6th grade Seminar- Ms. Kayak

Posted March 1, 2018

For Parents of RRMS 6th Grade Seminar Students
& RRMS Tree Stewards

Saturday Field Study/Service Learning Trip, 10 March 2018                                                                        
This Saturday field study trip includes the following sites:

Rio Rancho Waste Management Landfill 
1132 33rd Street NE
Rio Rancho, NM 87144 
Partner: Steve Miceli,
District Manager, Rio Rancho Landfill

City of ABQ, Open Space Division, Service Learning Project 
3476 Gabaldon Pl NW Albuquerque NM 87104
Partner: Kyle Bality, Education Coordinator

Petroglyph National Monument 

Boca Negra Canyon, Atrisco Dr NW, Albuquerque, NM 87120                                                     
Partner: Susanna Villanueva, Park Ranger

All costs, with the exception of lunch and snacks, are covered by a generous grant from Waste Management (transportation) and the waiving of all fees by our partner organizations. Students MUST bring a lunch, snack and reusable water bottle. We will have extra water on hand for refills. We suggest layered clothing with a windbreaker and comfortable sneakers. Sunglasses or a brimmed hat are good ideas.

Details of Site Logistics, Tentative Schedule & Goals:

1) Students arrive at 8:30 am at the front of RRMS to board school bus. We are not entering the school building. You will see the bus in the bus pick up lane along Loma Colorado Blvd.

2) Students visit the RR Landfill from 9 to 10:15

3) Students work at a service learning project at ABQ Open Space from 11:00 am to 2:00, with forty minutes for lunch

4) Students visit and hike Petroglyph National Monument from 2:30 to 4:00 pm

5) Return to RRMS approximately at 4:30 pm...

1) First stop is close to RRMS, at the City’s landfill for a tour conducted by Waste Management staff. Student learn of the landfill’s role in the City, permitting and management, methane production, lifespan and recycling efforts.                                                                                                                 
2) Our service project is with ABQ Open Space. Students will be restoring riparian habitat just north of I-40 (3476 Gabaldon Pl NW Albuquerque NM 87104). There will be a short walk from the paved drop off point to the planting location. Students will pole plant willow and cottonwood trees to help revive the bosque. Most of the tools and gloves will be provided for the students; the RRMS Tree Stewards will take extra gloves and tools on the bus.

The students will place their backpacks and lunches by the truck on the work site, and there are many great spots to eat lunch proximate to the river.

3) Our third and last stop is at Petroglyph National Monument, Boca Negra Canyon (off Unser Blvd. NW, one-quarter mile north of Montano Rd.) at the second parking lot. Park Ranger Allison will meet our group, interpret the petroglyphs and hike with the students. We will examine the growth of Albuquerque, its boundaries and challenges to growth, look at the cardinal points, etc.

We are looking for parent volunteers to chaperone, aiming for a ratio of 1 adult for every ten students. This is a RRMS Tree Stewards/Seminar experiential/environmental ed field study trip where the students will blend learning in civics, ecology, cultural history, botany, urban studies, biology, ornithology, environmental planning and sustainability, etc.

Dec. 18:

Seminar students showed their Depth of Knowledge (DoK) regarding pollinators and pollinator-friendly plants last week, by acing the Quizlet (read: "semester final") and by providing additional questions for incoming spring seminar students. In the last week of school they wrote haiku, read up on Rachel Carson, heard a Chris Jordan TED Talk and tried some green chile calabacitas and mole poblano with rice and Fritos (read: "salt"). Warmed tortillas are a good addition.

They also received a variety of bulbs to plant (caladium, onions, elephant ears, hostas, shallots, daffodils, garlic, etc.); either inside on a "seat" of gravel or outside in a yard. Water is key in the desert and elsewhere; here in NM, we don't take precipitation for granted.

We started discussing paying it forward on September 11th, and this truly captures the essence of the holidays (year-round): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yn9VxUPlC5g 

 is our TED Talk for winter break, and we hope that students choose another TED Talk that is meaningful to them to bring into school.

Service learning goes forward at: 

St. Felix Pantry: All Saturdays, 7-9 am, 4020 Barbara Loop SE, Rio Rancho, NM, Manuel Casias, 270-1366, helping to stock/organize food and clothing area, check-in with Mauro Torres @ the Pantry


On A Wing and a Prayer: Call first! 470 Paseo de Corrales, building wild bird rescue habitats with licensed bird rescuer. Mikal Deese, (505) 897-0439 or (505) 480-7777.

Have a serene and joyous holiday season, enjoying your family and friends. 

Posted Nov. 29:

Cottonwood Gulch is excited to be able to offer day camps during
Winter and Spring breaks!

-hiking and exploring the natural world
-outdoor art, music, craft shop
-rock climbing
-mountain biking
-wilderness skills

Optional camp out night for the whole family! Join them for 3 days or the whole week!

For more information, visit www.CottonwoodGulch.org/day-camps

On Thursday, Nov. 16th, seminar students received a free ReUse shopping bag, to take action in reducing plastic waste that will never biodegrade in natural habitats. A huge thanks to parent Kelly Grimando, who facilitated the donation of the ReUse bags to our seminar classes.

In each student’s bag were three natural objects: an Afghan pine cone, a honey locust seed pod and the center anatomy of a variety of sunflower. We hope these three gifts of nature will be the start (or the compliment) to each student’s own nature collection. In December, we will explore the area east of the RRMS campus to find good stone examples of a variety of specimens to add to it. The more we explore the natural environment and understand it, the more likely we will strive to protect our resources.

Students are researching Aldo Leopold’s impact on the wilderness areas of New Mexico, and his influence on wildlife management in the entire United States. They have been invited to submit an essay on a local land ethic leader who is working, here in New Mexico, to create better conditions for the land, water, plants, rivers, etc. Note that in addition to a grade for the essay in seminar class, there is a February 9th deadline to submit the essay for the statewide Aldo Leopold Writing Contest. Seminar class is teaming with all sixth grade English Language Arts teachers to align our essay-writing rubics to best serve students in this endeavor.

On Monday, Nov. 20th, all seminar students enjoyed a pre-Thxgiving treat, eating wind-pollinated popcorn, wind-pollinated corn in Fritos, bee-pollinated nopalitos and pumpkin seeds from bee-pollinated squash. What a feast, and all students tried their “hand” at using only chopsticks to nourish themselves.

We have learned that through “co-evolution,” both pollinators and their flowers have specialized to accommodate the others’ pollination needs! Amazing biology moments abound!

We are wrapping up our pollinator unit with a visual feast of Georgia O’Keeffe’s flowers, Chris Jordan’s Running the Numbers environmental art, student pollinator posters and their pollinator-friendly garden vestibule art. December will fly by, so please be on the lookout for agenda-based recommendations for enriching service learning and free museum hopping for the holidays.

Do you know that RRMS fielded a team for November 18th's BIG Event?
The BIG Event is when students from our middle and high schools go out into the community to help our neighbors clean up their yards and fix up their gardens at homes where sometimes the owners are physically challenged or elderly. We met at RRHS' bus parking lot at 8:45 am, were driven by school bus to the neighbor's yard with all the tools necessary to complete the job, had snacks and water provided to us and we got to nap in the afternoon when the jobs were done.

This is the 10th year that RRHS Student Council has organized this cool and fun event. No wonder they win student council national awards so often!

Next November you'll have another opportunity to assist and gain community service time for your new resume and for your clubs.

Good exercise, outside fun with friends and a job well done! Thank you MJ, Tristan, Judah, Gabriel, Seth, Destiny, for getting out and helping your neighbors! 

Parents: Thx for lending us your popcorn makers. 

Dear Students, Parents & Guardians of Seminar Students,

Welcome to the RRMS Sixth Grade Seminar Class for the Fall Semester! Sixth grade is a huge transition time for students coming from one teacher to many, neighborhood school to The Big Middle, generalists to individual content teachers and to many more friends in the making. It seems overwhelming (expect a few naps?) but before you know it, our capable, resilient students are going with the flow and thriving.

The 10th annual BiG Event is coming soon! Click here for more info! We would like to have a RRMS 6th Grade Seminar Team of students to contribute to this event. Can your student join us?

This November, seminar students are getting DEEP into Depth of Knowledge (DoK) writing. To see the chart they are using to gauge their DoK click here.

All sixth grade seminar families have been invited to use Remind.com to communicate with Ms. Kayak for class info, notices, service learning and events. Your student was provided with a code that enables you to connect with our class in an easy and efficient way. Please check with your student to sign on and learn of classroom topics, happenings, fun events in and around our school community and so much more!

This month, the month known for harvesting and our national holiday to celebrate crop abundance, students are studying the challenges to pollinators across the nation. After brainstorming the multiple issues for bees, bats, birds, butterflies, beetles and other pollinators, students are offering solutions to our losses of bee colonies, habitats and nectar supply. Ask your student about our Wild Friends Study Guide and what New Mexico is doing to help pollinators thrive in our state.

On November 3rd, students looked at a time elapsed video of a bee developing from the egg to flying from the hive: click here.
On November 6th, students viewed a TED Talk on Why Bees Are Disappearing, for you to view here.

We will be sampling some corn, squash & beans this month.

Corn, beans, and squash are called the “three sisters or tres hermanas.” Native Americans always inter-planted this trio because they thrive together, much like three inseparable sisters.

We will also try nopalitos (cactus) and as a writing prompt, we sampled fortune cookies!

Corny, but true:
The students will challenge their fine motor coordination by using chopsticks to eat their popcorn! Do you have a popcorn maker we can borrow the week before Thxgiving? Please send it in and we will return it to you the following Monday.

Update on the Seminar Pollinator Garden: A BIG THANK YOU to the RRPS Facilities Grounds Crew for supplying two mulches to amend the "soil" outside the 6th grade wing! On Nov. 9, all seminar students worked the land, loosening the compacted sand around two desert willow trees and correcting erosion around the sidewalk. By the end of the day they were singing:

"Oh we're not going to rake it, 
No, we ain't gonna rake it
Oh we're not gonna rake it anymore!"

Who knew they are familiar with 80's rock?

We are happily receiving donations of seeds, outdoor pollinator-friendly pesticide-free plants and birdfeeders/bird houses. Ask your student for the list of optimal southwest pollinator plants that we are placing in the garden in the spring of 2018. They can be found in their Wild Friends Pollinator Study Guide, which is coming to a house near you over the Thxgiving Break.

Thx to Bunny Martinez's donation of seeds, soil, lights and more to our Nature/Nuture Classroom & pollinator project. WE APPRECIATE YOU!

We have a lot to be thankful for this season, and students are writing about their fortunate experiences. Ask for their writing at the end of the month!