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Kaleidoscope – July 2020

Kaleidoscope – July 2020

The Many Wonderful Things Happening at Rainbow

The Kaleidoscope Communication

As I sit to write my very first Kaleidoscope to you all, I can’t help but pause to reflect on the very nature and context evoked by the name of this publication. The etymology of the word Kaleidoscope comes from the Greek kalos, meaning beauty; eidos, meaning that which is seen in form or shape; and skepeo meaning to examine. So through my words today and into the future, I hope this communication will serve to explore the evolutionary shape of Rainbow. May it surface the potential and realized beauty that exists within, between, and beyond us all.

Our Reopening Plan

Our Reopening Plan has been shared widely and your feedback has been greatly appreciated. We intend to revise the hybrid model proposed for remote learning. Several families shared that this model would create a burden on transportation, and thus become significantly less viable for them. We are working on a revision and will share this with families soon, along with any additional details to the plan. Of course, it was disappointing that the Governor was not yet able to share more specific direction for schools; however, we are feeling confident that we will respond accordingly when guidance is released.

Kaleidoscope – May 2020

Kaleidoscope – May 2020

Time

Time, during isolation, has taken on a new dimension. It seems to have life of its own, sometimes dragging us along on its adventures, other times dragging us down into the abyss.

April lasted for months, and suddenly, now it is time to graduate!

Since the beginning of time, humans have marked its passage with ritual. Ritual helps us to set the rest of our life aside and honor the present moment as the most important time. Although we cannot conduct our beloved graduation rituals together this year, my wish is that your family set time aside during graduation day so your child can feel how important this time in their life is. Every child experienced this time of learning in isolation differently. Some resisted, some suffered, some thrived. Your child, in their own special way, accomplished something challenging during this unique time in history, and they will be recognized.

This year’s science fair is going to be awesome!

This year’s science fair is going to be awesome!

The science fair has some great experiments going on.

The annual science fair is always a fun event. Across grade levels, all students participate and present their projects to the other grades. All students – whether individually or in groups – are responsible for coming up with testable ideas, hypotheses, drawing conclusions and interpreting results.

It’s not always so easy to come up with something that is both interesting and challenging. But, we have a sneak peek of our Omega 7/8 students doing just that.

We visited their classroom recently to see them testing and working diligently on their science projects to get ready for the upcoming science fair. In the Omega classroom, students were working in four different groups on a specific science experiment they chose.

Proving that gases have weight

This particular group set out to prove that gases have weight by using combustion. They weighed out pieces of wood and magnesium before burning. Next, they put each one to flame and tested their weight after the burning process.

Their prediction was that the wood would weigh less, and the magnesium would weigh more.

Omega students set out to prove that gases have weight by burning wood and magnesium, while comparing the weight of each before and after the burn process.

Engineering a Reptile Egg Incubator

The idea behind this science project was to engineer how to transport a reptile egg from site A to site B while using heat chemistry. The goal was to keep the egg stable and warm, as it could not shift position or roll over, nor could it endure temperature fluctuation.

The incubator required calcium chloride, baking soda and water. Students needed to measure whether they could detect temperature changes after they dissolved calcium chloride, and baking soda into water. The eggs needed a constant temperature of 28 – 32C during transport and being able to maintain temperature for a certain amount of time was an important consideration in this investigation.

Two of our Omegan students work on their project: Engineering a Reptile Egg Incubator (with heat chemistry).

The Digestion of Minerals in the Stomach

This group began their science class by heating up small glass pipes and bending them to simulate the “pipes” in human digestive systems. Once complete, they would then mix hydrochloric acid and marble to observe the reaction (much as it would happen in the stomach). The last step was to measure the resulting water and carbon dioxide from the process.

Above: Two Omegans heat and bend glass pipes to simulate “pipes” of the digestive system.

Below: All the materials needed to complete their investigation.

Testing for Vitamin C Content by Titration

Are you curious about how much vitamin C is actually in the things you buy? This group set out to answer those questions by testing how much vitamin C is present in various common beverages through a titration technique. Students used an indophenol solution to determine the presence of vitamin C by how much the color changed. The various beverages they tested included freshly squeezed lemons, limes, and oranges. They also tried orange juice found in the grocery store, and sodas that claimed to have Vitamin C.

This Omega group is checking the presence (and amount) of Vitamin C in common beverages using titration.

The Results

The results from each of these experiments is the subject of the upcoming science fair. You’ll have to check out the Omega 7/8 classroom to find the conclusions to burning magnesium and wood, how to maintain temperature in an egg incubator using chemical reactions, what happens to calcium carbonate when it reacts with hydrochloric acid in the stomach, and how much vitamin C is really in our common drinks. Check Rainbow Reminders for science fair details!

November Kaleidoscope

November Kaleidoscope

Renee Owen has shared a Kaleidoscope for November 2019. We invite you to take a look on the Rainbow Community School main website.

The article talks about ritual at Rainbow, in terms of parent meetings, Halloween, Day of the Dead, and more. In looking at ritual, Renee explores why: to aid in transition, to emphasize interconnectivity, and to mark rites of passage. There is a video of how students honored the white pine tree on campus, which died over the summer, with a song and blessing. Other topics include the Authenticity and Wholeness Training teachers are engaged in throughout the year, self-compassion and love.

Omega Students Discuss Character Strengths & What Makes a Changemaker

Omega Students Discuss Character Strengths & What Makes a Changemaker

Character Strengths & Being a Changemaker

Recently, Omega 7/8 students gathered in a circle in the Social Studies room to talk about their character strengths, how all that ties in with learning, and being a changemaker. In a previous class, they watched a short video about the Science of Character. In this class, they looked at their own character strengths as a way to look at themselves as they are now, and who they want to become. They completed a “periodic table of character strengths.”

As students gathered in circle, their teacher, Jason, asked them for a willingness to be a little vulnerable as they embarked upon a conversation that would certainly involve sharing personal information about one’s character – not a task that’s so easy to do. Our Omega 7/8 students, however, were up for the challenge.

character strengths

Omega 7/8 students ponder questions about character strengths and about being changemakers.

Jason posed quite a few questions that made students really look at how or why they do the things they do. “Why explore character strengths?” was one question he asked, to which students answered, “Many current changemakers have these strengths and that can help others become changemakers themselves and live out their truth.”

Character Strengths at School and in US Culture

Another question: What character strengths do you think are valued at our school? They answered with a number of terms:

  • creativity
  • teamwork
  • kindness (especially in wanting everyone to feel welcome)
  • leadership
  • spirituality (through centering and other activities)
  • perseverance
  • honesty
  • love of learning

Jason followed up with, Are these the same character strengths that are valued in our culture? For a few quiet moments, students pondered their responses. Several offered their insights: “these are supposed to be values in our culture, but it doesn’t always happen that way. We’re supposed to be kind but you don’t always see that, and through some of the language and actions were seeing, kindness is not always there.”

character strengths

A few student examples of the “Periodic Table of Character Strengths”

J: Does that make it hard to value certain character strengths?
S: If you believe in these values, sometimes it’s not always easy to stand by them.

J: Which strengths are important to have or develop in a digital world?
S: Creativity, social responsibility, and gratitude. With social responsibility comes the idea that one must think critically in response to what’s online. It’s also important not to take for granted everything that comes to us as “easy.”

Fixed vs. Growth Mindset

Jason invited the Omegans to reflect on the idea of a fixed mindset versus a growth mindset the video covered as a topic. A fixed mindset is the belief that you cannot change who you are. A growth mindset is the belief that you can. This was a segue into the next probing question:

J: Is there an area where you have a fixed mindset about something?
S: Yes. When you don’t feel like you’re good at math or reading, that you can’t draw, or that you always procrastinate to get things done

J: Is there any character strength that might help you shift out of a fixed mindset?
S: Yes: perseverance in which you keep trying to do something. There’s acceptance, where you accept that perhaps a subject isn’t your favorite but you can keep working at it. It’s an opportunity to be gentle with yourself and accept that this is where you are. Still, there’s curiosity. If you have a certain belief about something, such as “I’m not good at math,” you can adopt an attitude of curiosity.

J: When you’ve failed at something, how did you feel?
S: Anger, directed at the self, or it’s possible to even feel like a failure. Feelings of discouragement, being scared, or being fearful can happen, too. Being mad at yourself, however, won’t get you anywhere.

Learning from Failure

At this, everyone paused. Jason offered words of wisdom, as well as encouragement: These emotions can and do arise. It’s even possible to let fear get in the way of you trying again. This can be a great opportunity for self-reflection in which you ask, “what could I have done differently? What can I learn from this?”

J: Is it okay to fail?
S: Yes. We can learn from it. But it can also be hard.

J: What is it that you want to achieve?
S: That is a hard question: it makes you think about the future. Perhaps write a book. Be the smartest person that ever lived. Maybe doing a job that you “like to do” instead of something that is forced. You can make goals for yourself.

character strengths

A small poster hangs in the Social Studies room – a relevant question when determining character strengths.

Again, Jason offered his wisdom as their teacher. It’s up to you to find your truth. You also need to determine what lights you up. The way to grow your strengths is to be around others who have strengths that you would like to develop. 

As students concluded this portion of their lesson, they pensively began other projects. They demonstrated such wisdom and a complex understanding of life and its lessons. This is something we’ve come to expect of our Omegans: they embrace the journey and take charge of their learning in all Seven Domains. It is in that spirit they use their internal wisdom to guide their decisions as they navigate academics, the adolescent years, friendships, and so much more.

5 Reasons to Attend the Omega Open House Nov. 12

5 Reasons to Attend the Omega Open House Nov. 12

 You can learn so much at the Omega Middle School Open House

Our Omega Middle School Open House is right around the corner. We hope you will take some time to be part of this event, no matter your child’s grade in elementary school or middle school. It gives you an opportunity to see a Rainbow / Omega education across the grades, culminating with the 7th and 8th grade years in which students engage in larger projects, presentations, and leadership opportunities.

What made me a supporter of Rainbow, was the kids’ strong sense of self. They knew who they were and were not. They knew their strengths and weaknesses. And even though high school and college brings its own set of social and educational challenges, the students I met were at peace with themselves, ready to take on the challenges of young adulthood with confidence and determination. —Bill Drew, parent of a current 5th grader

Here is this year’s schedule:

Morning Session
8:30 – 10 am

  • 8:30 – 8:45 coffee/tea/chocolate in the auditorium foyer
  • 8:45 – 9:00 short presentation about Omega Middle School
  • 9:00 – 9:30 tour classes in progress
  • 9:30 – 10 Q & A with current teachers & students back in the auditorium

Evening Session
6:30 – 8:00 pm

  • 6:30 – 6:45 – pizza and salad in the auditorium foyer
  • 6:45 – 7:00 – short presentation about Omega Middle School
  • 7:00 – 7:15 – tour classrooms
  • 7:15 – 8:00 – meet recent graduates and ask questions with our alumni panel

The five big reasons you should come to the Omega Open House:

1. Meet teachers

During the school year, it’s not always so easy to speak with a teacher who is not attending to other tasks – students, planning, teaching, training, in a meeting, etc. Having their undivided attention to answer all your questions about what they teach and how becomes such a gift! The open house provides you this opportunity. Meet all the teachers in our Omega Middle School: Susie (division head), Susan, Jason, Niki, Justin, Lisa, Jenny, and some of our specialists.

open house


2. Meet students

We love opening up our campus so that you can meet students and see how incredible they all are. The programs and curriculum in the Omega program allows them to explore their interests more in-depth through our regular academic program and through our electives classes. We have extensive electives courses and our students can tell you about them.

open house

3. Meet recent graduates

You also have an opportunity to hear from recent graduates who can give you candid answers about how prepared they felt for high school. They can share about their Rainbow experiences, the transition to high school, and tell you much more about their academic and extracurricular careers as a result of their Rainbow / Omega experience.

You can get a great feel for how this works with our past alumni panels who have spoken at other Open Houses:

 

4. Visit classes

On the morning of the Open House, you can see classes in progress. On any given day, students engage in different experiential activities involving collaboration, problem solving, math, language arts and social studies.

omega open house

5. Get all your questions answered

We cannot stress enough the value in being part of an event like this. You get to see the “whole Rainbow story” and how proud we are of our young students and who they grow to be.

Last year, one parent attended and felt so moved by the event, he wrote a long letter of how this event alone helped him decide on a middle school for his child. Take a look! at Bill Drew’s Testimonial Letter.

We hope you will join us for an evening of connection, information, and fun! We’ll have door prizes and other giveaways, too!