JU-A Weekly Note

Dear JUA families,

While ERBs occupied most of our classroom time this week, we still managed to pack in some fun activities, new language arts work, a performance, and Olympics-related planning and building.

We began reading the last book we’ll be reading this year - The Odyssey by Homer (retold by Geraldine McCaughrean). We studied the concept of the “hero’s journey” using the example of Maniac Magee, which was a perfect transition to introducing The Odyssey as one of the most epic heroic journeys of all time!

We continued to work on planning our Olympic Games this week. Students met in city-state groups to plan events, create a flag and cheer, and create awards (which we call flair) for the events. All of JU is planning a total of 14 events! In addition, today students worked to build a boat out of cardboard and duct tape. A student will need to sit in the boat next Thursday afternoon at Friends Select’s pool. This construction project required them to apply their knowledge of volume, balance, and buoyancy.

Students had a special rehearsal for the Opening Ceremony on Tuesday afternoon. It was the first time teachers had seen or heard their work, and the first time each group saw what the other groups had worked on in music class. We are impressed and are looking forward to the final product next week. Remember, our Olympics Opening Ceremony will take place on Wednesday, June 1, at 10:35 am. Parents are invited; we hope to see you there!

Speaking of performances, this Tuesday we welcomed the musical duo City Love for a lunch concert. TPS gardener Brian Jordan, who has also taught at TPS, played with his band-mate Dwight. The duo self-describes as “West Philly conscious acoustic duo with harmonies, hip hop, cajon, guitar, and mandolin.” They chose to sing two songs – titled “Colorblind” and “Show Some Love”--that communicate themes of racial justice and our shared humanity. Our students reported that their music had many connection points with our racial identity curriculum as well as themes from Maniac Magee. You can hear City Love’s music on their youtube channel. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCz_FPFTJ09KZLuy8Kxrsxxg

A request: Eleanor Davis-Diver, a TPS 6th grader, needs magnets for a science experiment that she is doing at home. Any kinds of magnet will do, from refrigerator magnets to neodymium. Please bring in any magnets that you're willing to contribute; donation boxes will be available in units next week.

Looking ahead to summer, JU-C teacher Laura shared with us that there’s a show in Washington D.C. in June that might appeal to many JU students. “The Greeks — Agamemnon to Alexander the Great” opens June 1 at the National Geographic Museum. The exhibit includes more than 550 Greek artifacts. This is its only East Coast stop. It runs through October 10. In conjunction with that, National Geographic is producing a three-hour series, The Greeks, which will air nationally on PBS, starting June 21, 2016 at 9 p.m. (check local listings). Our students are most enthusiastic about all things Greek!

Enjoy the long weekend,

Heather, Julia, and Jenson

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