Wednesday, March 30, 2016

April Social Emotional Goal

April Social Emotional Goal

This morning we will be examining the fine art of complaining. Humans, and middle school students in particular, have become experts at complaining. Studies have shown that in an typical conversation, humans complain at a rate of 1 per minute. This causes stress hormones to be released into the body.

As a class we are eliminating complaining from our vocabulary for the month of April. We appreciate families supporting us in this effort.

Some ideas to eliminate negativity include:


If you point out that it’s cold outside, is that a complaint? "No, that’s an observation," Blake explains. "A complaint is, ‘It’s cold outside and I hate living in this place.’" Shapiro says she defines a complaint by the way it makes her feel: "I feel myself slouching and not breathing."


Change starts with awareness. "You’re absolutely shocked," says Blake. "After two or three hours of observing, it’s in the hundreds."


If you must lend an ear, try to respond with something positive rather than joining in on the rant session. "You’ve really gotta be quite brave and confident and have the courage not to need the good opinion of another person," says Blake. "You find over a period of time those people who complain constantly start to leave you alone because their brains are not getting that stimulus they’re looking for."


This is called "positive complaining" or "effective complaining. As Wolfe says, "Don’t sit around and admire the problem." Do something about it.


This tip comes from Gordon: "If you find yourself griping, add a ‘but’ and say something positive," he says. For example, "I don’t like driving to work, but I’m thankful at least I can drive and I even have a job."


"I have to pick up the kids" becomes "I get to pick up the kids." "You change a complaining voice to an appreciative heart," Gordon says. "You’re gonna feel so much better the more you focus on the positive over time. At first, it's gonna be a little awkward, but the more you get used to it, it becomes your natural state."


Eating Disorders

Part of our mission at Cascade Heights is to teach to the whole child, which includes helping them understand issues they or their friends may face as teenagers or young adults. This Thursday, from 10:30 - 12:00, Dr. Currey will be presenting to our class about eating disorders. 

"Eating disorders frequently appear during the teen years or young adulthood but may also develop during childhood or later in life. These disorders affect both genders, although rates among women are 2½ times greater than among men. Like women who have eating disorders, men also have a distorted sense of body image. For example, men may have muscle dysmorphia, a type of disorder marked by an extreme concern with becoming more muscular. Researchers are finding that eating disorders are caused by a complex interaction of genetic, biological, behavioral, psychological, and social factors. Researchers are using the latest technology and science to better understand eating disorders." ( 

Parents are more than welcome to join us for this discussion. If you'd like to educate yourself so you are ready to talk about it at home Thursday night, below you will find a few websites that have excellent information.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Space Race Presentations

Over the last month we have studied the race between the US and the USSR to make significant scientific achievements in regards to space travel. Different aspects of the space race captivate each person. What was it for you? Was it a particular piece of technology? Was it the people or the animals? What made you ask questions? What made you want to dig deeper to find out more?  Take that topic and go for it! Through research, develop your understanding of that aspect of the space race and then present it to the class. Your presentation can take the form of a speech, poster, model, website, Prezi, Powerpoint, video, or anything else. Play to your strengths and show your passion. Your research and polished presentation should take you about 4 hours total. The presentation should take you about 5 minutes. If you choose to build something, be prepared to talk about it. Presentations will be on April 12th at 10:30 AM. Family members are welcome to attend.

Monday, March 28, 2016

NON Interview

Who do you interview?
a. Expert on your person.
                                                 i.     Someone who has spent a minimum of 2 years studying the person or topic
                                              ii.     A relative
                                           iii.     A professor
                                            iv.     A manager
                                               v.     A coach
                                            vi.     Museum curator
                                         vii.     Author
                                      viii.     Themselves
                                            ix.     A publicist
2. How do you interview them?
a. In person
b. Skype/Hangouts/Facetime (video chat)
c.  Phone
3. When does this have to be done?
a. Thursday, April 7th

·     Call or email 3 – 4 people tonight
·     Email is going to be a basic business letter – who you are, what you’re doing, and requesting an interview, deadline
·     When they write back set a date, time, and location.
o  If in person schedule in a public place (coffee shop, libraries, park)
o  Going to take a parent
·     Confirm with a follow up email 24 hours before
Video chat interviews can be set up at school if needed. 

The Interview
1. Arrive 15 minutes early
2. Bring paper, multiple writing utensils, and if possible a recording device.
3. Scope out a table and chairs.
4. When they arrive, stand, greet them with a handshake and introduce yourself and your parent.
5. Seat them across from you.
6. Ask if they comfortable with you recording them. If they say yes, start the recorder. If they say no, put it away.
7. Using your prewritten questions, talk to them.
a. Questions cannot be yes/no questions and should not be information you can find in a book.
b. Excellent questions are opinion questions that add to your understanding.
                                                 i.     What about XYZ inspired you to study their life?
                                              ii.     What do you think XYZ would feel about the current state of XYZ?

                                           iii.     How did XYZ’s work in the field of XYZ impact the future of XYZ? 
Parents are NOT to ask questions. They are present for safety only. 

Plant Sale

This is our final fundraiser for Ashland. 

Your student should have brought home a spring plant order form before break.  The eighth grade class sells plants every spring to fund their Shakespeare Festival trip in May.  We hope you will look over it and consider ordering with Cascade Heights to buy starts for your garden this year.  Please fill out the order form, enclose payment (payable to CHPCS), and send back to school, where an eighth grader will collect it from our classroom.  Orders are due April 13th, 2016 and will be available for pickup from school on May 4th (before Mother's Day). You can view the fundraiser plants available for purchase at If you need more forms, just let us know!

Spring Cleaning

THIRD Annual Spring Cleaning!
Love Cascade but don't have time to show it during the school week?  Come help us spruce up our space!  Drop in Saturday, April 30, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  

Choose a job off the board you'd like to do, and get to work!  Inside jobs, outside jobs, big jobs, little jobs, there is a job for everyone.  Bring the whole family and a picnic lunch (no childcare provided).  Bring your mower, weed-eater, edger, gardening gloves, litter grabber, carpet steamer, wipes, rags, spray bottles, dusters, anything else you can think of. 

Students will get a homework pass and service hours will be signed off. 

Email Mr. Currey with any questions

Monday, March 14, 2016

NON: Business Letter

Tonight students are looking up one or more addresses for places they can write a letter of inquiry to in order to learn more about their notable figure.

Not sure what to look up? Try some of these:

  • Museums with an exhibit on your person
  • Foundations established by your person
  • Hall of Fame
  • Managers
  • Estate
  • Department of Defense (if person was military) 
  • National Archives
  • Fan Clubs
In class tomorrow we will be writing the business letters and mailing them from school. 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

What's Happening This Week

  • Spring Plant Sale forms go home - This is our last fundraiser for Ashland. The beauty of the plant sale is that plenty of people are planning their spring gardens right now so you're offering something they are already looking for. All order forms are due by the 13th of April. The plants will be ready for pick up on May 4th, just before carline. I will give each student 5 order forms, if you need more, just let me know! 
  • Night of the Notable character selection forms due. - Forms were sent home Thursday and explained in class at length. There is also a blog post from last week explaining each section of the form. This first step sets students up for success so we take it seriously. 
  • NON Business Letters Due - In class we will be writing business letters to an organization that may be able to share information about the eminent figure each student has chosen. We'll be talking in class on Monday about who to send letters to. Students may need to research Monday night. 
  • Lego Robotics - We're moving Lego Robotics to Wednesday this week due to our field trip on Thursday and American Bandstand. This week students will be asked to make their robot move forward, backwards, and navigate a set path. 
  • Field Trip - Our March field trip is to the Portland Art Museum. Mrs. Haight will be joining us. Unfortunately, Oregon Culinary Institute had to reschedule our lunch to next month. This means we'll be in regular  uniforms for our trip to the art museum. Parents who are scheduled to go with us, please look for an email from me with specifics early in the week. 
  • American Bandstand - Right after lunch on Thursday everyone will get changed for our big 50's finale. Join us at 1:00 in the cafeteria for singing, dancing, commercials, and the news! Parents are very much encouraged to join us for the fun. 
  • Staff vs. Middle School Basketball gameThe 5th Annual Staff vs Middle School Basketball game is Thursday, March 17th! This is a great time to promote physical activity outside of school as well as provide a place to help build a positive school community. If you have not been to this event in the past, it is something you do not want to miss. It is a regular basketball game with a small twist. Along with the basketball game, there is also a fun halftime show and a chance to win prizes! Space is limited in the gym for the event. Tickets went on sale last week, so please get your ticket early to guarantee your spot. You can purchase your tickets from Mr. Weaver in the mornings, during PE, or after school

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Side Door Pick Up

During afternoon carline, It is IMPERATIVE that people wanting to cross the street at the front of carline WAIT until they are told to go by the staff member directing traffic.  While pedestrians have the right of way at all intersections in Oregon, we ask that you use common sense and courtesy, and WAIT for a cycle of cars to exit before you cross.  This keeps carline moving efficiently, and more importantly, keeps everyone safe.  Thank you for your cooperation!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Night of the Notables Off Limits List

As of last year, students have been asked not to choose a notable figure that has been done in the last two years. Please choose someone NOT on this list.

Alan Turing
Albert Einstein
Alexander Graham Bell
Alfred Nobel
Amelia Aerhart
Anastasia Romanov
Anne Frank
Anne Vallayer Coster
Annie Oakley
Archduke Franz Ferdinand
Audrey Hepburn
Babe Zaharias
Barbra Streisand
Beckanne Sisk
Bruce Wayne
Buffalo Bill
Carl Sagan
Catherine the Great
Clara Barton
Claude Monet 
Coco Chanel
Corrie ten Boom
Courtney Force
Danica Patrick
Doris Day
Duke Ellington
Dwayne Johnson
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Edgar Allan Poe
Edith Cavell
Edwin Hubble
Eileen Collins
Eli Whitney
Elie Wiesel
Elizabeth Cody Stanton
Elvis Presley
Emma Watson
Ethel Merman
Florence Griffith Joyner
Florence Nightingale
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Gabrielle Douglas
Garett Morgan
General Custer
Gloria Steinem
Gordon Ramsey
Gottlieb Daimler
Grace Kelly
Guy Fieri
Harriet B. Stowe
Harriet Tubman
Hedy Lamarr
Helen Keller
Helen Mirren
Henry Ford 
Hiram Maxim
Ida B. Wells 
Irena Sandler
Isaac Newton
J. Robert Oppenheimer
Jack Johnson
Jackie Robinson
James Naismith
James Watt
Jane Goodal
Janis Joplin
Jennie Finch
Jesse Owens
John Brown
Johnny Depp
Julia Child
Jurgen Klinsmann
Kurt Cobain
Lady Emma Hamilton
Leonardo Da Vinci
Lillian Gish
Lindsey Stirling
Loretta Young
Lotta Crabtree
Louis Armstrong
Louis Pastuer
Lucille Ball
Lyudmila Pavlichenko
Malala Yousafzai
Manfred von Richthofen
Maria Theresa 
Maria Wollstonecraft
Marie Antoinette
Marilyn Monroe
Mark Tobey
Marlene Dietrich
Martha Jane Canary
Martin Luther King Jr.
Maxfield Parrish
Maximilian Kolbe
Medgar Evers
Mia Hamm
Michael Jordan
Moctezuma II
Monica Seles
Mother Theresa
Napoleon Bonaparte
Neil Armstrong
Neil Patrick Harris
Nick Vujicic
Nikola Tesla 
Olympe de Gouges
Orville Wright
Oscar Wilde
Oskar Schindler
Pablo Picasso
Peyton Manning
Princess Di
Princess Margret
Queen Elizabeth 1
Queen Hatshepsut
Queen Rania
Queen Victoria
Rene LaCoste
Ricahrd Feynman
Robert "Laurence" Binyon
Rocky Marciano
Salvador Dali
Samuel Colt
Serena William
Shawn Johnson
Shirley Temple
Stan Lee
Stephen Hawkings
Tamara Karsavina
Thomas Edison
Thomas Newcomen
Tyra Banks
Ulysses S. Grant
Victoria Woodhull
Vincent Van Gogh 
W. C. Grimm
WC Handy
Werner Von Braun
Wilbur Wright
Will Smith
Winston Churchill
Zahir al-Din Muhammud Babur

Satellite Engineering Design Project

Can 8th graders design a satellite that will protect an egg during launch, flight, and landing in less than 30 minutes and without buying any new materials?

Yes, they can! Will they survive? 

8 out of 16 survived the launch, flight, and landing. Good work engineers. 

Monday, March 7, 2016

Looking Towards College

We've been talking about colleges and how our choices in high school impact the number of colleges available to us as high school seniors.

NWEA, the organization that does the MAP testing has a tool that is interesting. By placing their current MAP scores in, they can see which schools match their learner profile at this moment in time.!/vizhome/NWEAcollegescorecard/Dashboard1

Staff vs. Middle School Basketball Game

From Mr. Weaver: 

The 5th Annual Staff vs Middle School Basketball game is next Thursday, March 17th! This is a great time to promote physical activity outside of school as well as provide a place to help build a positive school community. If you have not been to this event in the past, it is something you do not want to miss. It is a regular basketball game with a small twist. Along with the basketball game, there is also a fun halftime show and a chance to win prizes! Space is limited in the gym for the event. Tickets went on sale last week, so please get your ticket early to guarantee your spot. You can purchase your tickets from me in the mornings, during PE, or after school. I will give you a ticket and write your name down on a sheet just in case the ticket gets lost. I hope to see you there. 

Staff vs Middle School Basketball Game

March 17th, 2016

CHPCS gym (seating will be on the stage and black benches)

6:30 - 8:00 pm

$1/person (unless you are a middle school player or 5th grade helper)*

Snacks, raffle, prizes, and halftime games (raffle tickets and snacks are $1 each)

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Family Reading Night

Thank you to everyone who joined us for Family Reading Night. It was a pleasure to see so many middle school students there. You're never too old to enjoy a good book.

Believe it or not the staff managed to take the win in the staff versus student BOB battle, thanks to Mr. Vieira.

If you took pictures of students in their costumes, I would love to have them!

The Importance of the Character Selection Page (NON)

The very first assignment for Night of the Notables is the character selection page. While it seems so simple, it is truly the most important step, as it sets you up for success. Let's take a closer look at each section. 

The top section shows you when your designated time period is and when your character selection page is due. Character selection is done on a first come first served based, so you'll want to make sure you know your due date. Also, choosing someone from the right time period will prevent delays. Our time period is post World War II. That means the highlight of the person's career was after World War II. 

This is the brainstorm section. Yes, it must be filled out completely. Often 8th graders come in to NON season with an idea of who they want to be, but we are asking you to take a wider look. There may be someone else out there that you will fall even more in love with. A simple Google search  of "notable scientists of the 20th century" will give you a list of people to start looking at. The idea is not to put the first name you see down. The idea is to read through a summary of a 4 or 5 and write down one that seems interesting. While we do not use Wikipedia as a reference on a research paper, it is perfect for this initial step. Fill in ALL the boxes. 

Section 3 is by far the most important, and the one most often skipped. Choose your top 3 people. Fill them in in the first column. Now, do the work to find out the answers to the rest. The second column asks if there are at least 3 books in the library about your person. To find out, go to and search using the person's name as the keyword. If you're in Clackamas County, go to and do the same. If there isn't three books between the two library systems, you need to choose a different person. You will not have enough information to write a quality paper and meet the requirements of NON. Next it asks you who you could interview. Don't just give a general answer "a history professor", actually look up the name of the person you're going to call. If you say "their manager", I'd better see the name of their manager. The magazine search is a simple Google search "magazine articles about XYZ". You want to put the name of the magazine in the box. Seriously, this is the section you can't shortcut. Having all of these resources available to you will make NON a simple yet meaningful project. 

Also in this section you will find the parent signature. Parents, this is your chance to say "I'm uncomfortable with this person" and have your child choose someone else. I highly recommend a quick read of the wikipedia page about the two notable figures your child has chosen. As teachers, we do not know what your family beliefs are, so we rely on you to say no if you are uncomfortable with them. 

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Upcoming Field Trips

We have 5 field trips left this year! If spring fever is blooming at your house, please remember that students who have chronically late or missing work will need to stay on campus instead of attending field trips. Now, let's talk about the fun things! 

March 17th - Portland Art Museum and Oregon Culinary Institute
Oregon Culinary Institute lesson on formal etiquette and a visit to the art museum for an art lesson. We will be leaving school at approximately 9:30 and return by 1:30 in time for American Bandstand. 
Dress Code - DRESSY (skirt and heels, slacks and button up shirts with ties)

Scheduled Chaperones: 
Mrs. Haight
Mrs. Peterson
Mrs. Vanek
Mr. Crittenden
Mrs. Richardson

April 22nd - Downtown Scavenger Hunt
For this  field trip  I will need 5 adventurous parents. The parent chaperones need to have extreme self control because this particular trip will be challenging, both for the students and for the parent. 

Teams of four (and one adult) will be making their way around the city using only public transportation. Along the way they will need to complete tasks, find information, and work together while attempting to be the first team back to school. 

If you are adventurous, willing to stand back and watch the students figure things out while ensuring safety, and are available on the 22nd, please let me know right away! 

It's going to be great fun and one huge learning experience. 

This much fun can't be educational right? Wrong! Students will learn/practice: 
1. Using public transportation (MAX, bus, and street car)
2. Self reliance
3. Using maps
4. Reading charts and tables
5. Teamwork
6. Budgeting
7. Reading labels
8. Problem solving
9. Effective search terms
10. Questioning techniques

Dress Code: Regular Uniform

Scheduled Chaperones:
Mr. Crittenden

April 26th - Bonneville Power
BPA Lab Tour in Vancouver, Washington. We will be leaving school at 8:30 and returning by 12:30.We will miss lunch on that day, so will have students pack lunches.  

Scheduled Chaperones: 

May 13th - Opal Creek Hike
Annual middle school hike. 
Dress code: jeans or shorts with class t shirt

Scheduled Chaperones; 

Night of the Notables Kickoff

What We're Learning This Week


1. Continuing with the life in the 50's projects.
2. Cuban Missile Crisis
    By the end of the week students should be able to:
  • Understand the significance of the Cuban Missile Crisis
  • Assess the roles of Kennedy, Khrushchev, and Castro in the crisis
  • Analyze primary and secondary sources
  • Consider lessons from the missile crisis for today
Don't forget that our American Bandstand will occur on the 17th of March. Students are encouraged to dress up, but not to spend a lot of money on costumes. We'll talk about costuming tomorrow in class and there will be a full blog post about it this week! 


By the end of the week students should be able to: 
  • Understand that sound is a form of energy that travels in waves referred to as compressional waves
  • Understand that sound waves can travel through different mediums, including solids, liquids, and gases
  • Understand and observe that sound waves travel in a given direction until an outside force or object gets in the way of its motion and reflects it
  • Observe a variety of sound waves in lab stations and record their observations 
  • No paper this week, instead we'll be focusing on refining mechanics. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Dr. Seuss' Birthday Costumes

Yes, the rumors are true. In honor of Dr. Seuss' birthday students are invited to dress up as their favorite literacy character tomorrow. The guidelines have been discussed extensively in class but here they are again!

1. Costume must be based on a BOOK character. No movies. If their is a book and a movie, the book had to come first. So Coraline is fine, but Star Wars not so much.

2. Costume must be appropriate for school. That means students need to be able to participate in PE, sit in their chair, write, and eat lunch.

3. No weapons, not even foam or cardboard ones. This includes bows and arrows, swords, boomerangs, etc.

4. Students should bring a copy of the book their character is from and be prepared to share a portion of it.

5. Do not spend a bunch of money on a costume. Be creative, borrow things or used recycled materials.

Students do not need to wear their uniform under their costume and may wear face paint.

I look forward to seeing who everyone decides to be.

Scale Drawings in the Real World

Today in math we learned how to create scale drawings. We then took it to the outdoors and created scale drawings of our play structure.