February 23, 2018


I have this vivid memory from growing up. Well, actually, it was a series of memories that all just morphed into one huge memory. My mom said quite frequently, “You’re very lucky Daniel.” What prompted her to issue this declaration was usually me requesting something more. If it was camping, I was probably questioning about local hotel choices. If it was being served salmon patties, it was just to remind me that getting a hot meal was a luxury in our society. Complaining about the family station wagon equals the sound logic of “at least” I have the luxury of using it. Overall, I was lucky. I always thought I was lucky because I won a bike in an Easter egg hunt competition when I was six years old, because I won a cake during a cake walk, and because I met LeVar Burton (Reading Rainbow and Star Trek: The Next Generation) AND Jaleel White (Urkel!) in New York City IN THE SAME DAY, and because I got that first class ticket that one time between Denver and Portland on United, but only after the plane that I was on the night before aborted take-off. That was possibly one electrical wire away from potentially much worse! Who needs a generator anyways?

My point is, I thought I was lucky, but not for the reasons my mom did. And, the students in the intermediate grades are lucky, but not for the reasons they’re probably thinking of. They probably think of iPads, macaroni and cheese, and sleeping in on Friday mornings. In fact, they’re lucky because of all the recent opportunities to learn in diverse and unique ways. This week, we followed up the overnight field study to Central Oregon with a presentation from renowned Portland State Professor, Geologist, and Author Scott Burns about the Missoula Floods. In a jam-packed presentation, Dr. Burns covered millions and millions of years of Northwest geological history with several pictures, different types of maps, and some great local sports references. Then he came into our classroom, and every other classroom, to answer specific questions like, “Can you tell me what type of fossil this is?”, “Where do you get to go as a geologist?”, and “What was it like writing a book?” Then the week ended by presenting their newly-published expanded small moment stories to Mr. Lewis’s class, and working with E.C.O. (Ecology in Classrooms and Outdoors) to remove invasive species from our Outdoor Classroom. Grilled cheese was served on Thursday, which doesn’t hurt either…

These students have been extremely lucky to participate in these types of opportunities to expand their learning, which has made it a privilege being a teacher. Next week, we’re going to continue to expand our knowledge with learning about Pablo Picasso, creating and publishing a classroom book on Alfred Wegener’s Theory of Contiental Drift and Pangaea, and reading more of J.P. Palacio’s gem Wonder as our read aloud. The plot continues to be dissected and twisted more and more. Here’s to another great week!

Dan Barnard About Dan Barnard

Dan Barnard hails from the Green Mountain State of Vermont where he grew up skiing, biking, and exploring the nooks and crannies of the woods. He learned to drive on his parents' station wagons, learned to ski at Smugglers' Notch, and developed a love for traveling by participating in school trips to France and New York City. He worked in many jobs ranging from ski instructing to babysitting to an after-school program that helped him decide he wanted to be a teacher.

He enrolled in Wheelock College in Boston, Massachusetts and earned a BA in Humanities with a focus on history and a concentration in Elementary Education. After working for two years in a suburban Boston community as a fifth grade teacher, he decided to move west to discover the beauty and bounty of Oregon. He worked for four years as a third, fourth, fifth, and sixth grade teacher in Mosier, Oregon. While working in Mosier he enrolled in graduate school at Portland State University and earned a MS in Curriculum and Instruction from Portland State University.