Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Classroom Notes


It was a snowy week in Portland and busy and productive week in room 20.  We began our Monday by sharing snow stories in a circle at the carpet.  The kids did a great job maintaining their focus throughout the past week, despite “visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads.”  All in all, we managed to get quite a bit done.  Here’s a look ahead to what’s on tap for the next two days, weather permitting.

Friday begins with the 4th Grade Family Breakfast and Sing-Along.  The 8:15-9:00 breakfast in room 22 is followed with a 9:00-9:30 sing-along in room 20.  For the buffet style breakfast, please bring a serving size of a store bought healthy breakfast item to share, such as pre-bought fruit salad or pre-washed small fruit, bagels and cream cheese, muffins, or granola bars.  Please do not bring sweets, such as donuts.  Teachers will provide drinks, dishes, and cutlery.  Please come by when you can and stay for the whole event or part.  A flyer included with last week’s Classroom Notes has more details.

Kids will be out in the garden with Ms. Kathleen for the next three Thursday mornings. We talked as a team about bringing warm jackets, hats, and gloves so that everyone can stay warm and enjoy themselves. I shared a quote that a kid said several years ago, “It all depends on your attitude and your gear.” We can’t control the weather, but we can control what we choose to wear and how we choose to approach the weather with our minds. All of this being said, please help your kid remember to bring a jacket, hat, and gloves so they are comfy out in the garden.

I wish you a very pleasant Holiday season.  The kids have worked very hard since September.  They have much of which to be proud!  They deserve a break (and I wouldn’t mind either!)

Team 20 will reconvene on Tuesday, January 3rd.  See you then.


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Classroom Notes


This week’s Classroom Notes is written by guest author, Sophia, who is Senior Editor of The Team 20 Journal.

Salmon Release Field Trip – by Sophia – Team 20’s salmon release field trip was last Wednesday. We began with a walk down to stop 75 right outside Lewis with a bucket full of salmon generously donated from Ms. Elisa and Ms. Rotwein. Once we got off the bus we hiked down a trail to the Willamette. We emptied our fish in the river and tested the water’s pH, which was a healthy 7, and checked the temperature, which was 45 degrees. Then we played a salmon lifecycle game. It was challenging but the more we played the better we got. Our schooling strategy worked best.

Regions of Oregon Travel Brochure – by Sophia – Team 20 has been working hard on our Regionsof Oregon Travel Brochures. We have picked out regions and worked in groups to highlight an informational reading. From there we are taking notes. We also worked on making maps to go with our brochures. Mr. Mark adds: This week, kids are taking their research notes and drafting paragraphs. We have also been looking at travel brochures and thinking about layout and design strategies. Rough drafts are due on Friday the 9th and final copies will be shared through presentations on Thursday, December 15th. More details about this project can be found on our blog

Our final day together in December begins with the 4th Grade Family Breakfast and Sing-Along. This event will take place on Friday, December 16th, beginning with an 8:15-9:00 breakfast in room 22 and followed with a 9:00-9:30 sing-along in room 20. For the buffet style breakfast, please bring a serving size of a store bought healthy breakfast item to share, such as pre-bought fruit salad or pre-washed small fruit, bagels and cream cheese, muffins, or granola bars. Please do not bring sweets, such as donuts. Teachers will provide drinks, dishes, and cutlery. Please come by when you can and stay for the whole event or part. A red flyer sent home last Friday has more information.

In other news, the Mercy Corps card fundraiser, which we joined, led by Ms. Kennedy and her class, was a success at last Saturday’s Lewis Holiday Bazaar. All told, $400 was raised for the organization to use to support people. During math, kids have been practicing strategies for solving multi-digit multiplication using a base-ten sketching strategy. Our Interaction art project is down from its show at New Seasons and is now up in “the dip” at Lewis for the month of December.

Last, but not least, a state testing opt-out form is included from the school with today’s classroom notes. If families choose to opt-out of state testing, they must submit this form to Tracy in the office before actual testing begins. Please be aware that you must mark on the form each test that you want to opt-out of. The statewide testing window for the Smarter Balanced tests is February 7 to June 9. Lewis plans to schedule tests to begin in late April and end by June 2nd. The district states that teachers can neither promote nor discourage participation in state testing; that opting out is a parent decision. However, if you have any questions about the tests, please do not hesitate to ask.


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Salmon Release Field Trip

Classroom Notes


Instead of the usual update, I’d like to use this newsletter to share more about the Eco-Critters Project that we have been working on as a class.

I have been enjoying the creativity that kids brought into their writing as they described their fantasy critters.  Just over a week ago, kids finished their Eco-Critter Essays, which introduce their critters and explain how their critter’s form fits its function in the ecosystem.  The names they have come up with for their critters are fantastic.  Have you ever seen a Callyhopper?  How about a Spiny Tailed Spike Arm?  The next time you’re at Forest Park, be on the lookout for the Urban Dot!  Keep your eyes peeled for the Samurai Pincher Blaster and the Purple Feathered Runner!  Oh, and watch out for the Snowcloud and Slitherio!

During the writing process, kids created webs to plan their paragraphs.  They did an outstanding job of organizing their main ideas and adding supporting details.  Kids then explained their webs to me during a conference and began writing their rough draft on their Chromebook, using their plans as tools.  They wrote several paragraphs, each beginning with a main idea (a table top) and supported by details (table legs).  Kids revised and edited together using a checklist.  Then I gave them feedback through comments in Google Docs and in person.  This feedback led to more revisions.

During the past week, we began talking about a plan for our exhibit in the Reed College Biology Building.  We’ve used a “projects as cooking” metaphor before in the room.  Often we need to remember to bake the cake before we ice it.  As the kids finished revising and editing, they declared that this project was “coming out of the oven.”  Then it was time to make the icing, our exhibit.

Team 20 served as tour guides to Reed College students yesterday at our Eco-Critters Exhibit in the Reed College Biology Building.  The exhibit will be on display for the next two weeks.  Here’s a link to photos of the kids sharing their work with the college students.  And here’s a link to the project introduction that Precious, Adam, and I wrote.

Please follow us on Twitter @LewisRoom20 and at LewisRoom20.blogspot.com for regular updates and photos!


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Eco-Critters Exhibit in the Reed College Biology Building

Team 20 served at tour guides to Reed College students today at our Eco-Critters Exhibit in the Reed College Biology Building.  The exhibit will be on display for the next two weeks. 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Eco-Critters Exhibit Introduction

By Precious, Adam and Mr. Mark

Welcome to Team 20’s Eco-Critter Exhibit. Our project began out in our school garden. Kids collected data about plants through drawing and writing. Back in our classroom we shared our drawings and what we noticed. We practiced doing really detailed drawings of flower and leaves, focusing on the different forms that each of these object had and how they functioned. On our following trip to the garden, kids had super detailed drawings. We were really observing carefully and thinking about form and function. Next we had a phytoplankton lab. Working in partners we created our own phytoplankton out of clay, pennies, straws, Styrofoam, and foil with the goal of reaching neutral buoyancy. This is because phytoplankton have adapted to stay close to the sun and move in the water column. To create our eco-critters, we used the information we had from the garden and our phytoplankton lab to make a fantasy creature that has its own forms and functions in an ecosystem. We used puff balls, straws, toothpicks, tissue paper, wiggly eyes, and other craft materials. We organized essays around the different systems that our critters all have: food/water, shelter, protection, communication, and movement. We created plans to organize what we brainstormed and used these plans for writing our essays in Google Docs on our Chromebooks. Thank you visiting our critters!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Classroom Notes


It was great to see all of you at Parent-Teacher conferences this week. The kids of Team 20 have worked very hard. It was good to share their stories and their successes. I learned a lot. I feel I know you and your child much better than I did at the start of the week. Thank you!  

We began our Monday by watching President Obama’s remarks on the election results and talked as a team about where we go from here. It is clear from our talk that some kids feel anxious or unsure about what is happening in our country and what this means for them. I shared some examples of how people that I know are working to go forward and stay strong. One example was how a teacher in our hallway added a sign over her door which reads, “All are welcome here.” That is a message that I want for Team 20, that we will continue to be a caring, respectful, and inclusive classroom community. I am proud of who we have grown to become as a team during these past two months. As a teacher, I will continue to support this growth and help kids learn how to work together, speak up when necessary, solve conflicts, and live with people who are similar and different from them so that they are better prepared to enter a world that is still learning how to do this.

Lastly is a reminder about our walking field trip from Lewis to the Reed College Biology Building to share our Eco-Critters Exhibit with Reed College science students on Tuesday the 22nd. Please help your kid remember to wear their Team 20 t-shirt!

Please follow us on Twitter @LewisRoom20 and at LewisRoom20.blogspot.com for regular updates and photos.

Wishing everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving,

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Interaction Art Exhibit


by Malcolm, Precious, and Mr. Mark

Welcome to Interaction by Team 20, a fourth grade class at Lewis Elementary School. We created interactions between a piece of paper, a Sharpie marker, a Chromebook, and our hands. We began by making a drawing on paper in a way that included our hands. We used the camera app on our Chromebooks to take the picture. To do this, one person would hold the paper and the other person who made the drawing would use their hand to make the interaction. This took a lot of teamwork to get the picture right. We saved our best interactions to our Google Drive and inserted them into a Google Doc. From there we cropped the pictures so that they only showed the paper and our hand and not the background of our room. We adjusted the contrast and brightness so that the image was black and white. We hope that you enjoy this exhibition!

Our artwork will be on display in the upstairs art space at the Woodstock New Seasons Market during the month of November.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Classroom Notes


We had another busy and productive week in room 20! Kids are continuing to write their eco-critter essays to prepare for our upcoming exhibit at Reed College. (More details on the exhibit below.) 

On Thursday we visited Reed College’s Cooley Gallery to see the work of artist Brad Kahlhamer. The exhibition featured a number of works including dozens of sketchbooks and a collection of small sculptures, what Gregory MacNaughton referred to as contemporary Kachina figures, which were made from objects found around the artist’s home in New York’s Lower East Side. Here are some photos from our visit

On Friday we shared two readers theater performances with our buddies in Mrs. Logue’s first grade. Kids are eager for our salmon eggs to hatch as part of Reed Science. Last week kids played a salmon life cycle game and concluded that being a salmon is tough. 

Also this week, kids finished making artwork using a piece of paper, a Sharpie, a Chromebook, and their hand. Our completed works will be installed in the upstairs art space at Woodstock New Seasons tonight and will be on display for the month of November.

Several flyers were included with today’s Classroom Notes. First is an invitation to join Team 20 on the morning of Tuesday, November 22nd when we serve as tour guides at our Eco-Critters Exhibit in the Biology Building for Reed College science students. 

Second is a flyer with a reminder of your day and time for next week’s conferences. The kids are working very hard, and I am looking forward to our talk together about all the fine things your child has accomplished! 

Third is a free pass to all federal parks, lands, and waters (e.g. national parks, like Crater Lake or Mount Rainier). This free pass, available to all fourth graders in the country from everykidinapark.gov, is good until the end of next August. Thanks to Laura Troxel for sharing.


Reading Survey