Sunday, July 3, 2016

Letter from the White House

Dear Families and Students,

I hope you are all having a happy summer! I am loving my cookbook and so many wonderful gifts from all of you!  I was overwhelmed by all of the kind words and special gifts. Thank you all so much for thinking of me and my family during this special summer for us!

On another note, had to write and share some exciting news. The week after school got out I found a large envelop in my mailbox from the White House! It was addressed to Jia Slovic.  After all of the letters we wrote this year to President Obama, various high schools, the Washington Redskins, and many others I had been disappointed that not one of you received a letter back, until this arrived for Jia.

I excitedly called Jia and her mom and asked if they could come down to school to open it.  Here is what she received:

Congratulations Jia, and all of the children who wrote letters, on making your voices heard!  I hope that all of you will keep writing letters when you feel strongly about issues that arise throughout your life. My Grandpa taught me that if you don't at least try and send a letter you'll never know if you can make impact or not!

Missing you all!
Much love,
Ms. B

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Packing Memories of 3rd Grade

Dear Families,  We have had a wonderful last two weeks! We enjoyed being with one another and celebrating all our time together this year. I want to thank you again for sharing your children with me and, to send you off with a poem that guided me each day that I've spent with them...

Here are some of the parting words from the kids:

"Yesterday when we packed boxes it felt like we were packing memories of 3rd Grade".                    -Victoria

Leoni- I always remember how we were there for each other.

Jia- If I needed ideas or teamwork, all of you helped me, you were there for me.

Catherine- You've been a great class.  I'm really proud of our panels. Everyone had to compromise, make it interesting and include facts. It was hard but fun. The final was beautiful! We laughed a lot together in 3rd Grade.

James- I got better at cursive this year. I enjoyed camp.

Jonathan- All of 3rd Grade was fun.  I want to take the memories of the play with me!

Soren- You have all helped me at least once this year.  I will remember this class for a long, long, long time.  I will also remember our play and how we thought of it all by ourselves.

Lily- I didn't know all of you very well when we started but I grew to know everyone well. I laughed a lot and that felt really good. I will miss not being in the play

Ada- I will miss all of you and Ms. Baker. I will remember finishing the play. It was a big part of 3rd Grade.

Flynn- This has been a special school year for me. I had a wonderful time with all of you. You brought me a lot of joy to my heart!  Will- Thank you Flynn!

Theo- I am really proud of my cursive. Goodbye everyone and everything.

Aaren- See you this summer hopefully! I will remember how this was the 1st class in 3rd Grade to make a real play.

Ben- This is the 1st class where I've felt like I've actually been friends with everyone. Now, I know that next year if any of you are in my class I will be excited because I know you all so much better.  

Peter- This was the best play I have ever done. I hope to remember it for a long time!

Quinny- In first grade I joined OES. I had no friends then.  Now, I know so many of you so well. I hope we can all stay together next year.  

Will- My brother said this class was going to be fun, and he was right, it was so much fun!  I wanted to be in this class and I will always remember it and the overnight!

Uma- The last couple of years it has been harder to make friends. This year it was much easier to make friends. I will take the memory of being the first 3rd Grade class to make our own play.

Charlotte- This year I started not knowing anyone.  I feel like all of you have helped me and I know you all so much better.  I will miss 3rd Grade.

Victoria- Last year, i didn't have a lot of friends. This year everyone let me in, and now all of you are my friends.  Yesterday, when we packed boxes it felt like we were packing memories of 3rd Grade.

Photos from our Last Two Weeks

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Last Days and Summer Suggestions

Dear Families,
In two and a half school days, your child will be officially “promoted” to fourth grade. How quickly this year has passed! I want to thank all of you for supporting and encouraging your child throughout this year. I have seen each and one of my students learn and mature in a myriad of ways. The fourth grade teachers are lucky to inherit such a creative and responsible group of students! A special thanks goes out to Kristina Davis, our room parent, for helping to organize volunteer opportunities throughout the year and for stepping in to help whenever needed. A heartfelt thanks also to all the parents who volunteered their time this year. I couldn’t have done it without you! I hope everyone has a restful and fun summer break and please be sure to stop in to visit next year.
Erin Baker
Empty Backpacks
Please be sure to send your child with an empty backpack and a brown paper bag on the last three days of school. They will need plenty of space to bring home the fruits of their labor!
Summer Reading Challenge

These forms were sent home in last Wednesday. You can download an extra form here
                 Last Day of School Schedule
                  7:50 - 9:05 Regular class
                  9:05 - 9:20 Recess & snack
                  9:30 - 10:30 Promotion Ceremony in the Chapel (please feel free to join us!)
                  10:30 - 11:00 Pack up, Closing Circle and Goodbyes (students only)
                  11:00 Dismissal from 3rd grade classrooms
A Note From Third Grade Teachers About Report Cards

Dear Parents,
This grade report reflects your child's growth since September and where he or she is in relation to third grade end-of-year expectations. End-of-year expectations are in the Parent Portal for your reference. Please do not consider the five letters on the report comparable to the A through F scale on the traditional report card. Below is how classroom teachers use the letters:
                                   E Your child's work is consistently above expectations in that area. There are proportionately few E's given.
                                   M+ Your child is consistently meeting our expectations, working independently with persistence, initiative, and self-motivation.
                                   M Your child is meeting grade level expectations. This is a good grade. Children feeling secure at this level can develop the confidence to be more independent learners.
                                   M- Your child is working towards grade level expectations. Your child may need extra practice over the summer. This is not a “failing” grade.
                                    R   Your child is not meeting expectations or showing sufficient progress in this area.   If your child is not already getting extra help in this area, we will need to make a plan for support.
One thing to keep in mind is that as the year has progressed, our expectations have increased. Spring grades measure your child’s performance against these increased expectations. If your child received a lot of M+'s and E's in the first term, this does not mean they will receive the same marks in the second term. A different grade this term does not reflect a lack of overall progress or growth. Considering the different developmental stages of children in third grade, one of the most important things we take into account is the progress that each child has made. We consider this progress, along with grade level expectations, in assigning grades.

As always, thank you for your support and please contact us directly if you have any questions about your child’s report.                
Click here for : Summer Suggestions!

Boredom is the fuel for creativity!

I'd love to suggest lots of time to play, unstructured time to feel bored, and explore. Many parents fear that their children might feel bored.  As a mother, I too know the all too common refrain and have to stop myself from trying to fix it for my kids. I have to remind myself that being bored isn't a bad thing.  One of my favorite responses to my own children on those long summer days when they say, "I'm bored!", is to say back, "I can't wait to see what you figure out to do! I bet it will be super interesting!"  

This response comes after we have spent time brainstorming what we want to do and accomplish over the course of the summer. We brainstorm fun things, places to go, people we want to spend time with, things we want to make, build, cook, etc...Then I make sure our art supplies are stocked with the materials the kids will need to make or do the things they hope to accomplish over the summer. 

Below are the links to some great articles about the importance of boredom that refer back to an early Community Talk our class had back on October 2nd:

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Video of the Play!

Here it is!  The video we took of the play:

Hidden Stories of Oregon  
Written and Preformed by the 3rd Graders of OES 2016

The best way to access the play is to click on the link and then download the file to your computer if you would like your own copy.  

The children have written amazing reflections about their learning as the wrote and performed the play that they will have to share with you at our Learning Celebration next Monday, June 11th at 8am.  Can't wait to see you there!


PS Please send a double grocery bag with handles to school this week so the children can begin to bring home some of their work that will not go into their portfolios.

Thank you!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Letters To A Child In the Past From a Child of 2016 and Bridges In Mathematics

As the end of the year is rapidly approaching the children and I are putting the final touches on a culmination writing project intended to capture their understanding, empathy, and connection to Oregon in the 1800's.  Here is the invitation the children received...

Your Charge: You are invited to begin a conversation, through writing letters, between yourself and a child character from the past.  You are to write to this child as yourself in 2016, and then to imagine writing back to someone else from the perspective that you have been dressing up as, or acting as, in the 1800’s.

Your goal:
·   To learn his or her story and pass it on
·   To have empathy for his or her experience of what life was like in the 1800’s
·   To think about what questions you have about what happened in the past
·   Gain greater understanding of why it is that people leave behind a place or people that they love

Guiding Questions:
  • What do you want to know about this child from the past?
  • How did this child and his or her family survive off the land and overcome the challenges of weather, geography and climate?
  • In what ways does your child of the past feel in awe of the wonders of Oregon?
  • How did other groups of people at the time experience some of the same events as your child of the past?

  • How can you represent at least 2 different perspectives through your letters?

Slideshow of Opening the Time Traveling Mailbox

This past week, on Monday and Tuesday, I attended a training on the new math curriculum, Bridges in Mathematics.  It was a fabulous training and I am so excited by the refined and engaging approach to teaching math.  I came back to class on Wednesday eager to show the children some of the new math strategies I had learned, that help to organize their thinking and build a deeper understanding of the relationship between numbers when multiplying and dividing.  The new tool for their mathematical tool belts is called, a Ratio Table. 

A ratio table looks like this...

Problem #1: There are 31 children in Dante's class. Each table in the classroom seats 4 children. How many tables are needed?
Problem #2 : Emily and Linnea help out on their uncle's farm. One day the hens laid a total of 85 eggs. How many cartons of a dozen eggs could they fill?

The goal of our current and new curriculum is to expose the children to multiple strategies to support the children to develop mental math strategies, to build off what they already know, as well as to eventually understand the standard algorithm.  We do not teach the standard algorithm for 2 and 3 digit multiplication in 3rd Grade. It is often brought up by a student who has already has been exposed to it so we talk about it as one of many possible strategies.  It will be taught more directly in 4th and 5th grade. It is one of the ways, to solve 2 digit multiplication problems and, at times it can be the most efficient, depending on the problem. Often the children are able to use other strategies,  such as partial products or the ratio tables, more efficiently and accurately. 

A recent problem that I gave the children was: 
                             25 x 14

The first solution offered by one of the children was to think of using quarters.  The student said, "Well, I know that is like saying 14 quarters.  I know that 10 quarters is 25 x 10 and that is 250. So now I know I just have to think about 4 quarters and we all know that is 1 dollar, or 100 so the answer is 350."  All of this was done in his head.

Below is an example of Mr. Arensberg teaching, what is a called a number string, it is intended as a way to support the children to build their mental math strategies and to use what they know to solve more and more sophisticated problems.

Friday, May 20, 2016

The Big Week Is Here!

The big week has finally arrived!  The students have been so focused and determined, working on timing of entrances and exits, working to respond on stage to the emotions of the other actors, and to improvise when a line gets dropped.  They have been feeling themselves into the minds of their characters, wondering what life might have been like in the 1800’s if they had been a Pioneer, Fur Trapper, Chinook, or Kalapuuyan.  We have done so much work behind the scenes in order to write a collaboratively written production based on historical facts and understandings.  

This is the first year of discovering a new process of play writing in 3rd grade. The children have embraced it whole heartedly and as a parent shared with me this morning, "The children have so much ownership over this play!" We, as a school, have embrace an inquiry based model that compels us to take risks as teachers and children, to try something new led by best practice and student inquiry. There is so much that you don't see in the 26 minutes that Room 36 3rd Graders are on stage.  The final performance is merely a snapshot of an all year process of developing an understanding of history and acting as an entire community.  

Along the way, I have tried to highlight the various steps the children have undergone to create this production, and I fear that I have not done the children justice in capturing all that I could have.  I want to take you on a photo journey of what we have experienced along the way to help you better understand how the students arrived at this point in time, to perform the play. These are just a few of the photos that capture our search for the stories of Oregon.

“Our play is like finding a box of hidden stories and we blew the dust off some of the stories, other stories we found we left dusty by not telling them in the play.”  
-Lily age 8

Slideshow of Our Journey to Write the Play!

Reflections from the Children After Dress Rehearsal...

How do you feel on the outside, how do you feel on the inside about our play?

Jonathan-On outside I feel proud and happy too!  On the inside I feel proud, excited and I don’t care if I mess up.

Victoria- On the outside I feel happy  and proud. On the inside I feel like doing a handstand because I am so happy and excited.

Cat- On outside I am excited. On the inside I feel excited to be a star in my own way. I am surprised we came so far. I was a little doubtful that we could write our own play. I thought the 3rd Grade had always had a pre-written play and I couldn’t believe we could write our own, but look we did!  I am nervous that people might not take our message seriously and that people won’t appreciate what we’ve accomplished. I am sad it will be over soon and I am excited to be done and do what’s next. It has been really fun.

Charlotte- On inside I am worried I’ll forget my lines. I’m not good at keeping lines in my head. I am scared and nervous because I have never done a play before. On the outside I can’t wait until it happens. I feel really happy and excited.

Uma- I am okay. I like pressing buttons for music. I am happy. I wish we had more time to do our play.

Jia- I feel really happy on the outside. On the inside I am nervous about forgetting my lines and not remembering things.

Lily- On the outside I feel happy and good about it.  On the inside I feel nervous, forgetful, scared and overwhelmed. It would be better if we had more time to do our part and more time to know our lines.

Ben- On the outside I feel really great about how we are doing. I feel pretty good about my lines. I feel a little nervous, but not as much after the dress rehearsal. I know we will do great. I have most of the lines memorized for the whole play. You all did so well today! On the inside I feel like my drawing, I feel like what if I forget a line. I will do what Charlotte did, just keep going. What if I switch the wrong slide at the wrong time?

Peter- On the outside I’m ecstatic for the play since we have been studying all of this all year. On the inside I worry that I will forget a line. I feel pretty confident.

Soren- On outside I'm feeling courageous and hopeful that we will all do great. On the inside I feel nervous that someone will miss a line.

Ms. B- On the outside I feel proud and happy too! I also feel serious and focused. On the inside I feel I will always remember all of you for helping me learn how to write a historical play with 3rd Graders. I am grateful to all of you for teaching me how to do this!

Flynn-On the outside I am excited about having a pro-stage, big audience and a projector.  On the inside, I’m nervous, a little scared, I have some anxiety that people might giggle at me and a little stress that my pants might fall down.

Will- On the outside I feel very frightened about it, that people will misunderstand. They might think it is weird or not understand it at all. I’m afraid that people will just think this is entertainment and won’t realize this has a message and history. On the inside, I feel horrified.

Some students chose to pass and keep their feelings to themselves. Others shared what they wanted to work on for the next performance...

Ben- I felt good about sound and volume, I did pretty well at stepping into my character’s mind. I think I could work more on that. I can slow down and memorize lines and clear voice and emotion.

Quinny- I think I did well with a loud clear voice. There were a lot of parts where I am reading off of something or listening, I could work on emotions.

Leoni-  I felt like I spoke loud and clear. I want to work on stepping into my character and speak slower and more clearly. Looking at other actors more.

Catherine- I think it really helped to perform in front of people, you have to be thinking ahead. I sometimes didn’t do that so I messed up. It was fun but, scary. I didn’t always feel safe.  I sometimes felt that the audience or people backstage weren’t focusing and appreciating all the work going into this.  Be louder, face the audience.

Flynn- I felt good about being loud and my enunciation. I felt like I was in my character.

Uma- I felt pretty good.  I had good expression in my voice. I need my 2nd part memorized. My first I have memorized.

Jonathan- I felt that people needed to speak louder because backstage I couldn’t hear people.  I also thought people need much more expression like they were actually there.  Think about the flood scene and image it is actually happening to you.  It is more entertaining.  

Peter- I did okay with loud enough. In the flood scene I could have acted more scared. I like it when it all came together today. I think once we memorize all our lines and a few more rehearsals we will get it!

Ada- I thought I could be a little louder and slower. I get nervous and I start going really quickly then I mispronounce things.

Charlotte- I think I did a good job on memorizing one of my hard lines. Next time, I can work on getting my voice louder and more clear.  I felt really good but I heard that someone was making fun of another class.

Jia- I felt like I memorized all my lines but one. I could of spoke louder. (Class- You were loud Jia! You were perfect!)  I felt a little nervous because I thought I would mess up but I didn’t really.

Lily- I felt like I memorized most of my line, I keep mixing up one line with another line. I need to work on not saying, wait no.  I felt really nervous because we had a crowd that stayed there the whole time. I felt like I was going to make a mistake.

Aaren- I felt like I did ok. I felt like I had my lines memorized.I spoke loud enough some of the times. I need to face the audience more of the time. Point my feet out!

James- I noticed that me and a lot of other people need to do is speak more slowly. When you get nervous you speak fast. I really need to work on not goofing off backstage.

Theo- I need to work on not goofing off backstage. I need to work on slowing down and saying my lines where I am supposed to say them. Make last line loud and clear.  I felt good seeing it come together.

Leoni- I thought it was really great, but kind of long. I really loved how we did it with all those facts. It was kind of interesting and it is hard to teach something and have it be inspirational.

Catherine- It is hard to teach something really important and be
entertaining at the same time and not have it be boring.

Day 2:

Lily:  I feel like our play is like finding a box of hidden stories and we blew the dust off some of the stories, other stories we found we left dusty by not telling them in the play.

Flynn- We would need 200 hours to tell them all.

Theo- Only get cues from teachers.

Quinny- I couldn’t hear my cues so we need to be louder.

Uma- A lot of people were talking so I was worried they would miss their cue.

Catherine- I couldn’t hear my cues either.  People could be seen who were backstage.

Victoria- Be loud on stage so people can hear cues.

Flynn- Not moving around so much backstage. Makes extra noise. More expression in voice.

Will- Look at audience when talking. Speak clearly with my whole mouth.

Charlotte- Speak louder. I need to work on line I forget. Practice after school.

Quinny- When someone in the audience smiles at me, it's hard not to smile back and I lose my character. What should I do?

Ada- Imagine you are talking to your dog.  

Ben- Look past them. Remember what Thatcher said, "Look at the Aardvark on the wall."

We hope you will pass on the hidden stories we blew the dust off! I also hope that you will share your families stories with your child!