Arabic Instruction starting at the Middle School

We are very excited to announce that middle school students are receiving Arabic instruction courtesy of the FSU Arabic Department outreach program. The six-week program will be provided by FSU students under the supervision of  faculty member Dr. Defne Bilir. Topics include names (written in Modern Standard Arabic), numbers, greetings, colors and flags, some vocabulary, and celebrations. Activities include calligraphy practice, number games, role‐play, matching activities, and dance.

Students collecting donations for animal shelter

Students are collecting donations to bring to the Tallahassee Animal Shelter. Students will drop off the donations and tour the shelter December 18. Students will be split into an older and a younger group, one starting with dogs and the other with cats. Thanks to everyone who has already donated, and to those who haven't, there's plenty of time left before the field trip. The Animal Service Center and Foster Program's wish list includes:

  • Bath towels (all conditions)
  • Blankets (all conditions)
  • Bleach
  • Wet wipes (Lysol or Clorox)
  • Paper towels
  • Canned dog food (pate style)
  • Dry kitten food (Iams & Royal Canin preferred)
  • Grain-free dog Fffood (dry and canned)


Jr. Thespians participate in district Festival

Thank you to all the parents, grandparents, and friends who turned out at Godby High School on November 6th and 7th to support our Thespians! It was great to have so many well-wishers in attendance. The play 4 a.m. received high marks for acting and an Excellent rating over all. Emily received a Superior rating on her Solo Musical piece, and Excellent ratings were earned by the pantomime Supersquad, the small group musical Officer Krupke, Emma's monologue, Trevor's musical theater solo, Riley and Grayson's duet acting scene, and the ensemble acting scene of Trevor, Robert, and Kevin. The kids enjoyed their ribbons but most importantly learned how to work hard together, analyze text, challenge themselves, and function as a team.

We appreciate all the support from family and friends to make this possible. Special thanks are due to Art McConnell and Casey Gooding, who provided expert coaching; to Ursel Homann, for making sure our Keystone Cops looked spiffy and bringing snacks to rehearsal; to Jodi Wilcof and Lerena Fleck, who created custom t-shirts so that we could enter the festival in style, sewed costumes, and helped at rehearsals; to Sue Ray, our most experienced chaperone; and to Sarah Wilson and Jenn Branham, who made sure no one went hungry.


Front Room News, Week of 10/19

by Pam Maldonado & Juni Bambach

  • Have you noticed that the plants in our box garden are beginning to grow bigger? Students have recorded in their science notebooks what they have noticed since we planted them a couple of weeks ago.
  • Sunflower students are excited about participating in lots of experiments for our new theme on energy.
  • Thanks for doing the home conferences with your Sunflower student. They worked hard preparing them to teach their family.
  • Tuesday, the Sunflower class got to participate in a drum lesson. It was presented by Music Therapy students from the FSU College of Music. We had fun! Thank you to Lori Gooding for providing this and future opportunities.
  • Halloween books are out! We have a whole basket of Halloween books as a reading choice for students. These books bring great joy to our Sunflower class especially when they read them with a buddy.
  • Yay! We got a new CD/cassette player! Thanks Jamison’s family, Marsha, for purchasing one for us. We will use it daily.

Back Room News, Week of 10/19

by Sally Cumper

The conference week has arrived, and it has been wonderful discussing your children’s many accomplishments. Our students are busy researching their chosen scientist/inventor, reading about them, and choosing important and relative information to write about in their personal biographies. We are encouraging students to gather information from 2-3 sources (1-2 internet and 1-2 books). Within our back room, we have books pulled on different scientists and have allowed students to print out information from Wikipedia on their scientist/inventor of choice. In some cases, students will have to get information from 2 reliable internet sources due to a lack of written information within our school library.

Magnolia's Halloween tunnel is still under construction and wonderful things are happening thanks to Juni, Casey, Julie running the Halloween guild. We also have some amazing families who have been volunteering their time after school and on weekends to assure that this year's tunnel is AMAZING! Thank you to everyone involved for your level of commitment!

Middle School News, Week of 10/19

By Paige Brey

  • Our FSU Italian students will be back this Friday to continue our Italian lessons. They were impeccably prepared and did a great job the first time they visited. The class will be first thing Friday morning, so please arrive on time. If possible, they would like our students to watch the video "Buon Viaggio" on YouTube again before our next lesson.
  • We will be leaving campus around 11:30 on Friday for P.E., returning around 1:30. Please pack a lunch that does not require the microwave.
  • On Tuesday, October 27, the students would like to perform a showcase of their individual scenes and monologues and preview our one-act play, 4 A.M. by Jonathan Dorf. Please check your calendar and let me as soon as possible if your child has a schedule conflict and cannot attend. The showcase will be at Unity of Tallahassee, off Crowder Rd. at 2850 Unity Lane at 7:00 p.m. Many thanks to Pam for securing the location for us, and to Rev. Bill Williams for allowing us to use the church.
  • The District 10 Jr. Thespian Festival will be held at Godby High School on November 6 and 7. Again, let me know if your child has a schedule conflict on any of these dates so that we can make any necessary adjustments. The festival organizers are willing to accommodate specific scheduling requests, but only if they know about them well in advance.
  • Thespian practice will continue each Thursday afternoon from 3:30 to 5 through November 4th. Individual scenes and monologues can also rehearse on Wednesday and Friday afternoons. Students should consult with their group members and sign up for a mutually convenient time.
  • All lines for 4 a.m. should be memorized by tomorrow (Tuesday, October 20) and lines for individual scenes and monologues are due on Thursday, October 22. Students may substitute memorizing lines for their regular 30 minutes of reading each night.
  • Current Events returns this week as usual.
  • Many thanks to Jodi and Lerena for making sure we have awesome attire at festival again this year.
  • They have helped the students choose a t-shirt design and will be coming to school at guild time to facilitate the printing.
  • We're also grateful to Jodi and Lerena for organizing and implementing Parent's Night Out and the Star Wars winter break camp to raise funds for middle school activities. Please take time to read their e-mails and let them know how you can help.
  • Amid all this excitement, our Energy Theme continues apace. Students have conducted experiments exploring potential and kinetic energy and played "Energy Bingo" to learn about different types of energy and the Law of Conservation of Energy.

Endlessly Changing Energy, Week 3

Our new theme, Endlessly Changing Energy, is entering its third week. During Theme Circle, the 20 to 30 minutes front- and back-room students spend together at the beginning of their Exploration period, they ere / will be introduced to light and Thomas Edison during Week 2, heat, Robert Bunsen, Anders Celsius and Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit during Week 3 and the energy of life, Gregor Mendel and Barbara McClintock during Week 4.

Science experiments had / will have to do with radiant energy, endothermic and exothermic reactions, and biology. Last week, front room students built a model of the eye, experimented with bending light, compared the light from a candle to the light from the sun, built a kaleidoscope and observed a radiometer. Back room students explored reactions absorbing or producing heat, using baking soda, calcium chloride, vinegar and iron oxide. Students from both classrooms spent their Exploration period together on Thursday, rotating around stations demonstrating various behaviors of light.

The elementary school field trip to Simpler Solar Systems has been postponed to Thursday, October 29th.

The middle school students have been exploring similar topics, using the scientific process more systematically: predicting, observing, recording, and thinking critically about the results. Their field trip to Simpler Solar Systems will probably take place in November.

Director's Corner: 30th Anniversary party

The second part of 2015 may go down in the books as the sweetest period since the founding of the school, even though the first part may stand as the most painful, so much so that, for a while, a celebration hardly felt timely. The brave 30th Anniversary Party committee, however, received the right encouragement at the right time, made the right decision and plowed through, so a party did take place at the Miccosukee Land Coop on Saturday and it was…the sweetest! It was a wonderful day, and not just because the weather was gorgeous, the music great, the food scrumptious, and the kids busy having fun on the playground or with the cakewalk. Some people were dearly missed, but there were plenty of old-timers and current students alike to remind us all of the school’s 30 years of accomplishments.

Seeing the friendly faces in attendance and feeling their support was healing and re-invigorating. I (Sophie) was particularly pleased to meet Judy Renwick, The Magnolia School’s very first teacher, whom Susan introduced as the person without whom the school would not have started!

The party could as well have been dubbed “Saturday at the Park with Susan and Irwin” because of the setting on the peaceful lawn of the Coop Community Center, because of the outdoor stage, and because the party was also an opportunity to celebrate them both.

Susan was surrounded not just by friends, including two members of her Threshold Choir with whom she sang a couple of songs; but also by her husband and both her children, Magnolia alumni, who were present.

And our dear Irwin, whose health lately has prevented him from coming to school to sing to the children, had three of his former students, now fairly accomplished musicians, play bluegrass and provide an accompaniment for the songs he sang himself. Susan and Irwin went home each with the signature of all participants on a card or a T-shirt, and with an appreciation basket full of carefully selected goodies.

Susan has declared she had a wonderful time. Please join me in thanking Jodi Wilkof for chairing the planning committee of the event, and all the other committee members for making the event happen. Nicole McDermott and alumna Melanie Leitman supervised the food, Jan Davis the setup, Sue Ray the cleanup, Paige the entertainment, alumna Zoe Linafelt the PR, Lerena Fleck the fundraising, Jenn Branham and Joe Wooley the parking, and Betsy Voorhies the first aid. Kelly helped Jan set up a “historical table,” gathering historical materials that Paige and helpers put together; Sue Ray created a slide show of pictures past and present; and Denise Wooley took tons of photos.

Thank you also to all the people who contributed to the potluck and the cakewalk and to all the volunteers who helped set up and clean up.

Your attention please, week of 9/21

Middle school field trip

This Friday, the middle school is going to the Sharing Tree to sort supplies as part of their Service/Leadership curriculum. They will then go to a park for team-building games.

Making Music Together

Please join us on Friday, October 2 at 1:00 for a lunch-time concert on the middle school lawn. Each class is planning to sing a song for you and to perform a short musical play that they have been working on during our music theme. The program should last about 30 minutes. Children will eat lunch at noon that day in order to give them time to play before the program. Bring a lawn chair or blanket to sit on. We hope to see you there!

Hopkins Power Plant

The Hopkins Power Plant has an Open House on Sunday, October 4, 1:00–5:00 p.m.

Thank you for considering taking your kids to this event, as this would be the perfect way to introduce our new theme on Energy, to start Monday, October 5!

Making Music Together Week 4: Pitch

We are already starting week 4 of our “Making Music Together” theme. Week 2 focused on contrasts. Students learned about tempo (fast/slow), volume (piano/forte), staccato/legato, and steady beat/rest. They also learned about and heard music from the composer of the week: Giovanni Gabrieli.

Week 3 focused on rhythm. Students learned about rhythmic notation, rhythmic dictation, and dividing beats. At math time, a number of them also explored fractions and note values (whole, half, fourth, eighth). The composer of the week was Johann Sebastian Bach.

Week 4 focuses on pitch. Students will experiment with their voices, with glockenspiels, and with boom-whackers; they will also build the staff. The composer of the week is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Each week, one exploration period is devoted to instruments practice and rehearsals.

With all the essential concepts introduced, week 5 will focus on making music together, using glockenspiels, boom- whackers, and the recorders from Juniper’s guild. The composer of the week will be Ludwig van Beethoven.

Guest speakers

Adam Berkowitz visited Magnolia last Thursday.

Brian Hall (from the FAMU Music Department) will be visiting this afternoon at 1:30 p.m. to present and demonstrate a series of string instruments.

Music matters

Florida Standards on Music include the following statements:

  • Connections among the arts and other disciplines strengthen learning and the ability to transfer knowledge and skills to and from other fields.
  • Creating, interpreting, and responding in the arts stimulate the imagination and encourage innovation and creative risk-taking.
  • Development of skills, techniques, and processes in the arts strengthens our ability to remember, focus on, process, and sequence information.