February 19, 2018

Make a Mountain Out of a Molehill

Dear Families,

It’s hard to believe that we only eight school days left until Winter Break. Then again, it’s hard to believe that I moved to Oregon eight years ago, I have a cat, and got married this summer…

We started three new huge units this week. In reading, we started a non-fiction reading unit with an emphasis on the weather. Like my own mother, Mother Nature is an unpredictable entity that can surprise us, shock us, embarrass us, and leave us in awe. Through the lens of weather, it’s the goal that we will strengthen our ability to read and understand non-fiction text. When you think about it, a majority of what we read is non-fiction. From menus to advertisements, news articles to manuals, all the way to political campaign flyers that speak as much truth as a three-year-old with crumbs around his mouth, non-fiction is everywhere. I’m encouraging students to read a non-fiction book as their independent reading choice, both at home and at school. So far, I have seen students reading a biography on gymnast Simone Biles, books about how the human body works, and books about sports. Check in with your child to see what nonfiction topics they are interested in reading. Furthermore, bring them to the library if they need a book!

In conjunction with our reading unit, our new read aloud book is National Geographic’s “Everything Weather” by Kathy Furgang. We’re learning all about Earth’s atmosphere, how weather works, storms, etc. I’m supplementing the reading of this book with videos galore so we can match our reading with clear visuals that show weather in action. This week, we learned that stratus clouds reign supreme in Oregon from November until eternity every year.

Speaking of book fairs, the Book Fair is coming to Corbett next week. Students will be able to visit the book fair on Monday 12/5 at 9am. Feel free to send them to school equipped with some money. However, they’ll be able to purchase books and other goodies, like erasers in the shapes of basketballs or a poster of Ariana Grande, all week long.

Social Studies has morphed into Geography, where we are briefly reviewing how humans have migrated all over the world over the past bazillion years (I rounded). By learning about groups like the Vikings, and figures like Attila the Hun and Genghis Khan, we’re getting ready to embark on an “Amazing Race” around the seven continents.

In writing, we’re getting our argumentative skills on! Now, you may argue- every pun intended- that your child already does a phenomenal job arguing. I spend hours with them every week. I’m not about to disagree with you. However, arguing isn’t a bad thing. It truly gets a bad rap. Stating a claim and supporting that claim (belief/opinion) with evidence and reasoning is the heart of our new writing unit. Just like preparing to read non-fiction, our goal is to help students become skilled in making a statement and supporting it. This is key for future success in school, but more importantly, in society.

Corbett’s P.T.A. is a wonderful organization that supports our school in a variety of ways. They’re sponsoring the Book Fair next week, which funnels money right back into the school in the form of books for our classrooms. An easy way to support our school and the P.T.A. is by sending in Box Tops that you may find on many of your household products like food or tissue boxes. It’s easy, quick, and simply requires a pair of scissors and another reminder to issue to your kid before they walk out the door.

Enjoy your weekend!

~Mr. B


Idiom of the Week: Make a Mountain Out of a Molehill

Vocabulary of the Week: Extreme, Climate, Condition, Drought



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.