January 20, 2018

Fast-Forwarding to New Units

Dear Families,

This week marked the beginning of a bunch of new work!

In social studies, our focus fast-forwarded hundreds of years to study the beginning of Westward Expansion, when the U.S. got really excited at the prospect of expanding westward past the Mississippi River. We are focusing on the fact that during Westward Expansion, Native Americans were already living throughout the land, but their history was changed forever, and in a pretty negative way, by the diseases the new settlers brought with them and how the United States government relegated them to small parcel of lands. We’ll also be focusing the Lewis and Clark expedition, Sacagawea’s role in the expedition, and that’ll take us into studying the Oregon Trail after the New Year.

Speaking of Lewis and Clark, our work in reading is on historical fiction. Students are working in book clubs reading different books about the Lewis and Clark expedition. Some of these books include Who Was Sacagawea by Judith Bloom Fradin and Dennis Brindell Fradin, Seaman: The Dog Who Explored The West with Lewis & Clark by Gail Langer Karwoski, The Captain’s Dog by Roland Smith, and Sacajawea by Joseph Bruchac. I’m reading Number the Stars Lois Lowry as a mentor text and using this book to help teach students about the important elements of historical fiction like setting, specific time periods, and how other elements like problems/conflicts and themes are present.

In writing, Mrs. Carroll and I are working on helping the students grow as opinion writers. This week, students wrote an essay where they made to claim about a subject of their choice and worked to support that claim with reasons and evidence. Some examples of what students wrote were gorillas are better than hippos, the high beam is the hardest part of gymnastics, Yu-Gi-Oh is the best card game, and lastly, one that speaks to my soul, is bacon is the best. We’ll be working fast and furious over the next three weeks. Students will publish an opinion piece and we will celebrate their hard work in another Publishing Party on Thursday, December 21st at 2:45pm. More details to come, but mark it on your calendar now so you can join us.

The Book Fair is coming next week, but you can actually come this weekend as well. This Saturday, 12/2, the book fair will be open from 8am to 12pm during the “Breakfast with Santa” event. You can shop the book fair online as well here. If you’re interested in volunteering at all to help out during the Book Kair, the PTA is looking for volunteers. You can sign up here. Our class will be checking out the Book Fair Monday afternoon, but they will be able to purchase items later in the week if they are not able to persuade you to give them $10 by Monday.

I’ll be putting the finishing touches on progress reports this weekend. I plan on sending them home by next Wednesday 12/6. I will send out an email to alert you when you should be looking for those in the abyss that is your child’s backpack.

The fourth and fifth grade student council is leading a food drive to help families in need this holiday season. If you have nonperishable items at home that you could send in and donate, they will go towards a great cause and help local families immensely. We’ll be collecting items until Thursday, December 14th.

Have a great weekend,

Mr. B


Idiom of the Bug: As Snug As a Bug In a Rug

Vocab of the Week: croak, frantically, sneer, eon

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.