CRMS Update for 2/21/16

posted Feb 21, 2016, 10:24 PM by Marcy Reynolds

Dear CRMS Families,


*Writing Suggestions from Meg (see summary below)

*Project Presentation Planning & Research (see PPs below)

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

*Book Club: New Book TBA.


Writing Study Hall with Lou: Tuesdays, 2:30pm-4:00pm, at the Fall Creek office (aka The Annex). 

Math Study Hall with Aaron Shaw: Wednesdays, 2:15pm-4:00pm. 

Ukulele Club Meetings: Thursdays, 2:15pm-3:15pm, 3/3, 3/10, 3/17…

Book Club Meeting: Thursdays, 2:15pm-3:15pm, 3/24, 4/21, 5/19

Next CRMS Parent Meeting: Wednesday, 3/23, 2:15pm-3:30pm

Tech Museum Field Trip: Thursday, 2/25, 8:45am-3:30pm, $15 per person.  Please plan to drop off your student at 8:45am so that we can be on the road by 9:00am.  There will be no after school club meetings at CRMS this week because of the field trip.


Parent Meeting:  At our parent meeting everyone shared homeschooling breakthroughs and challenges.  Meg shared more about what she was doing with the kids on Thursday mornings with writing and was reassured that everyone was very happy with what the kids were doing with her.  We looked a bit at the class budget which is largely based on money fundraised in years past and I mentioned that I was looking into what educational field trips we might participate in that involve go-kart racing, since this is what the kids voted that they wanted to do to celebrate their Drive for Schools fundraising efforts.  We also considered the cost of our Headwaters field trip to Mt. Shasta.  The cost per person is $350.  We have already used some of our fundraised funds to pay the deposit, and we can use more, but if we spend it all on Headwaters, it still won’t cover it and will leave us nothing to pay forward.  I asked families to consider what they felt to be a reasonable cost to pay for the Headwater’s trip, which will run Monday-Friday and include all meals, lodging (in a teepee), food, and instruction.  Can families pay $300 for their child to participate?  $250?, $200?  Please take some time to think about it and let me know your feelings.


Headwaters:  I did talk with John Kiersted about the yearly trips he takes up there with his Nature Academy 6th grade class.  He suggested that kids may want to bring a tent or a tarp to rig up in the teepee, just in case the weather is very rainy.  He said that he has had beautiful, warm weather in April some years, and other years, snow and rain in late May.  All the kids will need a good sleeping bag (rated down to 15 degrees) and sleeping pad as well as all-weather clothing (raingear and warm clothing), sturdy hiking shoes, and a locking/straight knife.  I will be checking in about details with Headwaters director, Tim Corcoran, and will let you know what he says.  At the other program where I teach the kids learn knife skills using a safe and sturdy knife with a plastic handle and case that runs about $12.  If anyone is interested in these knives, I can take orders for them before the trip.  We’ve got a couple of months to work out details.  I just wanted to give you a heads-up so that if you need to borrow equipment, you have time to arrange that.  Several of our families have equipment that they might be able to loan kids who are attending.


Summary of Class Activities:


Circle Check-In:  In addition to sharing how they were doing physically and emotionally, the kids shared a stories of when a prejudice they had about a peer got debunked.


Weather Data Collection:  This week’s record-keepers were Brennen and Brylie.


Partner Bios:  The kids continued to interview each other and take notes.  Most started turning their notes into paragraphs describing their partner.


PE:Basketball: Carrie suggested shooting practice and a lay-up drill.  The kids did some running around, but mostly practiced shooting baskets.  Garvey will be leading the group this week.


Climate Science: We looked at possible answers to last week’s question and worked on making those answers more complete.  We reviewed the concept of water as a heat reservoir and watched a short video on the subject.  The kids worked in groups on a density lab, solving the mystery of which substances in balloons made them act the way they did in water.  After the lab we checked out a density simulation of our lab and tried out different combinations of liquids to check out the relative density.


Project Presentations:  Working in pairs, the kids planned their project presentations.  Several more kids chose dates and some got started on researching their subject.  Please help your child finish planning his/her presentation and begin working on the research/project at home.  I will be sending you an email with the specific dates your child has chosen for their pre-presentation meeting with me and their presentation to the class.

Globe Project:  The kids worked on painting their asteroids and moons.

Writing with Meg:  This week Meg introduced metaphors, similes and clichés in poetry.  She led the kids in an exercise to find fresh similes and images.  She encouraged the kids not to rhyme their poems, unless they wanted.  She introduced Haiku and gave them permission not to be too strict with the number of syllables.  As a group the kids came up with images from our very windy basketball play the day before.  They came up with some really evocative images and used those images to make their own Haiku poems.  Meg handed out some famous poems she collected into a packet for the kids to explore further.  Suggested Homework: Meg suggested that you and your children might want to read the packet of poems together:

“When reading the poems the kids and their guides might have fun looking for:  metaphor and simile, fresh verbs, rhyme scheme (or lack thereof), repetition, original detail from the poets' lives, and the poets' use of "writer's mind" (meaning the poets were mindful and wrote down the world around them).  They can also look up any words/phrases they've never seen with their guides.”

“…another LA assignment suggestion might be to have the kids write their own Haiku at home.  They have personal topic material in their journals if they've been able to write during class, but here are some other suggestions for topics: 

  • rain-soaked redwood trees
  • blossoms being blown around in the storm we just had
  • a recent trip to the beach
  • "Pizza Rat"
  • a politician (like Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump) “

Writing Study Hall with Lou:  The kids created a vocabulary list based on a photo, practiced using a Thesaurus, and wrote original stories.  Only two kids have shown up for the study hall the last two weeks.  Lou is hoping that more kids make it this Tuesday.


Gardening:  Renee came again bringing some donations of plants that kids had requested the week before.  Some of the kids worked with Renee to plant a dwarf peach tree, some strawberries, and two kiwi vines.  Another bed was reclaimed from the weeds and was enriched with compost.  Lou helped a group of kids weed the succulent garden and add another bag of gravel to the top (thanks for the donation, Katie!).  It is really great to have three adults supporting the kids working in the garden. Having Lou and Renee there allowed me to teach a group of kids how to inoculate logs with the mycelium plug spawn.  We got two logs inoculated, one with shiitakes, and one with oyster mushrooms.  We are using my drill and Justin’s family’s drill.  If any of you have a cordless drill, it would be great if we could borrow it so more kids could participate.


Book Club:  Andrea helped lead the kids from frustration to critique through a rich conversation about what they thought the author could have done to make Dragonflight easier to understand and more enjoyable.  The kids did choose new book for this month.  I’ll let you know what it is as soon as I hear from Andrea.


Wish List:

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

*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.  So far only three kids have brought power bills to class.  If you have them, please send them with your child so that I can see when we have enough to start the investigation.


*CO2 Meter:  I’m giving up on the carbon dioxide meter.  If one comes your way, I’d still love to borrow it.