CRMS Update for 3/1/15

posted Mar 1, 2015, 9:36 PM by Marcy Reynolds

Dear CRMS Families,

Dates to Remember:

Math Tutoring:  Wednesdays, 1:45pm-3:00pm. We’ve had the great fortune to add our Charter Math teacher, Joe Paine to our Math tutoring sessions.  Last week there were two students who both received one-on-one tutoring for the entire time.

WASC Visit, March 8-10.  Some of you might see the WASC committee members as they visit all the charter school sites during this two-day window.  It will be a great chance for us to show how close collaboration between parents, teachers and students creates a truly rich educational environment.

Parent Meeting, Thursday, 3/12/15, 1:45pm-3:00pm.  This will be a great time for us to get together to talk about how homeschooling is going, share ideas, check in on class projects, and make decisions about spring activities and allocation of funds.  We’ll also talk about our participation in the state-mandated testing coming in April & May.  I look forward to seeing you there.

California Academy of Sciences Field Trip Thursday, 3/26/15Marin Headlands, Wednesday, 3/25/15.


Summary of the week:

Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum:  I was very impressed by how our tour guides led us through the museum, keeping our attention through every moment.  At the end, I only wish we could have stayed longer to look at all the fascinating Ancient Egyptian artifacts.  At that point, we were given free passes to come back!  Your child should have their free pass, a postcard, and a little note book from the museum, if you’d like to follow up with more study.

Neuroscience:  I asked the kids to write a creative story that described what their day at Coast Redwood Middle School might be like if they were the animal the they studied.  This was a fun project and most of the kids go into it, though it was tougher for the worms.  How would you experience the world if you had the nervous system of that animal?  What would you see, hear, touch, smell, feel?  It is hard to take on such a different perspective and the kids came up with some creative stories as they tried.  Everyone (who was willing) shared their story and their research.  We’ve got about 1/3 of the class left who will present this week.  If you know your child is a little behind on the project, please encourage them to finish.  Some of  those who were finished may want to look further into their critter since new questions might have arisen from the activities we did Thursday.  The kids really enjoyed hearing about each other’s animals and the amazing things that they can do.  We also got to spend some time acting out our animals.

Plant Medicines:  Molly gave us an introduction to plant extraction methods used to make herbal medicines. I taught 1/3 of the group how to make decoctions and infusions including using a triple-beam scale, hotplate, and measuring volume in a graduated cylinder.  I’ve been able to collect most of the herbs that the kids’ studied, so they can make an extract of “their” herb.  Once we have all our extracts ready, we’ll be testing their effects on the nervous system of invertebrates.  The herbal teas and decoctions were quite fragrant, so when I do the project again with the rest of the kids, I’ll make sure to save it for the end of the day.  If you’d like to reinforce vocabulary we used, here it is:




Primary metabolites

Secondary metabolites








Garden:  Molly facilitated gardening with 2/3 of the kids while I was inside with 1/3 of the kids making extracts.  The kids continued to weed and planted some medicinal herb, flower and veggie seeds.  I am working on securing more medicinal herb seed so that most kids, if not all, will be able to plant the herb they studied and see it grow all the way from seed to harvestable medicine (next year, or in two years).

Mindfulness:  Each week we’ve been dedicating a couple of minutes to mindful breathing practice.  I hope soon to link it to what we are learning about the brain.


Wish List:

65cm Gymnastik Balls (or similar).   We have one and it works out really well as a seat for far-side computer use because it is comfortable and can roll completely under the table to create a clear path.  I thought some of you might have one or two that you’re not using right now that I could borrow for the rest of the year.  I’d like three more.  They are fun for indoor P.E., too.

Industrial Sewing Machine (and someone who knows how to use it).  One of our heavy pillows has a seam rip.




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.


Baskin Girls in Engineering Program at Cabrillo College

Cabrillo College is offering an exciting summer day-camp opportunity for middle school girls who want to learn more about engineering. Open to girls currently in 5th, 6th, or 7th grade, Baskin Girls in Engineering @ Cabrillo College is free to participants and introduces the student to all areas of engineering through hands on projects and team work. This program is made possible by a generous grant from the Peggy and Jack Baskin Foundation. We are pleased to offer this week-long program July 27 - 31, 2015 on the Cabrillo Campus in Aptos.


The online application process opens on March 2nd and will fill quickly. Click here for more information about this wonderful program:


See you Wednesday!

Marcy Reynolds

Coast Redwood Middle School

(831) 512-9331