February 23, 2018

Pangaea! Volcanoes! Paragraphs! Oh My!

Our classroom-published book on Alfred Wegener’s theory of Pangaea and the discovery of continental plates is close to being finished. We’re wrapping up the design of the back and front cover and will be laminating them next week! I’m looking forward to our students being able to take turns and read the book to the primary classes.

After Pangaea, we’re moving on to understanding the different landforms that make up this cool planet of ours. While there are a huge variety of landforms that this planet is covered in, like mesas, mouths, deltas, alluvial fans, and hills, we’re focusing specifically on the landforms that are nearest and dearest to our hearts, or I should say our homes. We’re placing a major focus on volcanoes, waterfalls, mountains, and canyons. Starting with these landforms, we’ll learn what makes them so unique, how they’re formed, the impact they have on where we live, and how they affect our planet.

In Writer’s Workshop, we are continuing to write fast and furious. Nope. This has nothing to do with Vin Diesel. It has to do with the fact that we’re learning how to write, write, and write. We’re not simply writing because we have to complete a paragraph. We’re learning how to more effective and successful writers. This week, we placed a major focus on how our writing can be split into different subtopics. We’re use to calling them paragraphs and that’s still the case, but instead of saying “Now write a new paragraph”, we’re learning that our paragraphs are parts of story. Each paragraph is a subtopic. And when we write in paragraphs, we’re taking our writing and giving ourselves more opportunities to write in-depth. I’m excited to see the progress students make in writing as the year continues!

A huge shout out/thank you/props/standing ovation/tip of the hat/toast/bow goes out to Teri Rykken, Anne Wand, and Jill Dorrough. Teri volunteered on Thursday morning to put together the art books using the fabric that Jill and Anne so graciously donated. Then she took them home over the weekend to continue her hard work. As Michael Jackson once said, “You rock my world.”

Lastly, it was a pleasure meeting with you this week at conferences. If I didn’t get a chance to meet with you this week, I look forward to meeting with you. While conference week is certainly long and arduous given the fact that I spend more than 12 hours at work in a day, it’s extremely meaningful and I treasure the opportunity to sit down with families and talk about the goals we have for our children and students.

As you make plans for the weekend, please make sure your child studies their spelling words for a mere 10-15 minutes each day. While they are our “spelling” words, they are also our reading, writing, and overall-just-improving-our-literacy-skills words. Your child is studying words that are catered to their individual spelling development. It will not only help them become a better speller, but reader and writer as well.

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.