Monthly Archives: October 2010

Short week next week!

Don’t forget, next week is a shortened week! We have no school Thursday and Friday due to parent-teacher conferences. Child care WILL be available at the lower school from 8 a.m.— 6 p.m. at $5.50 per hour. Drop-ins are welcome. Please send your child with a lunch and a drink if they will be here all day.


Thursday and Friday of this coming week will be dedicated to Fall Conferences. Students are asked to attend with their parents and will lead part of each conference. In order to be ready for conferences, students will reflect on the goals they set for themselves at the beginning of the semester. This kind of self-evaluation is an invaluable skill for students as they become more and more responsible for their own learning. If you haven’t yet set up a conference time, please do so as soon as possible.

Corn Maze

Wednesday, the middle school will be visiting a corn maze at Spooner Farms. Halloween costumes are welcome, as well will also be traveling to the lower school that afternoon to visit the Scholastic book fair and participate in the Halloween costume parade. The school bus and pick-up will run as usual.

Math and Technology

Math instruction continued this week with various groups working with adding, subtracting and multiplying integers, positive and negative exponents and scientific notation, and literal equations and dimensional analysis.

This was a Tech-heavy week with students working hard on their “patches.” Patches are student-generated programs using the online program Peer Data. There was a whole lot of creative programming going on this week. Ask your child to see the patch they’ve been working on! In the same way that this week was a Tech-heavy week, the next two weeks will be Science-heavy.

Language Arts

Students are continuing to practice skills improving their word choice. In addition to working with the 1100 Words You Should Know curriculum, students have been playing with clichés, idiomatic expressions and etymology.

Their novel studies are wrapping up and book discussions have begun. As a reminder, books and accompanying study guides are due next Wednesday, October 27.

Integrated Studies

We began the week with a trip to Urban Grace Church to help with a service project. Students helped organize and restack over 300 folding chairs throughout the whole building. Having these chairs and tables organized helps the church run their Sunday breakfast for the homeless and all the other events that are based from the building.

For our study of comparative religions, we had our own Mrs. Wollum talk to the students about the different denominations of Christianity this week. Ask your students about the Great Schism and who Martin Luther was.

We also had a chance to participate in Tacoma Art Museum’s 75th birthday celebration. We rode the Link down and got to have all our portraits taken! Check out their Flickr site to see these great shots.

Language Arts: The students have completed their first non-fiction essay concentrating on the trait of Ideas. This week we’re adding the writing skill of word choice. Each time we add a skill, a new layer of a rubric will be added to their score. This helps students know what expectations they must reach and why they received a certain score. Next week students will begin or resume working in the 1100 Words You Need to Know skill book.

Reading: We have begun three new novels. The sixth grade crew is reading, Extra Credit by Andrew Clements. This is a story about a girl in Indiana and a boy in Afghanistan who become pen pals. The seventh grade group is reading. The Conch Bearer by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. This is a fantasy taking place in India. The eighth graders are reading, Boys Without Names by Kashmira Sheth. This novel focuses on child labor but in a humane, personal and uplifting way.

Comparative Religion: We had an incredible time in Vancouver visiting different religious/spiritual centers. We visited with gen Kelsang Deleck at the Tilopa Buddhist Centre who taking about the tenants of Buddhism and lead the students in a guided meditation. We got to speak with Imam Fode Drame of the Islamic Zawiyah foundation who furthered their knowledge of Islam.

We also visited the Xa:ytem Longhouse Interpretive Centre to learn about the spiritual and cultural practices of the Sto’:lo nation. The students watched a house post being carved out of cedar, went into a model of an ancient pit house, observed the archeological dig sites and learned about the story of the spirits of the transformer stone which is sacred to the Sto’:lo people.

Once we returned to school, we learned more about the practice of Buddhism. We will visit the Buddhist Center of Tacoma next week. This Friday we spoke with Reverend Frances Lorenz of the Center of Spiritual Living.

Sciences: We are continuing a physics follow-up related to our day at Playland’s “Physics Day” in Vancouver, B.C.