and rebuild some of the beds it would be great to have a few more parents (with tools) to help support the kids in doing this project.  Any volunteers?  The next time we’ll be working in the garden will be Thursday, Dec. 4.

Botany/Plant Medicines:  The kids were shown the difference between herbs, shrubs and trees.  I mentioned that no matter how a plant is botanically classified, if it is used medicinally, herbalists would call it an herb.  The kids chose one of four medicinal herbs to tape to a piece of paper, extract color from, draw, and describe.  This was a warm up for their medicinal herb fact-sheet homework.

Ceramics: The kids glazed their mugs and they are in the fire right now.

P.E.: Thanks to Zack for leading P.E. with the kids!  The kids (and I) had a blast playing “Ultimate Soccer” in the rain!  Those who didn’t want to play, had the challenge of photographing in the rain.

Wish List:

*Tan Bark to cover the soil strips in front of our classroom.


Thanks to All!

Marcy Reynolds

Coast Redwood Middle School

(831) 512-9331.