Junior High Cycle 3 Update

Hello Junior High Families!
It’s already Cycle 3! We are a third of the way through our year and the students are doing great work and have really hit their stride in so much of what is going on in the classroom. It is wonderful to see, as guides, the students taking more and more ownership of their daily lives in our classroom.
Cycle 2 Recap
  • Language Arts: Congratulations to each animal election speech team and to the winner, Team Eagle! Students also met with a professional speechwriter and wrapped up the unit by writing and recording their own speeches to communicate visual data to an audience.
  • Cultural Histories: Students investigated the structure of the U.S. government with a final debate this week where teams will argue “for or against” the current design. We also researched influential qualities found in diplomatic leaders around the world—below is a wordcloud of the top traits students found. 


World Leader Values.jpg


  • Science: Students started their 2-cycle unit on genetics by learning about Mendelian genetics and laws of inheritance.  They made punnet squares and researched genetic diseases and their hereditary sources.  This lead to a mock-blood typing lab where students solved a mystery of a mis-identified baby by determining using actual anti-A and anti-B serum on synthetic blood.  We also had a screening of the movie “GATTACA” and a fantastic conversation on the ethics of genetic modification. 
  • Physical Expression: Students created a stand-up strikezone out of galvanized metal and PVC pipe, learned the basic rules to participate and observe baseball/softball games, as well as virtually met with a former collegiate and professional softball player, now business owner, Sara Moulton.
  • Creative Expression: Students finalized their work on their marvelous murals.  They filmed “artist statements” and will be releasing those as part of a virtual art exhibit.  Additionally, we will be looking for a place for their work to live on a more permanent basis.
  • Occupations: The Sunny Hollow Exchange will be launching for a soft opening tomorrow (12/2) at 1:30 pm.  Students have been very hard at work procuring products to sell, perfecting the website, solving issues in the financial logistical chain, and so much more.
Cycle 3 Preview
Students will be tackling all sorts of big concepts and challenging subjects over the next few weeks and after we return from break.  In Humanities, they will discuss Foreign Policy and the interactions between governments and international organizations.  In Language Arts, they have begun reading their first novel of the year and will be part of a writer’s workshop focused on coming-of-age stories.  In Science, we will continue our discussion on the ethics of genetic modification, especially in our food, and students are already hard at work identifying expert speakers for our “Special Speaker Series” in early January.  The store launch will bring a whole new set of challenges in Occupations, while students will get a chance to explore Volleyball and Textiles in Expression.
Thursday, December 3rd 6pm – 7 pm
Please join us for an (overdue) Academic Overview of the Junior High.  While a lot of this information may not be new to some of you, we did not get a chance to have a proper Academic Orientation prior to the start of this school year.  Hannah and I will be discussing how the academic side of the Junior High works from the pedagogical roots to the nuts and bolts of Google Classroom and how we do Assessment.  We will be recording this if the timing does not work for you, but I highly recommend you stop in (plus I’d just love to see everyone’s smiling faces!)
Additionally, this is a retention event and families of 4/5/6th grade families are invited to attend to get a glimpse at what your students are already doing.  I will encourage all of you to reach out to any family friends in UE that you think would benefit from hearing about all the awesome things we get to do in the Junior High and invite them to join in.
Monday, December 14 – Wednesday, December 16 3:30 – 4:30
We’ve heard the requests for open house times, and we’ve put together some time slots for students to show their families the brand new Junior High space!  Starting on Monday the 14 and stretching to Wednesday the 16th, we will have the room open to host families in 15 minute time-slots in the hour directly following school (this would allow the normal evening cleaning procedures to go on unaffected).  There are 12 time-slots in total and hopefully one of them will work for you and your family.  All members of the family are invited (including younger siblings) but we ask, as we do all that come into our school, that everyone is masked and follows proper COVID etiquette (e.g. hand washing before entering the room, avoiding handling communal objects, socially distancing from those outside your household).  With this staggered approach, no more than one family (and the guides) will be in the space at the same time.
Hope everyone is ready for a productive 2.5 weeks before winter break!  See you all really soon,