Author Archives: caitlingwebb

Good morning from Oregon!

Wow! What a couple of days. Yesterday was a busy day with stage combat in the morning (expect some theatrics when your students come home), Great Expectations in the afternoon, and a late night with Hamlet in the evening.

Hamlet was amazing! The production that OSF put on was a combination of modern and Elizabethan, with a very brooding, guitar-playing Hamlet, and Elizabethan-esq costuming. The production was outside in a beautiful theatre and it was actually the opening night!

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Today we had a late morning so the students could sleep in, and a discussion with the actor who played Laertes in Hamlet. The kids had great insight and observation and it was so fun to hear their questions and debates.

Later today we have a renaissance dance workshop and an actors workshop this evening. Then, back home tomorrow!

Safe and Sound in Ashland!

Hello families!

We are safe and sound in Ashland. We had a nice drive down, a quick dinner, and then walked to our first class of the week- masks and movement. Students explored movement through the design of masks and had fun dancing, wiggling, and trying on the masks, of course. Tomorrow’s a busy day of plays and workshops, with Great Expectations in the afternoon and Hamlet in the evening.
Look for more updates soon!

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Watershed Study with Foss Waterway Seaport

This year, we had the lucky opportunity to participate in a study of the Puyallup River Watershed with four other middle schools in the South Sound area. The study is in partnership with the Foss Waterway Seaport, and fits in perfectly with our “home” theme this year!

Students began the study by learning about plastics in different water systems around the world and why looking at plastic levels matters.

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We then went on a field study of Swan Creek, a small creek at the bottom of the watershed. We gathered dirt and gravel samples from the banks of the creek, and tested the water’s Ph, velocity, turbidity, and for copper, which affects salmon’s ability to smell their way back to their breeding grounds. We also took water samples for plastics in the water, that will be sent to a lab.

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We still have one more field study to complete and then we’ll compile our results with the other groups! Stay tuned!

Art + Social Studies

Here at the middle school, we try to integrate as many subjects as possible to expand and solidify learning. Right now, students have started a unit on Tacoma history in their social studies class. They are also studying and making glass art in Art, as well as interviewing local Tacoma artists.

To begin our social studies unit, students “question stormed” and came up with inquiries about Tacoma. Here are some of their questions:

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Students have also been making glass-esque chandeliers and mobiles that mimic the glass art around Tacoma.

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We’ve also been exploring the city’s art and recently took a trip to the Glass Museum to see the hot shop and learn about the glass movement in Tacoma.

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This week we’ll be going to a hot shop to make our own glass art. Stay tuned to see our creations!

Field Studies and a very happy Thanksgiving

One of the tenets of Seabury Middle School is using the community around us as an extension of our classroom. This takes many forms throughout the school year- using the YMCA for PE, partnering with local experts and organizations, and utilizing the resources around us to connect with our curriculum on a deeper level.

We’ve had quite a few field studies lately! To supplement our study of Washington state history, we rode the light rail down to the history museum to look at the Clovis points and explore their exhibits about Isaac Stevens and the first Europeans in WA state.

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We also had the opportunity to go to the Seattle Art Museum to check out their impressionist exhibit as an introduction to impressionist painting in art class.

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Also, this year we got to join the Lower School at their annual Thanksgiving feast! We kept the usual middle school traditions in the morning (having a read in and watching “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving”), and then headed over to the lower school’s campus where we spent some time in the makers’ space and had quite the feast!

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Yum!!

Doing Science

At Seabury, students are scientists, historians, mathematicians, writers, etymologists, linguists, and engineers. We don’t just learn about subjects, we actively engage in them. A great example of this is our current study of geology. Instead of reading about glaciers in a book, we’ve been taking field studies to Mount Rainier and observing rock formations with Dr. Claire Todd, a professor at PLU.

This week, we had the opportunity to go to the PLU campus for lunch and field work with Dr. Todd.

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Students eating lunch in the University Center

After lunch, we made our way to the Rieke Science Center, where Dr. Todd showed us maps of the Pacific Northwest, and how glaciers had affected the region. We found where Seabury was in the Puget Sound and what would have happened if we were around when the ice sheet covered the area. We discussed geologic sorting and how glaciers don’t sort rock like rivers and lakes do.IMG_5902

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After that, we headed outside to really do some geological research. PLU has a pit that’s used by the geology department to study rocks in the area. Our students made observations on how we could tell glaciers were once in the area using geological clues.

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Here are the observations they came up with:

  • Most of the rocks are smooth, which is evidence of glacial erosion.
  • There was no rock sorting like you’d see in places with rivers and lakes. Glaciers are unique in that they don’t sort rocks by size, like rivers and lakes do. You can see this in the layers of rocks in the pit.
  • There were scratches on the rocks, which is evidence of glacial erosion.
  • Most of the rocks were the same type.
  • Most of the rocks were faceted with rounded features.

Dr. Todd also mentioned that most of the rocks were the same type that you would find in Canada, which is more evidence that they were brought down by glaciers.

Dr. Todd then showed us a faceted, glacial rock and students hypothesized theories about why it was so uniquely shaped. They came to the conclusion that because the tops of glaciers move faster than the bottom, the rock would flip and then get smoothed out again and again, which gave it its faceted shape. They then named the rock Clarence (they are still middle schoolers, after all).

It was a great opportunity for our students to really do science, and we thank Dr. Todd for all of her expertise and help!

Electives!

Each quarter, we poll the students on their interests and have them brainstorm enrichment classes they would like to take. This year, they came up with quite a few good ideas like, entomology, astronomy, ancient history, and book club. After much deliberation, we decided on cryptozoology, film club, and debate. We had students rank them in order of interest, and last week, we started on our electives cycle for this quarter.

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In debate, we’ve been researching debate topics such as “Democracy is the best form of government”, “We should only use solar energy”, and “Students under the age of 14 should not be allowed to use Facebook.”
We’ve been discussing why it’s important to have evidence backing up your arguments and why it’s important to be able to see both sides of an issue.
This Monday, students did their first Lincoln-Douglas debate style about whether or not kids should be able to use Facebook. They did a great job and came up with compelling arguments!
Check back soon to see what the other electives have been up to.