Welcome! It’s great to be back for our second year at Seabury Middle School. For new parents (welcome!), these Friday emails will be a weekly update of what we’ve been working on and what’s coming up at Seabury.

No School Monday

Don’t forget, Monday, Sept. 6 is Labor Day! Enjoy the long weekend, and we’ll see you Tuesday morning.

Help SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted) help families!

Vote here daily.

France trip feasibility meeting You should have all received an e-mail from Mr. G about a meeting next week, Thursday Sept. 9 at 6 p.m. to discuss the feasibility of a France trip this spring.

At the meeting, you’ll hear a little about the research we’ve done, details of the tour we’ve chosen and deadlines involved. We will also take parent feedback at this meeting.

Seabury Middle School Vancouver Trip 2010

Greetings Middle School Families,

Here is some important information regarding our upcoming trip to Vancouver.

We will be leaving Tuesday, September 28 at 8:30 and returning Friday, October 1 by 3:00.

IMPORTANT- NEEDED FOR BORDER CROSSING:

Children: Beginning June 1, 2009, U.S. and Canadian citizen children under age 16 arriving by land or sea from contiguous territory may also present an original or copy of his or her birth certificate, a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, a Naturalization Certificate, or a Canadian Citizenship Card.

We will also need written consent from each parent-we’ll arrange for that the week before we leave.

Itinerary:

Tuesday, September 28:

Leave MS at 8:30 am

Travel to Vancouver- sack lunch (student provided)and break along the way.

Check into- Best Western Kings Inn Burnaby Hotel (5411 Kingsway, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, V5H 2G1 Phone: 604-438-1383 Toll-Free: 1-800-211-1122 Email: info@bestwesternkingsinn.com

Visit Tilopa Buddhist Centre and talk to gen Kelsang Delek about the tenants of Buddhism

Down time/Dinner

Walking tour of China Town

Wednesday, September 29:

Breakfast at hotel

Travel to Playland Amusement Park for Science and Physics day.

Meet with the Imam at Zawiyah Foundation

Down time/ Dinner

Evening activity TBD

Thursday, September 30

Breakfast at hotel

Visit Stanley Park totem poles

Travel to Xa:ytem Cultural Center

Travel Back to Vancouver

Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden – Tai Chi lesson

Down time/ Dinner

Evening activity TBD

Friday, October 1

Breakfast at hotel

Visit Stanley Park

Depart for Tacoma

Arrive Seabury Middle School approximately 3 p.m.

Integrated Studies

This semester we will be launching a study of cultural universals and comparative religion.

Cultural universals are elements of culture that meet the basic needs of people, and are found in most cultures. Comparative religion is a field of religious studies that analyzes the similarities and differences of themes, myths, rituals and concepts among the world’s religions. Religion can be defined as the human notions regarding the sacred, numinous, spiritual and divine.

Throughout this study, students will examine how religion has influenced culture and discern when culture is more indicative of factors other than religion.

In our study of comparative religions, it will be stressed that as a school we will not advocate or oppose any religious beliefs but rather we will study the tenets of each faith as scholars. We will compare, contrast and analyze the basic tenants of each religion and synthesize that information with our study of cultural universals.

We strive to line up as many authentic experiences for the students as possible. So far we have some very informative trips and speakers scheduled. On September 14 the students will travel to the Islamic Center of Tacoma where they will meet with a representative of Islam. She will share information about her faith and invite the students to watch their afternoon prayer. September 22, we will be traveling to Temple Beth-El, a Jewish synagogue and meet with Rabbi Kadden. He is planning to discuss Jewish festivals and ceremonies after giving the students a tour of the temple. We are in the process of scheduling a visit to a Hindu Mandir in Kent, a visit to the Center for Spiritual Living in Tacoma and a Buddhist temple and Urban Grace Church in Tacoma.

In Vancouver we will meet with a teacher of Buddhism at the Tilopa Center with a focus on a class called “Dharma for Teens”. We are also scheduled to meet with an Imam at the Zawiyah Foundation. We will include First Nations spiritual beliefs as we tour the Xa:ytem Longhouse Cultural Center.

The first book we’ll read aloud to the students is called, Does My Head Look Big in This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah. In the book a young Muslim girl decides to wear the hijab, the Muslim head scarf, full time while attending a rich prep school in Australia. It chronicles her journey as she navigates prejudice, faith, culture, family and the power of friendship. It is a book that will help students understand the difference, yet interconnectedness between religion and culture, in a protagonist they can relate to.

If your family has any particular religious or cultural backgrounds that you would be willing to come in a share with the students we’d love to talk with you.

Math

Math started this week with a pretest to place students in appropriate groups. On Friday morning, we met in our new groups and dove right in to begin instruction.

Science

Because our theme for the year is Perspectives, we began Science this week with a discussion of how that theme might apply to our study of Science. We used the example of a chicken and talked about all the different kinds of scientists who would be interested in a chicken and what their various perspectives would be. We also read an article by Dr. Yakelis from the PLU Chemistry department about how a chemist sees the world. In the future, we’ll be examining and experimenting with substances from the perspectives of different sciences.

About Halley Knigge

Twenty-something and enthusiastic: freelance writer and independent school flak living in Tacoma, Wash.
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