CRMS Update for 3/18/16

posted Mar 18, 2016, 5:08 AM by Marcy Reynolds

Dear CRMS Families,

There is so many great community happenings today and tomorrow. Please take a moment to scroll down to the announcements to look at what you might be able to take advantage of today.  I hope you have a great weekend!


Marcy Reynolds


Electricity Use Homework:

Step 1:  Most of the kids got a start on filling out the Energy Use Analysis sheet and translating a month’s worth of electricity usage into appliance-on hours.  Please help your child finish this if they are working on their own bill, or, if they were using someone else’s bill to complete another sheet based on your latest power bill.  In class I had made cards showing how much power different appliances draw.  Since I didn’t have enough cards for everyone to take home, you can use a link such as the following as a guide:  If you have time, even better would be finding out how much power the specific appliances draw in your home and using that information to complete the analysis.

Step 2:  Gather up as many power bills that you can for the last year, fill in the kilowatt hours used each month and also the therms used (if you have natural gas) and then take an average for year (or for as many months as you find records).

The kids should all have the tally sheets in their binders, but some binders were left behind and some kids were absent, so I have scanned and attached them to this email.  Please have your child bring these completed sheets to class next week.  Thanks!

Writing Homework:  See “Writing with Meg”, below.


Month 7 Attendance due today!


After School Sports:

Boys' Volleyball tryouts begin 3/21 at 2:30.  Meet in the middle school gym dressed and ready to play.

6th/7th grade girls' softball tryouts begin 3/21 at 2:30.  Meet on the middle school softball field dressed and ready to play.

8th grade girls' softball tryouts begin 3/21 at 4:00.  Meet on the middle school softball field dressed and ready to play.

See Mr. Coulson (,  if you have questions about any after school sports.


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. 

CRMS Parent Meeting: Wednesday, 3/23, 2:15pm-3:30pm:  We’ll talk about spring testing, make decisions about allocation of fundraised funds, and check in about how things are going.

Book Club Meeting: Thursday, 2:15pm-3:15pm, 3/24:  It will be fun to hear what the kids have to say about Sky Jumpers.

Ukulele Club Meeting: Thursday, 3/31, 2:15pm-3:15pm: Budapest, Riptide, Don’t Worry, Be Happy. New songs to be sent out soon.


Summary of Class Activities:


Weather Data Collection:  Last week’s record-keeper was Brendan B.


Energy Usage Analysis:  Each student looked at a PG & E bill that they or another member of the class had brought. I showed them how to read the bill.  I explained Therms and Watts and we watched a short video explaining Watts:  The kids figured out how to translate the total kilowatt hours on the bill into appliance-on hours for different appliances.  Different math strategies were shared by different kids.  Most kids settled on dividing the appliance watts per hour by 1000 to convert into kilowatts, then dividing that number into the total kilowatt hours used for the month.  Some kids went a step further and divided that total by 24 to calculate the number of days the appliance would have to be constantly turned on to match the total electricity usage for the month.  The purpose of the homework is not only to help them understand their energy use, but also to practice doing the math calculations.  Even though many of the kids in our class do math every day, most don’t get enough practice applying that math to daily life.  For example, many kids were really surprised in converting their appliance watts per hour to kilowatts that the answer could be a decimal.


Writing with Meg: The kids started with a free-write, then Meg showed them to how to identify rhyme-schemes.  The kids practiced identifying the rhyming patterns in several poems.  In honor of St. Patty’s Day, Meg shared some characters from Irish mythology.  She then introduce limericks and gave a few examples.  Given the first line of a limerick and the kids worked in table groups to come up with the rest of it.  It was great to hear all the unique variations.  After each table group shared their limerick, a couple of kids also shared other writing that they had completed since our last meeting with Meg.  Optional Homework: Next week Meg is going to start story writing with the kids.  She suggested that it might be interesting if the kids learned about mythological characters from their own heritage which they might use as characters in their stories.


PE: The Fall Creek 5th graders joined us for a PE test-inspired work-out.  First Kacia led a warm-up, then the kids worked in partners doing curl ups, push-ups, shoulder stretch, trunk lift, and running one mile.  I encouraged the kids to use the data we collected as feedback on where they were strong and what they could work in the next couple weeks.  At the end of the month we’ll do it all again and the 7th graders can use their best scores out of the two for the official PE test results.  I gave a pep-talk about March being the heart of the school year, a time for striving to do one’s best in all areas to make maximum growth.


Climate Science: We delved into how relative density causes winds then combined what we had learned about convection currents in water and air with the water cycle to solve the mystery of the daily rains in Costa Rica.  As per the pep-talk above, I am really pushing the kids to explain their understanding in writing and out loud to each other.  They kids often think they understand concepts, but when they actually have to explain it in their own words, it becomes clear that there are often gaps in understanding.  I invite you go over the worksheets we have been using with your kids and encourage them to complete them, if they are only partially finished, and explain the concepts to you.


Mindfulness:  We practiced a couple minutes of mindful hearing and breathing.


Gardening:  Sheet mulching:  Thanks to Renee we got a donation and delivery of a truck-load of wood-chip mulch. Thanks to BJ and Evan we had a weed-wacker to use.   Most of the kids worked on cutting the weeds, laying down cardboard, shoveling and transporting the mulch, and spreading the mulch on the paths.  We got a good start on the project, but need more cardboard to continue.  If possible, please hold on to your larger pieces of cardboard and bring them to class next week.  Those who were not working on the sheet mulching project inoculated oak logs with oyster mushroom mycelium plug spawn or pruned roses.


Asteroid Project:  All asteroids, planets and moons are up and labelled with fact cards.


Celtic Knot Art:  In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, and because I think working with knots is so good for developing special intelligence, we did a cut-paper Celtic knot project as we listened to Irish music.  Most of the kids are part-way through the project.


Trout Project:  Those little alevin/fry are so elusive!  I couldn’t see any at the end of the day on Thursday.  I am trying not to worry, remembering the last time they disappeared when the eggs hatched.   We’re going forward as planned and assuming that the little fry are hiding in the gravel (as they should to protect themselves).  The field trip is all set up for Wednesday.  The class times will be regular, 9:30am-2:00pm.  We’ll spend the morning on the lake looking at natural history and working on nature photography.  In the afternoon we’ll release our fry with the ranger and help do some lake-water analysis.  Please fill out the three permission slips (sent in a previous email) and send them with your child on Wednesday.


Ukulele Club:  Budapest is really sounding good.  The kids started with Riptide which includes both strumming and picking sections.  In addition to these two songs, the kids took home Don’t Worry, Be Happy…inspiration for the new songs provided by Jeanette.  I will forward copies of these songs as soon as I get copies.  There will be no Ukulele Club meeting next week because of the Book Club. The kids decided that they wanted to meet on Thursday, 3/31 so they would have one more meeting before spring break. 


Wish List:

*Large pieces of cardboard for sheet mulching project.




Class Photos:  The class photos that were professionally taken at the beginning of the school year are available for purchase for $15.  If you are interested, please fill out the info and put the money in the envelope (by the entrance) and hand it to me.  I can give you the photo(s) immediately.


Capture the Flag at Quail Hollow Ranch: Friday, March 18, 10:30-12:30.  This monthly game is an SLV Homeschool tradition and is open to all Charter Homeschool Students.


Artivism (art & activism):  Friday, March 18, 6-9pm.  At the Art & History Museum downtown, hosted by MAH’s Teen Program.  Looks inspiring!


Monterey Bay Air Resources District Art Contest: Due Friday, March 18.  They are encouraging kids, grades 1-8 to submit 8”x10” drawings representing everyday pollution or wintertime pollution to be recognized during Clean Air Month in May.  More details are on the flyer on the counter near the front of the classroom.


Teen Peer Court Fundraiser: Saturday, March 19, 8:30am-12:30pm at the Santa Cruz Law Library.  I’ve spoken with many of you who have older kids about the great Teen Peer Court program in Santa Cruz where teens get to participate in all aspects of a teen-centered courtroom.  Well, the Santa Cruz Law Library is hosting a Scrabble tournament to raise money for the program.  The cost is $25 for adults to participate and is free for students grades 7-12.  For more information call (831) 420-2205 or email


Charter Homeschool Information Night: Tuesday, March 22, 6-7pm, SLV Middle School Library.  We love to have currently enrolled families show up to our info. night to share their experiences with interested families who might be nervous about making the leap into homeschooling.  If you know of a family who you think might be interested in homeschooling through our charter school next year, please encourage them to attend the information night and find out about our charter programs.


New Seed Co-op:  CRHS mom, Melanie Burgess and the teachers at Coast Redwood High School have started a garden seed co-op where you can donate extra seeds that you might have and take new seeds that you might like to try to grow. The Seed Co-Op operates on the honor system and is available to all Charter 25 families. When you CHECK OUT seeds you’ll be expected to COLLECT seeds and CONTRIBUTE seeds to The Seed Co-Op.  HOURS: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday,  8:30-9:30am and 12:30-1:30pm (Room P3 at CRHS on the SLV High School campus). Please contact with any questions. More info noted on the CRHS webpage under Seed Co-Op.