Setting Off

February 18, 2018

Setting Off

Dear Families,

We jumped right back into the swing of things this past week after a nice and relaxing Winter Break. I hope that you were able to enjoy the time spent with family and friends. On my end, it was nice to spend every day with my l’il four-month old. Time certainly flies.

In history, we continued our focus on the Corps of Discovery (Lewis and Clark). Our studies are paralleling the expedition itself. Before Winter Break, we learned about the events leading up to the expedition, and now we’re “setting” off from St. Louis, upstream on the Missouri River. Last week, we learned about the plants and animals that the expedition “discovered” in the Great Plains. Examples include osage orange, bearberry, prairie dog, and buffalo. You may’ve noticed that I put discovered in quotation marks two sentences ago. Clever, right? I did that because the millions of Native Americans that were living on this continent before European immigrants inhabited it were already very familiar with the plants and animals of this continent.

We were able to finish reading Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. It’s such a great book. I highly recommend you check it out if you’re unfamiliar with it. We’re also very close to finishing Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli. A major theme of both books is social acceptance. Number the Stars is set during WWII in Denmark and thus focuses on the haunting truth surrounding the Holocaust. Maniac Magee takes place in a nondescript Pennsylvania town whose residents are willingly segregated. A major theme of this book is racism. As we’ve discussed at-length, the book isn’t racist, but it’s about racism. I explained to the class that I can define racism, but I can’t really explain it. It’s an unfortunate part of our society that is still prevalent today. Our subsequent discussions have been enriching, deep, and many students have been left with more questions than answers. These books serve as powerful and effective tools to discuss these important societal issues.

Corbett Middle School’s Travel Club is hosting a movie night fundraiser on Friday, January 26th. It’s free, and you will be able to purchase snacks and raffle prizes.

As a reminder, new spelling words were administered last Tuesday. Students will be assessed on those words Tuesday morning.

As another reminder, there is no school tomorrow, Monday, January 15th in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Mr. B

Idiom of the Week: A Dog-Eat-Dog World

Vocab of the Week: succession, trek, lambast, scene

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.