CRMS Update for 2/15/16

posted Feb 21, 2016, 8:58 PM by Marcy Reynolds

Dear CRMS Families,

I hope you are all enjoying this beautiful, sunny weather while we hope for the return of the rain!


Marcy Reynolds

Coast Redwood Middle School


Month 6 Attendance Paperwork Due: this Friday, 2/19. Non-Instructional Days: (no need to keep records): 2/8, 2/15



*Writing Suggestions from Meg (see summary below)

*Project Presentation Planning & Research (see PPs below)

*Ukulele: Practice strums and smooth chord changes.  Learn Budapest (attached).

*Book Club: Dragonflight.

*Knitting:  If your child is anywhere near finishing, let’s get the project finished!


Writing Study Hall with Lou: Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2:30pm-4:00pm, at the Fall Creek office (aka The Annex).  Last week Lou worked with the two students who showed up on a vocabulary game, writing strong sentences, paragraph structure, and the first draft of a 5-paragraph essay, all in 1.5 hours –Wow!  We hope you can make it this week.


Math Study Hall with Aaron Shaw: Wednesdays, 2:15pm-4:00pm.  If your child is tired of working on math at home alone, consider taking advantage of this math study hall.  It is a comfortable and quiet time to get work done in the company of peers.


CRMS Parent Meeting: Wednesday, 2/17, 2:15pm-3:30pm.  We’ll share homeschooling triumphs and challenges and discuss plans for the spring, including project presentations, annual testing, and our trip to Mt. Shasta.  We’ll meet up at the Nature Academy garden to leave the classroom free for the math study hall.


Book Club Meeting: Thursday, 2/18, 2:15pm-3:15pm.  It should be an interesting discussion this week!


Tech Museum Field Trip: Thursday, 2/25, 9am-3:30pm, $15 per person.  If you didn’t get a chance to get your child’s permission slip in last Thursday, but would still like to come, please email me with the following information:

*Name of student attending

*If you can drive, how many children (including your own) you can transport.

Then please send the permission slip and payment with your child this week.  Please make checks out to Rachel Trowbridge.  Thanks!


Other Semester 2 Dates (Please write these in your calendars, since I won’t be taking the space to include the whole list in every update):

*CRMS Parent Meetings: 2/17, 3/23, 4/28, 5/18

*Book Club Meetings: 2/18, 3/24, 4/21, 5/19

*Ukulele Club Meetings: 3/3, 3/10, 3/17…as the kids decide from there…

*Spring Break: 4/4-4/8

*Shasta Field Trip: 5/2-5/6

*CRMS Last Class: 5/19

*CRMS Promotion Ceremony & Celebration: 6/8, 11am-2pm

*Attendance Due Dates: 2/19, 3/18, 4/15, 5/13 & 6/9


Summary of Class Activities:


Circle Check-In:  In addition to sharing how they were doing physically and emotionally, the kids shared a favorite memory of looking at clouds.


Weather Data Collection:  Last week we started collecting weather data.  Each day one student will be the Record-Keeper of the Day, writing down temperature, wind, and cloud observations at the beginning and the ending of the school day.  If there is rain, they will also make a collection for the UC Irvine study.  I introduced the different cloud types and the kids will be using photos in a binder to remind them of the types when it is their turn to record.  Besides the names of the clouds, new concepts introduced were: phenology and baseline data.  The Record-Keeper of the Day will also be the Photographer of the Day.


Asking Questions:  The kids used the questions they had generated the week before in partner interviews.  They took notes on what their partners said.  This week we’ll be finishing up interviews and begin writing a bio for our partner to post on the classroom door.


PE:Basketball: Riley demonstrated how to throw baskets and introduced a shooting drill.  The kids practiced the drill on the courts in small groups after running through Faith’s dribbling and passing drills from the week before.  Carrie volunteered to be our student teacher for basketball this week.


Climate Science: Each group looked at the data they had collected from the week before on the difference in rate of heating and cooling of water and air.  They graphed their data and we saw that all the graphs showed the same trend, that water heats and cools more slowly than air.  The kids then applied this idea to locations on earth, comparing weather data in London, England and Voronezh, Russia.  If the two cities are at the same latitude, why such a difference in temperature?  Most of the kids were able to give a correct, if incomplete answer to this question.  This week we’ll investigate more what constitutes a complete answer and how to include supporting evidence.


Active Reading:  The kids also read a three paged article: The Ocean: A Giant Heat Reservoir.  I asked them to highlight key points and to circle any parts they found confusing or didn’t understand.  I encourage you to look at your child’s copy (in their binder). Some kids ended up highlighting the entire article.  It is not easy to pick out what is most important in a reading passage.  We will continue to work on critical reading strategies throughout the spring.


Project Presentations:  Working in pairs, everyone made significant progress on planning their project presentations.  It was impressive how focused the kids were.  They fully understood the task at hand and go to it.  Several of the kids were able to sign up for presentation dates.  We’ll work on it again this week and hope to get everyone on the calendar.

Globe Project:  We reviewed the location of the planets in the solar system, where the asteroid belt lies and the difference between and asteroid and a comet.  I showed the kids a video explaining how scientists actually see color in the asteroids:  Here is another article, if you are interested:  I challenged the kids to find out more information about their asteroid, including size, distance from the Earth and color.  The kids all worked online and several found interesting websites, but none were able to clearly identify their asteroid’s color.  Those few who have chosen to go forward with the project as conceived and make their globe into the earth also found some interesting information.  Nicole found a website that showed up to the moment world population data.  We were all impressed with how quickly people were being born (and dying)!

Writing with Meg:  This week Meg encouraged the kids to come up with a list of “obsessions” (things they keep thinking about, or really like) and to use this as a jumping off point for writing.  Then the kids did first thoughts writing about one of their obsessions.  She invited the kids to share out in the whole group, reminding them that they would not be critiqued.  Elizabeth shared a story she had been working on and added to during the first thoughts writing time.  As a creative and fun exercise, Meg asked the whole class to brainstorm lists of nouns and verbs and then encouraged each to make up unusual sentences through mixing and matching the words in unusual ways.  The kids shared these with each other in their table groups. Suggested Homework: She encouraged the kids to get into “writer’s mind” sometime during the week, taking time to pay close attention to their environment, their senses and their feelings and to write about what they experience in that moment.


Gardening:  The last group collected data on their lettuces and we harvested the lettuces before they bolted.  Thanks to all of you who sent food for our salad potluck!  I’d like to say that on Thursday there were 22 children happily munching on home-grown lettuce salad, but it is more accurate to say that there were about 6.  It turns out we don’t have that many lettuce fans in the group, and those who were on the fence were turned off by seeing how intimate critters and dirt were with the lettuce as they harvested it (before thorough washing).  It was a great reminder of how sanitized our world has become.


Also in garden news… the kids met Renee, from Mt. Feed & Farm Supply in Ben Lomond ( who has offered to help out in the garden and teach the kids a thing or two.  Renee secured the donation and delivery of a tote of compost from the Mt. Feed store and several kids worked with her to spread it on the beds.  If you happen to go into Mt. Feed and see Jorah or Andi ( please take a moment to thank them for supporting the Coast Redwood Middle School garden project with their donations!


More garden news… I was successful in securing a donation of mushroom plug spawn from Fungi Perfecti in Washington state so that we can inoculate our logs and begin edible mushroom cultivation.  I’d love to borrow some drills and drill bits for the project (please see wish list below).  Thanks!


Ukulele Club:  Thanks to all who participated in the Ukulele Club last Thursday!  The kids are making great progress with their club.  Last week Elizabeth led the group in the chorus of Lava and the kids really stayed focused, working out some discrepancies and sounding more unified than ever before.  With the help of her sister Elli, Jeanette typed up the lyrics and chords for Budapest.  We watched a Youtube video of someone singing and playing the song and Elizabeth added “G” chords where she felt they were missing.  Our biggest challenges are staying in rhythm while strumming and smooth chord changes.  Elli suggested strumming one chord for a long time before switching.  We tried this and it seemed to help…until everyone got tired.  There will be no Uk. Club this week and next week because of the book club and field trip. Please practice Budapest (Jeanette’s music attached) to prepare for our next Uk. Club meeting on 3/3. 


Wish List:

*Cordless Power Drills and 5/16” drill bits for inoculating oak logs with mushroom plug spawn this Thursday.

*Two pallets to raise mushroom logs off the ground.

*One parent to be present at the math tutoring while I’m involved in staff meeting on 2/24. 

*Parent Helpers Needed: 3/2, 3/23, 3/24, 5/12

*Snacks Needed the Weeks of: 4/20 & 5/12


*Please keep ahold of your power bills for this month, and for the months to come.  If you still have them, it would be great if you could set aside your bills since September.  In class, your child will be learning to read and understand the bills and will use the information as a jumping off place for understanding power usage across the globe.


*CO2 Meter:  Ever since the summer I’ve been asking every place that I can think of who might have a carbon dioxide meter available to loan if we can borrow one.  So far no luck.  So I thought I’d ask you…do any of you know someone (business or individual) who might have one or more CO2 meter(s) that they’d be willing to loan us for a couple of observations?



Friday, Feb. 19~All Charter Skate Day.  I’m sorry I don’t have any details on this.  I will let you know as soon as I know.