January 19, 2018

Blackberries , Speeches, and Care Packages

Dear Families,


We wrapped up our opinion speeches last week. Students will be giving their speeches at various times over the course of the next two weeks during times like Morning Meeting, Writing, and Afternoon Meeting. As a way to model how speeches should be delivered, we’ve watched some speeches on the internet and also watched some speeches in person. Isabel Rickert, currently an eighth grader in the middle school and an older sister to an intermediate student, came in to read her eighth grade speech to the class on Wednesday. Her speech was on focus, and how environmental factors have both affected her focus and helped her better utilize her focus as she’s grown up. There was a prop involved in the form of a clay brain, lots of eye contact, and as the students shared, amazing vocabulary and figurative language. We’ll have another eighth grader come in next week and give their speech.


Next week in Gorge Studies, we’re going to start a unit on simple machines that will last roughly two to three weeks. This unit will lead us into our BIG scientific inquiry project focusing on Rube Goldberg. For those of you that are unfamiliar with Rube Goldberg, I highly recommend that you enter in his name into Google or YouTube and enjoy what you find. Students will be working in groups of three to four students. They will have to create a Rube Goldberg invention following the scientific inquiry process. During the last week of school, which is only six weeks away, students will display their invention. We’ve been talking about it A LOT over the course of the year and the class is really excited for that project. The unit on simple machines will help build and strengthen students’ understanding of machines in preparation for the Rube Goldberg project.


Speaking of Rube Goldberg, we would REALLY APPRECIATE it if you could start saving the following household items that we will need: paper towel and toilet paper rolls, empty two liter bottles, and any unused dental floss. Emphasis on “unused.”


Three middle schoolers, Megan Sergent, Heather Flannagan, and Emmy Bunnell, are doing a service learning project where they are preparing care packages for members of the military that are being deployed to the middle east. An informational handout went home last week, but if you’re interested in donating any of the following items, please bring them in next week: little games, used comic books, non-perishable foods, hard candy, girls’ deodorant, personal wipes, Chapstick, nail polish, boot socks, granola bars, sunflower seeds, almonds, shaving razors, and cookies.


On Thursday afternoon, the wonderful E.C.O. duo of Betsy and Sarah returned. Our class went out on school grounds near the outdoor classroom to work on removing blackberry bushes. A very invasive and tasty species, blackberry stifles other plants’ abilities to grow and prosper. They’re basically the bullies of the berry community. Last year, we worked on removing them using clippers. This year we moved back into the same spot and used shovels and clippers to remove the roots and the bulb from the ground so they wouldn’t grow back. Nothing says a great time like clothes covered in dirt.


Lastly, May 2nd, which is a Friday, is a school day. That is when we’ll be going on the Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler and we’ll go on a hike in the Gorge afterward. At least we’ll be outside if we have to come to school on Friday. This school day is to make up for the Monday that we’ll have off at the end of May in honor of Memorial Day.


Enjoy the rest of your weekend,


Mr. B

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.