Monthly Archives: January 2010

The nitty gritty: Our snowshoeing trip has been rescheduled for this coming Tuesday, February 2nd! We’ll be heading up no matter the weather this time. We’ll be watching the avalanche news closely to see whether we’ll be able to make it up to the exact spot on the Nisqually River we saw in September. If that’s not safe, we’ll do some snowshoeing around Longmire.

First Semester Report Cards will be coming out this Tuesday, Feb 2nd. This year, report cards will be sent to you electronically as a pdf file. If you’d prefer to receive a paper copy, please let us know and we’ll be happy to get you one.

English: We have started a literature study of the book “Dragonwings,” by Lawrence Yep. This book chronicles a young boy’s move from China to San Francisco at the turn of the century to live with his father. The book is a Newbery Honor Book, written in 1975.

For our next Independent Reading Book (IRB), students are selecting a biography to read. At the Tacoma Library yesterday, students began their search for a biography. Selections need to be made by Tuesday, February 2nd.

Social Studies: On Monday, we will be going up to the Tacoma Public Library to meet with two librarians from the Northwest Room to gain access to resources on the topics they have chosen to research. This will be first of many visits and the students will need to have their library cards with them every day, starting Monday.

Service Learning: Last Tuesday, we made the first of many visits to the Franke Tobey Jones Retirement Community. Twenty residents gathered with our students in the Lilly Pratt Room. Lee Fischer introduced the Seabury Middle School students to the assembled group and then the students read their This I Believe In essays.

Afterwards, students sat with one or two residents and initiated a conversation / interview. What a great job the students did! At the end of our time, I spoke with numerous residents who were very complimentary of their time with the students and were eager to meet with us again! As we boarded the bus back to school, the conversation was all about the conversations they had had with residents.

Earlier, we spent considerable time working with the students to prepare them for this experience – developing interview questions, conducting mock interviews, discussing how to interact with an elderly population, the importance of speaking loudly and being patient, and how to handle difficult / unexpected situations.

The students did a fantastic job of interacting with the residents we were quite proud of the integrity with which they approached this activity. We will make our second visit on Friday, February 5th.

Check your e-mail early next week for pictures from this visit.

Math: Math instruction this week has been moving along rapidly, and all of our math groups are on track to finish their books by the end of the year. Some topics studied by various math groups this week have included dividing by decimals, the Pythagorean Theorem and distance on the coordinate plane, proportional and nonproportional relationships.

Science: There have been three projects going on in Science this week. First, students having been refining their Micro-g experiments to make sure that they are creative and yet still conform to the rules of the project. Those will get sent in to NASA by Feb 19th.

It’s Science Fair time! This year, we worked together with the students to identify the various steps of the project and then set reasonable due dates along the way. Being able to take a large task and break it up into smaller tasks is an important study skill that will serve these guys well in the future!

The date for the Science Fair this year is March 4th, and it will be held at the lower school campus. The South Sound Regional Science Fair is Saturday, March 27th at Pacific Lutheran University, and we’re going to be encouraging as many students as we can to attend this year. Like last year, each Science class will also be conducting an experiment as a group to present at the Science Fair. More details to come…

The nitty gritty: A big THANK YOU to everyone who stopped by our Open House last night, donated snacks or donated their students to serve as tour guides. Parents continue to be our best spokespeople on what sets Seabury apart, so keep up the good work on spreading the word to any potential “Seabury kids” you may come across.

Thank you to all students who volunteered their time to support the Middle School’s Open House last night. It is a true compliment that so many students were eager to share their school with others!

We continue to collect money to donate to aid in Haiti. The donation jar lives on the front desk at the Middle School.

Parents should have received a flier via e-mail for Monday’s “Library Talk” with Head of School Sandi Wollum. Pass it along, or stop by the Middle School yourselves at 7 p.m. to hear her speak on “Educating Our Children for Life.”

We also have have one more open house coming up next Thursday, Jan. 28 at the Lower School!

English: This week, students turned in their book reviews of their literature selections for December. We will be focusing on biographies for January.

Social Studies: We will be wrapping up our readings of early Tacoma history next week and students will be choosing topics for their independent research project.

Service Learning: Next Tuesday, we will make our first visit to the Franke Tobey Jones Retirement Community to meet with residents. During this introductory visit, students will be paired up with several residents and share their “This I Believe” essays. Students will then initiate the first of several interviews as part of an oral history project.

We have been working with Lee Fisher, Co-Founder of the Seabury School who is a resident at Franke Tobey Jones. She has been instrumental in the development of this project and we are very appreciative of her continued involvement in the School!

We will spend considerable time in school preparing students for these visits so that they are able to effectively communicate with an elderly population as well as leading an activity. The Seabury Middle School will be establishing a long term relationship with the residents at the Franke Tobey Jones Retirement Community and we will be making visits there on regular for the rest of the school year and beyond.

We heard there were a few tears over break when parents heard the “This I Believe” essays their students wrote this fall – those essays are now posted on our Web site if you’d like to read what other parents heard last month. Read them here.

We have begun a school-wide penny drive for Haiti earthquake relief. Donations can be made at the Lower School or Middle School.

Don’t forgot our upcoming open houses! We have two coming up next Thursday, Jan. 21 from 9:30 – 11 a.m. and 5 – 8 p.m. at the Middle School campus. We also have two Lower School open houses coming up: one from 9-11 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 22 and one from 6-7:30 p.m. Jan. 28.

Please spread the word! I attached the Middle School open house flier to the weekly e-mail for you to forward along to friends and neighbors, in addition to a flier for an upcoming library talk by Head of School Sandi Wollum.

English: This week, students reviewed their past vocabulary words (we are up to 140 words) by using 8 words in a well constructed series of paragraphs. The results have been humorous, cleaver, rambling, and intriguing!

Social Studies: We have been reading from the book, “South On The Sound”. Students will be reading chapter 2 at home this weekend.

Math: Instruction continued this week with subjects including graphing algebraic equations, the Pythagorean Theorem and distances on the coordinate plane, and ordering and rounding decimals. We also took the January Continental Math League test this week! Results were very positive!

Science: Students continued to work on constructing their Micro-g experiments this week. We’ve worked hard on making them more creative while also confronting a few issues that micro-gravity brings up. For example, putting water in a cup is problematic in micro-gravity, as is dropping a weight on a packet of ketchup.

Open Houses: We need your assistance with recruitment! Parents are the best spokes people for the school – you can describe the school and its programs most intimately.

We are holding a middle school open house for prospective families on January 21 from 9:30-11 a.m. and another from 5-8 p.m. during Artwalk.

We are asking parents to reach out and invite families who you think might be interested in having their child involved in a dynamic and academically rigorous middle school program.

The evening open house will feature watercolorist Scott Mulholland, and we hope to attract a crowd of Artwalkers!

Please take a moment to consider families you can invite to this open house.

THANK YOU for your support on this initiative!

Math: Math instruction has continued this week with work in graphing algebraic equations, square roots with positive and negative numbers as well as fractions, negative exponents and scientific notation, and writing decimals in expanded form.

English: We have worked through Week 7 with a test today.

Students are expected to finish their IRB (Independent Reading Book) by Monday.

This week, students have written a short essay describing the thrill of receiving a most favorite gift, focusing on the description of that moment.

Social Studies: Students have been reading selected passages from the book, South on Puget Sound chronicling the early history of southern Puget Sound. The students will be learning about the early settlement of this region, from the late 1700’s through the late 1800’s. Towards the end of January, students will start on a major research project on a historical topic of their choosing. We will be working closely with the Tacoma Library Pacific Northwest Room librarians.

Science: Lots going on in Science right now! First, students have been finishing up work on their acceleration experiments. As an extension of the gutterball activity, the students have been investigating how a marble moves through the gutter. The students first came up with a way to measure the rate of acceleration (quite a challenge!) and then began to ask questions about how that rate might change in different circumstances. At this point, most students have finished collecting data and are interpreting that data and writing up their findings.

We’ve also begun to work on a new challenge from NASA called “Kids In Micro-g.” The students are asked to come up with a creative experiment comparing and measuring the effects of regular earth gravity (1-gravity or 1-g) and micro-gravity (one millionth of a g) using ONLY materials found on the International Space Station. These experiments will be submitted to NASA, along with data from the 1-g side of the experiment, and twelve will be selected to be performed on the ISS, filmed in HD, and sent back to the students. The list of materials is pretty interesting, and students are working on coming up with the most creative, interesting experiments they can. For more information on this challenge, please visit the NASA Kids in Micro-g page.

Finally, next Friday we’ll be heading back up to Mt. Rainier to go snowshoeing and visit the same spot at the foot of the Nisqually glacier that we saw in September. Dr. Todd will be leading us, and a huge thank you to the parents who have volunteered to drive!! Students will need some very specific supplies for this trip, as it will undoubtedly be very cold and wet, and students who aren’t prepared will not be happy. Supplies:

-Non-cotton clothes, including non-cotton socks and very, very warm boots. Students will inevitably have wet feet!

-Waterproof pants (either snow plants or rain pants will work) with long underwear. Avoid wearing jeans under the waterproof pants, if possible.

-SUNSCREEN – even if it is cloudy


-Hats, mittens, scarves

-Warm jacket and layers!

-Waterproof/resistant outer shell; also good for sitting for lunch

-Water bottle

-Sack lunch and snack

We’ll be leaving from the MS campus right when the bus arrives at 8:15 (15 minutes earlier than school normally starts) and returning around 4pm. Please let me know if you have any questions about this field experience!