Monday, August 17, 2015

Welcome Letter


As the saying goes, “Allow me to introduce myself.”  My name is Mark Richner and I will be your child’s teacher for the upcoming fourth grade school year.  I wanted to take a few minutes to say “hello” and to give you a brief overview of some of the projects that await us. 

I love teaching at Lewis Elementary School!  I am originally from Madison, Wisconsin, where I graduated from the University of Wisconsin with an elementary teaching degree and then taught in the Madison public schools.  Evie, my wonderful wife, got into grad school to pursue an art degree at the University of Florida and we moved south.  During this time, I got my masters in elementary education while working at a school with elementary students and teacher candidates in the University of Florida elementary teacher preparation program.  So I have taught students from age five through 23!

Evie and I have two daughters who were born this past May named Norah Lee and Twyla.  They are the loves of our lives and keep us busy these days with plenty of coo conversations and songs like Itsy Bitsy Spider and This Little Piggy Went to Market.  This summer we took time to visit with friends and family, including my parents and Evie’s parent’s, Evie’s sister and brother-in-law here in Portland, and my brother who lives in Seattle.  We made it out into the woods and took care of a few projects around the home.  I worked on some projects connecting to the classroom curriculum and read a number of fantastic books.  I’m excited for this new school year!

While projects and activities will vary over the year, the main emphasis of the room will be on helping the kids become strategic learners.  You will hear the word “strategy” and “system” often over the year.  It is my goal as a teacher to not only help kids understand and master the prescribed curriculum, but I want them to be independent, curious learners as well.  One way to achieve this is to help them initiate, plan, and carry out projects, paying attention to the strategies they use along the way. 

We will have many classroom projects this year.  We will participate in Lewis’s Outdoor Classroom.  The garden will be a springboard into several studies of our local, natural world.  We will also attend a number of field trips, learn about the great state of Oregon, have weekly art activities, and meet up with our first grade buddies.  So, as you can see, we already have several major projects and events planned.

It’s going to be an exciting school year.  Be sure to follow us on Twitter @LewisRoom20 for daily photos and look for regular updates at, including a roundup of Photos From Our Week and our weekly newsletter called Classroom Notes.  I look forward to seeing everyone soon.

Mr. Mark

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