Fur Trapping and Researching Our Claims

February 18, 2018

Fur Trapping and Researching Our Claims

Dear Families,

Our field trip on Tuesday to Ft. Vancouver was really enjoyable. It was great to be immersed in an environment that helped us fully visualize what life in the Pacific Northwest was like when fur trapping was all the rage, and people were moving to the area in droves. Thanks to Chad Wright, Lizeth Martinez, Stephanie Cress, Stephen Gomez, and Shirley Baxter for joining as chaperones. I’ll be updating my Instagram account (mr.barnard) later this weekend with pictures.

Next week, we’re going to launch into a new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) project. This one seems quite simple on the surface, but once we get going, students are going to discover that it’s more challenging than it first seemed. We’re going to take a simple 8” by 8” piece of blank white paper and cut it in particular ways that make a snowflake. We’re then going to test the snowflakes to see how long it takes them to descend from a designated height. To prep for this cool project, I’m reading the book Snowflake Bentley. This book is about a Vermont photographer who became famous for his photos of snowflakes. It’s a special book for me to read because I grew up a few towns over from where he did.

Our new writing unit is an extension on our previous one about argumentative writing. Students are working on making a claim and supporting it with reasons and evidence. A big part of this unit will focus on learning how to research in order to gather evidence that supports our claim. Mrs. Carroll and I will be working in small groups throughout this unit to help students strengthen specific writing skills that they need to strengthen. For example, some students need to write stronger conclusions, while other students need help and extended practice on using transition words.

Our studies about the Corps of Discovery (Lewis and Clark) took us to the Rocky Mountains. While we got to study the expedition within the confines of our heated classroom, which protects us from nature’s element, the members of the Corps of Discovery experienced the rugged Rocky Mountains in all its glory. They were swamped with mosquitos, plagued by early snow, and had to figure out a way to cross the mountains before winter really began to roar. We also learned about big horn sheep, bitterroot, and Ponderosa pine trees.

I will be resuming my paternity leave at the end of next week. This means that I will be spending every Thursday at home with my little goober while my wife returns to work. Mrs. DeMott will be the guest teacher every Thursday (and Friday school day) for the remainder of the school year. Please be sure to include her on any your emails with me if they pertain to Thursdays in any way, like behavior, academics, and changes in pick-up plans. (Continue to tell the front office if pick-up plans change because we can’t always guarantee we will read the emails during the day). Her email address is the same as mine, but starts with tdemott instead.

If you don’t have plans tonight, consider checking out the Middle School Travel Club’s Movie Night. It’s a fundraiser for their trip to Europe this summer. Admission is free, but there are cool raffle prizes and snacks available to purchase. Enjoy your weekend!

Mr. B

Idiom of the Week: Playing Cat and Mouse

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.