Newsletters

This page contains the weekly newsletters, from most recent to oldest.  I also email them out to those on my distribution list.
Here is a document that has links to all of the archived copies.  Here is a chart of dates, students, and topics for student contributions

Coupla Things wk38 (6/18/2018)

posted Jun 18, 2018, 4:15 PM by Chris Heumann   [ updated Jun 18, 2018, 5:23 PM ]


Hello Oh Amazing Ones!

For one last time I get to indulge my sappy side and tell you all how much I have appreciated you as this year winds to a close and completely loved DCS as the place where I wrapped up my career.  The level of caring, compassion, and camaraderie has been tremendous and the result is that we shared some incredible experiences, adventures, academics, and emotions together.  This 8th grade class is extraordinary in many ways, not the least of which is your very strong sense of community -- as demonstrated time and again by your gatherings and celebrations.  I was so honored to have been a part of it this year! 

The school year ended just as it should have, with lots of time for the kids to be together in our magical little room and alley.   As our last school day came to pass, there were a few tears, abundant long hugs, and also good of plans being made.  On Sunday, July 8, 2018, I'll be hosting my annual Boating & Barbecue at Vasona for DCS Alumni.  Please take a look and let me know if you can make it.  It has always been such a great time to check in with your classmates and also to see some people from your earlier years at DCS. 

Ariana is back home now after 2 weeks at Lucile Packard Hospital.  Her kidney and heart gave her some troubles and she had (and has) to be on dialysis for quite a while still as she builds strength for an eventual kidney transplant.  Andrea says that she missed everyone at school during those last weeks, and certainly longed to be present for the amazing graduation ceremony last week.  Her great friends visited and kept her spirits up, of course!

Other random details
1. All of this year's 38 newsletters are here.
2. The mydiscoveryk8.org accounts will stay active.
3. The planning docs for trips (SF, Walkabout, Rafting, etc) are all on my site.

So, happy (late) Father's Day to everyone and have a wonderful summer.  
Get outside, go play, get wet, soak in sunsets, gain altitude, watch the stars, and keep in touch!

Chris

Coupla Things wk37 (6/10/18)

posted Jun 9, 2018, 11:21 AM by Chris Heumann   [ updated Jun 10, 2018, 12:25 AM ]

Welcome to the last week of school, and almost my last newsletter.  I'll write one more of these weekly newsletters after the last day of school, but that one will be just a short recap of the week and a final goodbye.  Please know that many of you (students and parents) have provided great joy and inspiration this year.  I've tried to push the kids to be proactive, passionate, and productive throughout the year.  There have been encouraging successes, both planned and unexpected as well as a few persistent hinderances.  But everyone, in their own way, has hopefully grown and enjoyed parts of the year.  Eighth grade should have been both a cumulation of the DCS experience and a springboard forth into the next portions of their adventurous journeys.   

1. Rafting Recap:  Wow, what a great time!  Everything went so well, and the kids really seemed to have a good time on the river, in the river, and off of the river.  The group gelled so well and everyone was in good spirits and high energy.  Everyone that came in contact with our group seemed impressed by their attitudes and actions and quite a few went out of their way to comment on the great things they noticed.  It thrilled me to watch the kids play, cook, swim, chat, and chill during this last overnight outing.  Thanks, parents, for supporting this non-academic but extremely important experience.  I will miss nothing more than DCS trips!

2.  Paper Organization and Progress Report Input:  I'll be asking the kids to put some organization to their papers for the year so that they might be useful in future classes.  They'll also give me their input for progress report skills levels and writing their reflections for the narrative portion of the second semester report card.  

3. Graduation:  I apologize for not handing out the envelopes of graduation tickets on time.  They are still in the classroom and I'll hand them out first thing Monday morning.  On Tuesday morning some parents will drive groups to the graduation practice at Westgate Church.  They'll be doing rehearsal until about noon at which point you can pick them up at the church.  Sara sent out a very informative email with the schedule and details and I forwarded it to you mid Saturday. Summary:  have your kid to the church at 4:30.  The graduation itself will start at 5:00 and the after party goes until 9:30.  The other graduation related thing to mention is that your kid will be creating a reflective document -- a combination of text and image -- that will be posted in the lobby of the church.

4.  Turning in Chromebooks, Science Books & Kill-A-Watt Devices:  According to Debbie Devine, some kids still haven't returned their Chromebooks so please ask your kid about that.  Also, please ask them to bring their assigned science textbook to school Monday.  Also, some of the electricity measurement device that I lent out about a month ago are still missing.  Please scour the house for anything that looks DCSish and return it if possible.  

5. Maker Day:  Tuesday morning DCS will have its own great maker day.  There will be lots of activities for the kids to do and learn from.  Parents, if you want to get involved, check your email for information from Karen Yorn or Brooke or the science task force.  This doc shows what activities are hosted in various locations.

Thanks for reading these weekly emails and for keeping yourselves involved and informed!  




Coupla Things wk36 (6/2/18)

posted Jun 2, 2018, 8:23 PM by Chris Heumann   [ updated Jun 2, 2018, 8:25 PM ]

Hello Room 25 Families,

This is almost the last "coupla things" newsletter for the year and I hope that you have found them useful each week.  I've benefitted from the feedback I've gotten and feel that class communication was strong this year.  There are three things to cover this time: rafting trip, class equipment distribution, and 8th grade class gift.

1. Rafting:  I've been checking the status of the river and flows look good, as does the weather.  Whitewater Adventures is ready for us!  Everything you need to know are is on the rafting page of my site.  The tent groups are almost complete and boat groups are below:
Boat 1Boat 2Boat 3Boat 4Boat 5Boat 6Boat 7
AnthonyAvaniIanLeoAlexAdamImogen
LoicBitanyaOwenNoahAnayeliAkashNancy
SobhanKiyaSimonAlexandraGennaSamekSasha
BellaEnzoAmeliaPolinaEmma KBetinaJamie
MiaNourRachelArianaKailiElizabethMaya
SydneyTabarkAudreyAshleyKokoroEmma HPanda
LanceDanLoganMaryMikaBenjaminRm29Parent
BruceSylvieAndyWinston
Boat 8Boat 9Boat 10Boat 11
ElliotCamdynGabeGarrett
MateoManogyaHaydenGuy
CarlosYaseenJoshKieran S
JackAshikaRoslynAdi
SaraDeepikaSamanthaEvan
ChrisNettaKieran D

2. Class Equipment:  Dismantling the room has been an intentionally slow process and the most challenging part is finding people and places that are most likely to use the many many educational supplies and lessons that I've gathered or created over the years.  There are many things that I can't pass on to other DCS teachers simply because we're so crunched for space.  So, if you know of any school or non-profit that could use some of the stuff I've posted on this spreadsheet (computers, plotter, office supplies, flat screens, etc) please let me know so I can deliver them in hopes that they go to good use.

3. Eighth Grade Gift:  Each year the 8th graders create and/or purchase something that they leave behind to make the school a better place.  For us, each homeroom is painting a bench that will be arranged in a semi-circle surrounding a big bolder -- a hangout spot near the red shed at the east end of middle school alley.  There are about a dozen kids who are on the painting committee for our bench and I'm eager to see what they create (starting tomorrow).

4. Calendar
June 4 (Monday):  Sky High
June 4 & 5 (Monday and Tuesday):  School Musical
June 6 to 8 (Wednesday to Friday): 8th Grade River Rafting Trip Information is here
June 11 (Monday): DCS Maker Day
June 11 (Monday evening) Parent-led potluck.  If you haven't received an invitation, please email Jane at rjhintz@sbcglobal.net
June 11 to 14 (Monday to Thursday):  Early Dismissal
June 13: (Wednesday): Graduation!  Practice at Westgate Church 9 to ~12, ceremony 5 to ~6:30, dance 7:30 to 10 . 
June 14 (Thursday): Last Day of School
June 14 (Thursday evening): All 8th grade celebration at Saratoga Springs
June 16 (Saturday): Parent Work Day

5. Student Newsletter Article (list): 

Math at DCS

By: Maya Lemas


DCS is an innovative school, a school where many students come to learn and do so in miraculous ways via miraculous teachers. Because of this, students tend to excel in many subjects, math included. However, just because the students are good at it and the teachers are good at teaching it, doesn't mean that they all love it unconditionally. So what do both teachers and students love and hate about math at DCS?

The teachers at DCS are amazingly patient and work hard to teach the curriculum to students who sometimes don't have the motivation to learn. When asked, the 8th-grade teacher Marc Graci stated “Many students get too distracted and many students socialize too much.” Because of this socializing problem, it is hard for the teachers to get students on task. Teachers, however, still talk about those students with fondness and a bond that only people who have spent an entire school year suffering through the same grueling work can have. They have learned that students work well alone, and if given a slight push, also work well in groups. Teachers have loved and learned from DCS; it's flexible work style and hardy students give a warm atmosphere that many teachers love, yet the teachers want their own classrooms because all the bustling causes them to lose track of their supplies.


The 8th-grade students of room 25 have a more varied opinion than the teachers do. With many students hating math, and a couple not hating math but disliking who they got as a teacher. Also, when asked to rate math from 1-10, more than half of the students chose numbers in the higher bracket. Again, when the students were surveyed about their favorite subject, math had the most vote, but not by much. Personally, many students have informed me that they find math to be tedious and not because of DCS or the teachers working there. Lastly, some students prefer other subjects and it's not a matter of disliking math, it's just not their favorite but not their least favorite.


Through all of the data collected, there have been some very prominent trends. Starting with trends that teachers see, many students tend to start slacking off towards the end of the year. So teachers like Lisa Derrington and Martha Tikalsky are finding more difficult to get students working hard for the end of the year tests and work. Also, in the information which required students to rate math on a 1-10 scale, the majority of people who voted in the higher bracket were males. Still, more females chose math as their favorite subject.  In short, many trends can be concluded in this set of information, but this is only just one class out of the many that have graduated from DCS.


All in all, DCS has created a widespread and diverse culture with different ideas,  which is very prominent in the math classes. The majority of students like math, both teachers and children can agree on that. That is what DCS strives to do, to help students love learning and what they learn. So DCS has done a good job, at least for this class.


Coupla Things wk35 (5/27/18)

posted May 27, 2018, 3:58 PM by Chris Heumann   [ updated May 27, 2018, 4:26 PM ]

Hello Room 25 Families,

This weekend I continue the slow process of getting room 25 back to the state it was when I moved in 8 years ago.  The newly built hollow cube underwent some modifications during my years of habitation, but it surely changed me more than I changed it. And the students changed even more. Every day brought new rewards and challenges, every season ushered in new explorations and growth, and every year a well-nurtured batch of opening minds and passionate learners moved on to their next adventures.

Four things this week:

1. Rafting Trip:  On Monday of this past week all of the 8th graders squeezed into our room for a meeting about the rafting trip.  I showed them pictures & videos, discussed the itinerary, packing list, and meal plans, and explained how we wanted them to organize themselves into boat groups and tent groups.  If your kid is not yet in a tent group, you might want to ask them if they have a plan.  Tomorrow we'll be handing out the liability release from the rafting company and the kids need to return it by Friday -- no exceptions or last-minute scrambling for this thing.

2. Student Work Portfolios:  Organization is important to me and useful to the kids, so at the end of this year, each kid will (if they've kept their papers all year) be bringing home a portfolio of their year's work, neatly bound and organized into tab-separated sections.  I have bought the materials already, but you can help out this weekend by helping your kid find any schoolwork papers that might be at home, and have them bring the stack to school on Tuesday.
 
3. Graduation Ceremony and Celebrations:  Tremendous praise should go to Pooja and Sara and members of the graduation committee for putting in so much time and effort to collect ideas, organize things, and (most challenging) keeping the rest of us on track.  By now you should have received a bunch of information about the schedule, the tickets, and the after party that will make this quite a special occasion.  There is also a grade level gathering at Saratoga Springs on the evening of the last day of school.

4. Student Planned Trips:  From the many ideas proposed, the students have taken action on two trips:  SkyHigh on June 4 and a movie (Oceans 8?) on the morning of June 12 (then joining other 8th graders at the park).  We'll be taking the bus to and from SkyHigh and walking to the movie, but you might be getting a request from the organizing committee to drive from Saratoga 14 to Morgan Park on 6/12.  We'll keep you posted as trips take shape and get approved.

5.  Student ArticleAlex on Chromebooks

6. Calendar:

May 30 (Wednesday): Field Day & BBQ
June 1 (Friday): Final Middle School Dance
June 5 (Tuesday):  School Musical
June 6 to 8 (Wednesday to Friday): 8th Grade River Rafting Trip Information is here
June 11 (Monday): DCS Maker Day
June 11 (Monday evening) Class (with parents) potluck
June 11 to 14 (Monday to Thursday):  Early Dismissal
June 13: (Wednesday): Graduation!  Practice at Westgate Church 9 to ~12, ceremony 5 to ~6:30, dance 7:30 to 10 . 
June 14 (Thursday): Last Day of School
June 14 (Thursday evening): All 8th grade celebration at Saratoga Springs
June 16 (Saturday): Parent Work Day

Coupla Things wk34 (5/20/18)

posted May 20, 2018, 6:05 PM by Chris Heumann   [ updated May 20, 2018, 6:15 PM ]

Hello Room 25 Families

If you read last week's newsletter you can skip this one because there is nothing new, except Winston's article on cell phones.

Health Week: Typically, sometime during the final weeks of school, the 8th grade classes participate some kind of "sex-ed" lessons and discussions.  We've come to call it "health week" or "human growth and development", but that renaming really hasn't mitigated the intensity of the topics or eased the inevitable (and important) debates about what is important/appropriate/comfortable to answer and discuss.   I will do my best to give the kids a comfortable atmosphere for their questions and the information, including images, that is clear and detailed enough to be truly educational.  Here is a document that I'm building and will revise as needed, based on your input, before using it in class.  The topics of reproductive anatomy, arousal, sexuality and sex involve opinions, morals, ethics, and deep-seated feelings for everyone; I hope to help your kids to be comfortable, informed, and prepared for the onslaught of challenges that will likely confront them in the next few important years of their lives.

Book Projects:  The kids are doing well with this last set of book-club books.  Please take a look at before freshman year reading book page to see copies of each group's discussion/vocabulary/theme document.  Also embedded in that page is an assignment sheet that gives the kids a variety (50+) of choices of projects to choose from.  The projects will be due on June 4.

May 28 (Monday): Memorial Day
May 30 (Wednesday): Field Day & BBQ
June 1 (Friday): Final Middle School Dance
June 5 (Tuesday):  School Musical
June 6 to 8 (Wednesday to Friday): 8th Grade River Rafting Trip Information is here
June 11 (Monday): DCS Maker Day
June 11 (Monday evening) Class (with parents) potluck
June 11 to 14 (Monday to Thursday):  Early Dismissal
June 13: (Wednesday): Graduation!  Practice at Westgate Church 9 to ~12, ceremony 5 to ~6:30, dance 7:30 to 10 . 
June 14 (Thursday): Last Day of School
June 14 (Thursday evening): All 8th grade celebration at Saratoga Springs
June 16 (Saturday): Parent Work Day



Cellular Connection

Teens Using Phones

Are 8th graders addicted to their phones?

Is social media taking over teens’ social life?

Why do kids get phones at an early age?

Rm 25 Newsletter Winston Har


If you walked around a school campus twenty years ago you would have seen groups of people hanging out and playing on a field. Now, people are on their phones watching videos and listening to music by themselves and watching memes in a corner to add to the mix. This might be a problem or a choice. Kids social lives are redefined from talking face to face to snap-chatting to billions of people online. This makes a phone a cornerstone in a eighth graders social life making them more and more dependent on social media and cell phones.


More and more often social media is pulling people in. The social media epidemic has not pulled everybody in but at least 35% of eighth graders use it. A survey shows that twelve out of twenty people from Room 25 and Room 26 have social media accounts, and at least one person clocks in five hours of time on their social media accounts each day. Phones can be a source for distraction with the data table showing that eighth graders from DCS pull out the phones at an average of four times’ an hour at school. “ Ten years ago teens weren’t as addicted to their phones as they are now and the effects are more pervasive than ever.”-Mr Heumann


Now I don’t have a phone, but I get why people like phones. It lets you communicate easily by calling or texting. It lets you search up things on the web without going through the trouble of opening your backpack. The best feature is taking pictures of homework or something you want to remember. The question becomes, are these conveniences  essential to your daily life? Are they a door opening up knowledge and social interaction, or are they a tether that is holding kids back from experiencing the world and being in the moment? One solution may be the Light phone II, a phone that can call text take pictures and nothing more. It looks super stylish and is the size of a credit card.

Even though thirty-eight percent of the eighth graders at DCS surveyed admitted that they were addicted to their phone, I think that it is a choice that you made and can change easily by switching out your smartphone with an efficient phone. Smartphones are good but not essential.



Coupla Things wk33 (5/13/18)

posted May 12, 2018, 9:17 PM by Chris Heumann   [ updated May 13, 2018, 6:00 PM ]

Another great week has come and gone.  This time of year feels similar to easing into fifth gear in a convertible cruising along the bluffs of the beautiful straight-aways of The PCH -- smooth sailing with those awesome views, coastal breeze, and a beautiful imminent sunset on the horizon.  .  The kids are all so easy to work with as they have matured much and come to know each other so very well.  Although not all of the work is getting done and in, most of the kids are working and thinking most of the time, and I've come to really appreciate that. 

Health Week: Typically, sometime during the final weeks of school, the 8th grade classes participate some kind of "sex-ed" lessons and discussions.  We've come to call it "health week" or "human growth and development", but that renaming really hasn't mitigated the intensity of the topics or eased the inevitable (and important) debates about what is important/appropriate/comfortable to answer and discuss.   I will do my best to give the kids a comfortable atmosphere for their questions and the information, including images, that is clear and detailed enough to be truly educational.  Here is a document that I'm building and will revise as needed, based on your input, before using it in class.  The topics of reproductive anatomy, arousal, sexuality and sex involve opinions, morals, ethics, and deep-seated feelings for everyone; I hope to help your kids to be comfortable, informed, and prepared for the onslaught of challenges that will likely confront them in the next few important years of their lives.

CAASPP Testing:  This coming week the kids will be doing standardized testing for one to two hours per day.  We teachers are not allowed to see the tests, but the practice problems that I've done online do test some of the kinds of thinking and knowledge that are valued at DCS and can be important indicators of learning.  Parents, please make sure that your kid comes to school each day with their Chromebook fully charged.

Book Projects:  The kids are doing well with this last set of book-club books.  Please take a look at before freshman year reading book page to see copies of each group's discussion/vocabulary/theme document.  Also embedded in that page is an assignment sheet that gives the kids a variety (50+) of choices of projects to choose from.  The projects will be due on June 4.


May 14 to 17 (Monday to Thursday): CAASPP Testing
May 20 (Sunday):  Deliver Goodwill items to DCS (9:00-3:00)
May 28 (Monday): Memorial Day
May 30 (Wednesday): Field Day & BBQ
June 1 (Friday): Final Middle School Dance
June 5 (Tuesday):  School Musical
June 6 to 8 (Wednesday to Friday): 8th Grade River Rafting Trip Information is here
June 11 (Monday): DCS Maker Day
June 11 (Monday evening) Class (with parents) potluck
June 11 to 14 (Monday to Thursday):  Early Dismissal
June 13: (Wednesday): Graduation!  Practice at Westgate Church 9 to ~12, ceremony 5 to ~6:30, dance 7:30 to 10 . 
June 14 (Thursday): Last Day of School
June 14 (Thursday evening): All 8th grade celebration at Saratoga Springs
June 16 (Saturday): Parent Work Day

Coupla Things wk32 (5/6/18)

posted May 6, 2018, 11:16 AM by Chris Heumann   [ updated May 6, 2018, 1:01 PM ]

Happy Sunday Students and Parents,

There are just three things I want to cover this time:  conferences, women in US history, and the rafting trip.

Conferences:  During most of the 21 half-hour meetings last week, the kids took a good lead and shared various things about their year and what they've learned.  Almost everyone is poised to meet the challenges of high school and thrive amidst the new opportunities.  I'd like to thank you parents for coming to school and participating in this rare and valuable process.

Influential Women of US History:  For the next few weeks I'll be asking the kids to find out about people who have had an impact on our country, but probably didn't get much mention in the history books or media of the time.  Women often fall into this category, but there are also many people of color, minorities, and/or other factors that have led to lack of credit or visibility.  One of the homework items for this weekend was to do some initial research, find 3 to 5 people that interest them, and enter them onto a form.  As of noon today, only Samek, Arian, Benjamin, Lance and Winston have done that, so the rest of the class may need a reminder (or whatever is effective) to get their research and entries done before tomorrow morning.

River Rafting Trip:  In just four weeks (June 6 to 8), the whole 8th grade will be doing their final DCS overnight trip.  Not much academic justification for this one, but it is a really important time with schoolmates and quite an adventure. The rafting page on my site explains most of the details including the itinerary, boat and tent groupings, food, and photos.  This year we'll be adding the SunSplash water park and slides to the first day of the trip.

3. Alex on Technology at DCS

Calendar
May 11 (Friday): Middle School Dance
May 13 (Sunday): Mother's Day
May 14 to 17 (Monday to Thursday): CAASPP Testing
May 20 (Sunday):  Deliver Goodwill items to DCS (9:00-3:00)
May 28 (Monday): Memorial Day
May 30 (Wednesday): Field Day & BBQ
June 1 (Friday): Final Middle School Dance
June 5 (Tuesday):  School Musical
June 6 to 8 (Wednesday to Friday): 8th Grade River Rafting Trip Information is here
June 11 (Monday): DCS Maker Day
June 11 to 14 (Monday to Thursday):  Early Dismissal
June 13: (Wednesday): Graduation!  Practice at Westgate Church 9 to ~12, ceremony 5 to ~6:30, dance 7:30 to 10 . 
June 14 (Thursday): Last Day of School
June 14 (Thursday evening): All 8th grade celebration at Saratoga Springs
June 16 (Saturday): Parent Work Day

Coupla Things wk31 (4/29/18)

posted Apr 28, 2018, 5:08 PM by Chris Heumann   [ updated Apr 28, 2018, 5:14 PM ]

Hello Room 25 Parents,

Science Fair:  
There were some great projects on display around middle school alley on Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning, hosted by some very knowledgeable and enthusiastic presenters, but none of them were from our class and only a few from our grade level.  For us, the process and products for this year ranged from mediocre at best to dismal at worst and even non-existent for some.  From the groans of "do we have to?" at the start to the very weak display boards and explanations at the end, this was just a terrible showing.  The object dissections of electronics and appliances were little more than a hack-in-up-and-spread-out-the-parts endeavors, and the how-it-works demonstrations weren't strong either.   Low enthusiasm, low goals, low learning, and lowered heads -- mine included.

Conferences: This coming week the kids will host their final conferences at DCS.  I'll be present but I'm going to try to maintain a low profile, encouraging each kid to create and implement the agenda and take a leadership role during the meeting.  Please sign up on this chart.

Student Newsletter Articles:  I didn't receive finished articles from the two kids scheduled for this week.

Calendar
April 30 to May 4 (Monday to Friday): Conferences
May 5 (Saturday): Spring Auction (Campbell Community Center)
May 11 (Friday): Middle School Dance
May 13 (Sunday): Mothers Day
May 14 to 17 (Monday to Thursday): CAASPP Testing
May 20 (Sunday):  Deliver Goodwill items to DCS (9:00-3:00)
May 28 (Monday): Memorial Day
May 30 (Wednesday): Field Day & BBQ
June 1 (Friday): Final Middle School Dance
June 5 (Tuesday):  School Musical
June 6 to 8 (Wednesday to Friday): 8th Grade River Rafting Trip Information is here
June 11 (Monday): DCS Maker Day
June 11 to 14 (Monday to Thursday):  Early Dismissal
June 13: (Wednesday): Graduation!  Practice at Westgate Church 9 to ~12, ceremony 5 to ~6:30, dance 7:30 to 10 . 
June 14 (Thursday): Last Day of School & Chris retires
June 14 (Thursday evening): All 8th grade celebration at Saratoga Springs
June 16 (Saturday): Parent Work Day

Coupla Things wk30 (4/22/18)

posted Apr 22, 2018, 5:26 PM by Chris Heumann   [ updated Apr 22, 2018, 6:50 PM ]

Happy Earth Day Everyone!

What a beautiful Earth Day it has been.  I had breakfast in Davenport with a "kid" (now 50) from the early days of my camp counselor life and then the dog and I hit the beaches before heading back over the hill to help Amy put on a recital for her voice studio.  It is a wonderful life!

Science Fair:  Parents, you should have received an invitation to a Google document that your kid has been updating daily to communicate with you and me about their progress on their science fair project.  There is a great variety of projects this year (see this chart).  The kids doing the design challenges (bridge, tower, catapult) have made good progress but they won't demonstrate/test/destroy their product until Maker Day on June 11.  The rest of the kids will host their trifold and explain their project on Tuesday evening (if possible) and for sure on Wednesday from 9:00 to 10:30.

Summer Reading List Books:  For the next set of book club meetings the kids will be reading books that are on the "read before Freshman year English class" lists.  I assembled the lists onto this spreadsheet and the kids sorted themselves into 5 groups shown below.  Parents, if your kid hasn't already gotten a copy of their book (which they should have already), please push/help them to do so.

Book Groups (Summer Reading for Freshman English): April 23, 30, May 7, 14? and 21

1. The Martian (Barb): Andy, Alex, Yaseen, Josh, Samek, Andres

2. Born A Crime (Teresa): Aine, Hayden, Jamie, Zach, Bruce

3. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Joel & Andrea) Benjamin, Bitanya, Adi, Avani, Kiya, Elliot, Panda, Winston, Lance

4. Jurassic Park (Shilpa): Emma, Betina, Elizabeth

5. The Secret Life of Bees (Pooja) Ariana, Maya, Aine  

Westward Expansion:  I'm learning more and more US history this year because we've progressed farther than any of my classes since I started teaching the subject.  So, we're almost to the 1900s now and the country is growing coast-to-coast.  The kids are supposed to pay attention to the many intersecting perspectives and angles that are at play, including cultures, politics, sociology, economics, geography, and "the untold history" of various groups. 

Emma's & Benjamin's Articles:  To keep the length of the body of this email to something reasonable, I've linked to the articles instead of pasting them in.  I highly recommend that you (parents and kids alike) read them because they both put personal commentary voice to some interesting topics -- thanks for your insights and bravery, you two.  I'd like to also state my appreciation to April who has been the writing coach and editor for all of the articles.

Calendar:
April 25 (Wednesday): Middle School Science Fair DCSscience.com website.
April 27 (Friday)Bingo Night
April 30 to May 4 (Monday to Friday): Conferences
May 5 (Saturday): Spring Auction (Campbell Community Center)
May 11 (Friday): Middle School Dance
May 13 (Sunday): Mothers Day
May 14 to 17 (Monday to Thursday): CAASPP Testing
May 20 (Sunday):  Deliver Goodwill items to DCS (9:00-3:00)
May 28 (Monday): Memorial Day
May 30 (Wednesday): Field Day & BBQ
June 1 (Friday): Final Middle School Dance
June 5 (Tuesday):  School Musical
June 6 to 8 (Wednesday to Friday): 8th Grade River Rafting Trip Information is here
June 11 (Monday): DCS Maker Day
June 11 to 14 (Monday to Thursday):  Early Dismissal
June 13: (Wednesday): Graduation!  Practice at Westgate Church 9 to ~12, ceremony 5 to ~6:30, dance 7:30 to 10 . 
June 14 (Thursday): Last Day of School & Chris retires
June 14 (Thursday evening): All 8th grade celebration at Saratoga Springs
June 16 (Saturday): Parent Work Day

Coupla Things wk29 (4/8/18)

posted Apr 7, 2018, 9:46 PM by Chris Heumann   [ updated Apr 7, 2018, 10:18 PM ]

Hello Room 25 Families, 

Four Things:
1. SF Recap
2. Biography Book
3. Science Fair
4. Conferences


1.  San Francisco:  The planning and preparation paid off and things went mostly as scheduled, or as changed by consensus.  The group was great and SF gave us her amazing, diverse, and eye-opening best!  I'm not sure if the kids had much fun, but they hopefully learned a lot and felt independent and important to the process. There were times when I would look at the group and be so thrilled at the level of engagement and energy, and there were also (far fewer) times when I would get discouraged by their tendency to just sit and go on-screen when there was so much to see around them and do with each other.  My most sincere appreciation to Pooja, Thomas, Sherri, and Marie who helped out in every way, held things together, and kept all of us on our best game. They and the kids made it a great team effort.

2. Biography Book:  On the day that we return from vacation (April 16), the kids will be asked to turn in a two-part assignment regarding their biography book.  The first part is a timeline of the "ups and downs" in the person's life, and the second is a set of 5 short paragraphs, each responding to a different question.  They've had a long time to work on this and so I hope that no one will be caught off guard when it comes time to turn things in on Monday morning.

3. Science Fair:  The eighth graders are expected to participate in the science/engineering fair by completing any one of the many choices of projects.  Most focus on physical science and engineering and should be the kind of thing that the kid wants to investigate, build, deconstruct, test, assemble, and/or test to the limits.  All the details are on this page of the school's science website (www.dcsscience.com) and to keep track of their progress, I'm going to have each kid create and share with you a personal progress tracking sheet.  I've provided time for them to work during class time, and yet most kids will have to work at home as well in order to utilize the resources and create something educationally powerful.

4. Spring Conferences:  During the week of April 30 to May 4, school will end at 1:15 to allow time for afternoon conferences.  They are usually productive and enjoyable.  The kids will show some of the work they've done and possibly discuss various aspects of high school or even intentions for the upcoming summer.  To schedule a conference, please take a look at this document and sign up in a cell (let me know if you can't edit).

Calendar:
April 18 (Wednesday): Discovery Has Talent
April 25 (Wednesday): Middle School Science Fair DCSscience.com website.
April 27 (Friday)Bingo Night
April 30 to May 4 (Monday to Friday): Conferences
May 5 (Saturday): Spring Auction (Campbell Community Center)
May 11 (Friday): Middle School Dance
May 13 (Sunday): Mothers Day
May 14 to 17 (Monday to Thursday): CAASPP Testing
May 20 (Sunday):  Deliver Goodwill items to DCS (9:00-3:00)
May 28 (Monday): Memorial Day
May 30 (Wednesday): Field Day & BBQ
June 1 (Friday): Final Middle School Dance
June 5 (Tuesday):  School Musical
June 6 to 8 (Wednesday to Friday): 8th Grade River Rafting Trip Information is here
June 11 (Monday): DCS Maker Day
June 11 to 14 (Monday to Thursday):  Early Dismissal
June 13: (Wednesday): Graduation!  Practice at Westgate Church 9 to ~12, ceremony 5 to ~6:30, dance 7:30 to 10 . 
June 14 (Thursday): Last Day of School & Chris retires
June 14 (Thursday evening): All 8th grade celebration at Saratoga Springs
June 16 (Saturday): Parent Work Day

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