February 19, 2018

Pack it In, Pack it Out

Memories associated with the end of the school year remind me of the end of a semester in college: you’re really excited to get to summer, you’re getting far less sleep than you normally would, you’re inundated with things you need to finish, while emotions and energy are running high. We’ve spent a significant chunk of time this week talking about the word expectations and what it means to be a third, fourth, and fifth grader as we’re faced with a lot of work to do and we’re more and more excited for summer. We’re working hard on preparing for our field study to Central Washington in addition to preparing for our unit on Rube Goldberg upon our return.

This past week, we finished our writing unit on opinion writing. The last assignment asked students to either write a persuasive letter, an editorial, or a petition. A majority of the students chose to write a petition. The process of gathering signatures chose to be really fun. However, it was a good opportunity to remind students that they don’t have to sign someone’s position if they don’t agree with it. On Wednesday, we had our final on-demand writing piece of the year. The on-demand writing piece is the final assessment of the writing unit. It’s used to assess a student’s progress in writing and the scores that they earned on that piece are reported on the third trimester progress report. One of my favorite parts of teaching is comparing the writing of students from the beginning of the year to the end of the year and seeing the growth that occurred over the course of the year.

We have completed roughly five activities on simple machines. We’ve discussed what a lever is, wheel and axle, how friction affects the force needed to move an object, and, more simply, how much force is needed to move certain objects. We’ve got a couple more lessons to go until we’re completely ready to start our project on Rube Goldberg. Please continue to send in toilet paper and paper towel rolls, empty two-liter bottles, and any random toothpicks that have been buried in your kitchen drawers for years for us to use for our Rube Goldberg project!

On Monday afternoon, Katey Kinnear will be in the cafeteria at 1:45pm to organize the food that’s been ordered for our trip. If you’re available to help them out, please swing by the cafeteria at the time. Thank you! Also, if you plan on dropping your child off at school on Tuesday morning, it would be awesome if you could help me in the classroom between 7:45am and 8:20am by grabbing a black Sharpie and duct tape and labeling all students’ bags with a piece of duct tape and their name. It will help streamline the packing and unpacking routines both at school and when we get to the camp.

Here are some last minute thoughts I wanted to share with you about the field study:


  • While the temperature could change between now and then, it’s looking like it’s going to be sunny and hot with current forecasts calling for the high 70s and into the 80s. This is both awesome and slightly alarming. It’s awesome because we get to start our Summer 2014 tans. It’s alarming because we get to start our Summer 2014 tans. (I’m capitalizing summer in this situation because it just feels right). We cannot put sunscreen on your child(ren), but that won’t stop us from persistently bugging your child to put it on. Please make sure your child has sunscreen labeled and packed!
  • It’s really important that students drink water A LOT on this trip. We’ll be doing a lot of walking, hiking, and moving around. Please make sure that they have a water bottle that is reliable and sturdy packed and labeled. We will be making sure they have more than enough opportunities to refill their water bottle.
  • While it’s going to be hot, it’s going to be cold in the Grand Coulee Dam when we take our tour. Students will not be allowed to go on the tour if they do not have pants, socks, and close-toed shoes. Again, socks with sandals don’t count. We’ll make sure that students have an opportunity to change back into shorts after their tour.
  • We’ll be staying at Delany Environmental Learning Center (ELC) at Dry Falls-Sun Lakes State Park in Coulee City, Washington. The phone numbers are 509-632-5583 and 509-632-5900 in the event that you’ll need to get a hold of us for any unexpectedreasons.



Thank you to everybody for your help in making this trip happen. I’m really excited for it. Please email me with any questions or concerns!



~ Mr. Barnard



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.