Friday, October 23, 2015



The 3rd Grade Team has been wondering:

How will we write a play that helps tell some of the unknown stories of Oregon history?

We decided to begin by immersing the children in wonderful places that are rich in historical stories.





What historical stories did you find and imagine when we were at the Cathapotle Plankhouse?


Peter- I discovered that they could make ink from the oak galls, Lewis and Clark were walking down a path. They are out of ink for their journals. They see Cathapotle people and they show them how to make ink from the galls.


Quinny- I imagined a little boy who lives in the plankhouse. He has 6 siblings. It is hard to live in there, it is so crowded. A man comes through the door forward because he doesn’t know to come in backwards, everyone is scared because they don’t know him.
Ms. B to Quinny- I am curious to see how you resolve that misunderstanding?


Lily- In my story a girl’s parents die when she is little. The tribe takes care of her, she asks to go outside and she goes off and wanders off into another village. She went in forwards to another hut because she thought it was her village. People were scared of her, not notice that she was a little kid. They almost killed her, I am acting as her, next I will write that the tribe felt sorry for her and take care of her, they adopt her.


Leoni- I am thinking about a boy who lives a pretty normal life back then. Someone comes in forwards and everyone freaks. They got their spears ready then stop because that person didn’t mean harm, didn’t recognize him because he fell in the mud,
Ms. Baker to Leoni- I wonder how you might explain more clearly why they did not recognize him?


Jia- I’m a girl who is very hungry. My father goes on hike to get oak galls to get ink for my mother who is writing a letter and runs out of ink. The girl was trying to find her father to see what he was up to. She found him and said, what are you doing?  He said, I’m getting galls for ink for mom. They were still talking and the girl told her dad then that they needed to go to find food.
Ms. Baker to Jia- I wonder what you will do next? Jia- I will add that she needs to tell her dad why she is hungry and that they are running out of food.


Will- I imagined an ant story, a boy was drawing the ant, the boy was thinking about the ant’s ancestors and wondered, was it here when the Cathapotle were here? The ant says yes!  The ant went into Cathapotle houses then went on to donut rock- weight for fishing- the boy was holding the rock and the ant was there and talked to him.
Ms. Baker to Will- What will happen next? I can’t wait to hear more.


Soren- I wrote about a boy. He has lots of family members who are busy in his house. He goes out one day with a cousin and dad. They go to a lake and see birds circling looking for fish, the birds dive down and they watch them. One comes out super fast and it has turned blue. They go to the Tyee and tell him the story and he tells people to ask another tribe.
-Ms. Baker to Soren: This reminds me of a Porquoi tale. Soren:Yeah, it is about how the blue heron came to be Lily: It reminds me of that book, How the zebra got its stripes.  
Ms. B:Soren, I wonder if you might want to look at that to get more ideas for your story.


Flynn- My story is short. I am a boy of the Chinook tribe. There are 70 people in the house. The dad is a hunter, the mom gathers roots, the bro is a throw nuts at my head person, and I am a fire tender and a fisher, I also help my parents. I once caught 600 fish and then I lost them in the fire…. They lasted for a whole year, my dad killed a cow.
Ms. Baker to Flynn: I wonder if you might want to do some research to find what kinds of big game were in this area at that time and I know a story of cow wandering away, we might want to look at that together.


James- My story is like Flynn’s. I am a cathlapotle child. Inside my house there are 2 fires that burn 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There are smoke holes. (He explains in great detail how the water evaporates before landing inside) It is cramped. They all sleep in same bunk as family. James did math of how many people there would be in each bed if the house had 70 people in it.


Victoria- I wrote the perspective of a Cathapotle girl. I have a pet doe, my tribe is fasting. It is hard to find food even though my father isTyee. We are fasting to get more food. The doe is named Hazel. We were walking down a path, spotted a blue heron, neither of us made a sound, 2 men coming towards us but they do not notice the blue heron trying to take acorns off a White Oak. A Scrub Jay on the tree is trying to protect acorns because it’s his food.  He bit the men, the heron was gone, another plank house is in the distance there was a boy outside….
Ms. B to Victoria: What will happen next? We can’t wait to hear what happens when the girl and boy meet.


Ada- I imagined a Cathapotle girl and her friends playing and then one day one of the plank houses burn down with people in it, some escape. The tribe works together to rebuild.
Ms. B to Ada: I wonder what will happen next? I also think you might find it interesting to do some research to see why sometimes the Cathatpotle did burn their house down.  Why do you think they would do that?


Catherine- As we left off from when I read to everyone earlier, I,(the acorn) was on the ground, bad place for an acorn to be. Hooves are coming toward me. I saw a deer. (Catherine talks about everything that eats acorns and then not get eaten and have several close calls) In the end a Cathapotle girl will come and crack him open. That’s my plan.


Uma- My family lives altogether with one married older sister. They all sleep together. All the relatives live here all their lives, tend the fire, banging on the house, everyone always enters in backwards.  What is the horrible noise? They all go running out to attack.
Ms. B to Uma- Can you explain in more detail what the knocking is and what it makes them think before they go rushing out?  That might help it to be more clear to your audience.


Ben- My story I found was about how the Cathapotle/ Chinook had to work together. They could do anything by teamwork. It would have been hard if one person alone had to survive back then. Just imagine trying to make a plankhouse alone!


Theo- My story is from the perspective of nobody in particular. The Tyee is sick. The people run to the river to see if there are people to trade with, to find medicine to trade for. They can’t find OR grape or snowberry, one kid knows they way back because they were lost. Eventually they will find OR grape medicine to help him.


Charlotte- Once there was a little girl who lived w/ 60 people. There was a fire kept in the house for 24 hours, 7 days a week. There is no chimney open for smoke to go out, so the smoke goes out through a hole in the roof.  The old oak (I think it was between 300-1,000 years old) tree is so happy in their village and there are oak galls on the old oak tree. The little girl’s name is Charlotte. There was an attack, everyone died except Charlotte, there was no where to live but with the animals so she survived with the animals like Sam Gribley that we are reading about in My Side of the Mountain.


Jon- Everyone always went in backwards to the plankhouse. In my story someone went in forwards, then he came in w/ a spear. He was a tough fighter and destroyed all of them but one kid who ran away to another tribe. 20 yrs later Thomas Jefferson sent Lewis and Clark to Oregon, so they set off to the Missouri River. They stopped at the Rocky Mountains and went hunting for elks… after hard times they finally got to Oregon.

Aaren- What I learned yesterday was what oak galls are good for, making ink. Can you believe that they used that ink for the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence.  I didn’t know what part you could eat from the acorn until we cracked it open,and found the soft part inside. I cracked open the oak gall and it was fuzzy and sticky inside.




What things do you notice that the stories you found had in common? What should we do with these stories?



Will- I think we should make those into one story. We should put going into house forward into that story.
Lily- There should be deer and elk in our play. Those were important animals in the area.
Jon- Since only girl and a boy survive. We could put in our story that they find each other and make friends.
Ben- The stories we collect we could add a few things in to make it more realistic so it is more real historical facts for our play.
Uma- The acorn/ ant/ gall could connect - I like the ideas of the perspective of something not human in our story.
Quinny- I notice that a lot of people say it is hard to live in a crowded house.
Catherine- I think we need something threatening, a sickness, fire, people attacking Good stories have a problem, if we share our stories we can find things that connect our stories and give each other ideas for our final play.



Responding to Our Field Studies


Photos of our Field Studies



Next week we will have our conferences! Please take some time before your conference to talk to your child.  
Ask them...

-Are there things you would like me to ask or let Ms. Baker know?
-What are ways that we can help and support you to face your challenges?
-What are you most proud of that you have done in 3rd Grade so far?
-Is there anything you want Ms. Baker to show us when we are there?
-What do you think Ms. Baker will celebrate about your work in 3rd Grade? 
-What do you think she will want you to work on?

Friday, October 16, 2015




Window Into Creating Curriculum



After attending The Sun Serpent on Monday the children were filled with powerful images and had so many questions for the playwrite. 






Uma suggested that we invite him to come and visit so that we could ask him our many questions in person.
So we wrote him a letter...





Dear Jose Cruz Gonzalez,We, the 3rd Grade students in Room 36 at Oregon Episcopal School, really enjoyed your amazing play, The Sun Serpent!  We have MANY questions for you!  Your play blew our minds, gave us ideas, and inspired us for writing our own historical play.  Here are a few of our many questions:-What happened in your life that connected you to the story of The Sun Serpent, and made giving 7 years of your life work it?   -Uma/ Lily-How did you do your research and fact finding?  -Will/ Aaren/ Victoria-Why did you choose that certain story from Mexican history?  Where does The Sun Serpent story come from?  -Jonathan/Soren/ Charlotte-What are some of the ways you used teamwork and heard everyone’s ideas?  -Catherine?-Is there anything you’d differently next time? -Victoria-How do you make and choose those images/sounds for the background?  What advice do you have for that kind of technological work in a play? -FlynnWe would love to talk to you in person.  Would you please consider visiting us at OES?  Ww would be honored to meet you!Thank you again for your time and inspiration! Sincerely, Room 36


As we were anxiously awaiting a reply we were invited to attend a storyteller visiting OES.  Judith Black is a world renown storyteller and her message was to tell and look for the hidden stories of history! It was serendipity!  Flynn exclaimed, "It is just like what we were talking about after the play! There are stories that nobody hears and that are hidden away. We can find stories like those!"  That is precisely what we are going to set out to do!  


Next week we will begin to transform into historical detectives looking for Oregon's hidden stories of the past as we head out in canoes, and buses to explore around campus and other places full of rich historical stories just waiting to be found and retold.  As we collect these stories throughout the year we will be sifting through them deciding which ones we will turn into our play.  If you and your family know of a hidden Oregon story that you'd like to share please tell your child about that story so that they can share it with us!


Ask Me Abouts:

-Who is your First Grade buddy from Ms. Mcauley's class?  What did you have in common with them?  What books do they like to read?
-Who were the US students who came to visit on Friday?  In what ways did the help in your class?

Finding an oily film on the water.  Where did it come from?

-What did you discover in the wetlands this week that surprised you?  -What will you want to look for and learn more about when you are canoeing?



Link to Photos From the Week 
Ada published her Song to the Water poem and displayed it in the poetry box in the wetlands!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Window Into Reader's Workshop

This week we focused in on strengthening our METACOGNITION!  Using your metacognition requires paying attention and noticing what you are thinking. This is not a skill that comes easily for children or adults. A lot of us do it and don't realize it.  So, what does that have to do with reading?  Everything! Reading is meaning making. 


My goal for the children is to notice when their meaning making is breaking down and then knowing what to do about it.





During Reader's Workshop this week, we read The Stranger by Chris VanAlsberg.  It is a mysterious story about the changing of the seasons with lots of opportunities to understand, or think you understand, and then to realize that you don't understand. 


We worked together to notice what we understand and don't understand. Then we shared our understandings with one another to try and figure out the mystery in the book. It took all of our collective wisdom to discover that the mysterious stranger was actually the season "Fall".

Then the children practiced stopping to notice and mark when they didn't understand what they read while reading their own just right books.  This is going to be focus all year long, stopping to think about your thinking while you read. This takes practice and patience.  For some of the children it is difficult to stop while they are reading. Next week, we will be starting a new reading log that asks the children to write down 1 thing they understand and 1 thing they don't.  It is okay if they want to wait until the end of their reading time to write down what they are understanding.  They will need your encouragement to make time to think about their thinking.  It is a sophisticated skill. That's why we are starting to create those habits of mind now!



Important Information!!

10/12  Monday is our first field trip to NWCT to see The Sun's Serpent.  This is a very important trip to attend as it is the kick off of thinking about how we might go about writing our play.  Please let me know if your child will be unable to attend.  We will be leaving school at 9am.  Your child is welcome to wear theater attire (a modestly nice outfit) on our trip to Northwest Children’s Theater, or a school uniform. Nothing fancy please! No high heels etc... We will be returning to school at 12 having recess and other afternoon activities so their clothing should be appropriate for outdoor play as well.

We will be asking the children:
- How do the actors best tell a story/information to an audience?
- What historical research did the play-write have to do before creating this story?

10/21 Field trip to Cathapotle Plankslab House at Ridgefield Wildlife Preserve. Please have your child wear his or her uniform with long pants!  We will be hiking, and pants protect legs from scratches.  Also they should bring a raincoat with a hood and boots. We will be spending most of the time outside.

We will be asking the children:

- Can you imagine while you are here, what life in Oregon was like long ago?
- What do wonder about what the land was like, what the people were like?
-  What questions do you have?





Friday, October 2, 2015

This week we began to wonder what makes a wonder-full question? The children had so many ideas and we created this anchor chart to help serve as a reminder and to add on to as time goes by and our thinking deepens. 


I shared a video with the children from Warren Berger's website that talks about why questions are so important and at the end he begins to talk about what happens that causes the 40,000 questions children ask between the ages of 2 and 5 to slow down. The children understood a lot about this and laughed remembering how they used to always ask why and some even articulated that they don't do that as often now.  Then Berger posed the question:     


What kills questions? 

This particular question really sparked the kids, especially about what happens to grown ups.  Prepare yourself.... at times their observations are missing some vital information.  I finally jump in towards the end not able to not share a different perspective. 


Soren- When you get older and you have more on your mind you don’t have as much time to think about questions.

Will- Parents have to cook dinner and they are so busy.  They might have time when they are in the car?

Jonathan- Grownups think they already know so many things.  They think, why do I have to ask questions.

Catherine- Grown ups are so busy answering things so they don’t have time to think about the questions.  They have so much on their minds kids going places, too many priorities, hard to have time to stop and think about why that thing is there?  Kids might see things out the window and say hey mom look at that!  Then the parent might be interested but can’t take their eyes off the road.

Ben- Older people than us, they are just too busy on their homework, my brother has a truck load of homework while I am relaxing on my bed. He doesn’t have time to do much, time to think of things, if you think too fast you might think wrong. 

Uma-Grown ups might be thinking lots of questions in their heads, just because they don’t say them out loud doesn’t mean they don’t have them. They might not be sure if their question is worth asking, they might just process it differently than we do.

Flynn- Grown ups have time to ask questions but they take it all up with texting and watching movies. They don’t always do it. The more time you have on a screen the mushier your brain gets and you forget everything.

Leoni- Until it turns into mash potatoes.

James- Actually the average kid should only watch 30 minutes of TV a day!

Flynn- I think all this texting is a bad invention.

Catherine- I want to piggyback on Ben bc sometimes after I finish my homework, I get bored. Then I have time to think about things.  When I am sitting on my bed and staring out the window I might wonder about the tree outside.  My brother has so much homework he doesn’t have time like that to think or wonder.

Jonathan- I think parents have time but they just think they don’t. Grown ups have so much time to wonder and have questions.

James- They waste their time on technology.

Aaren- Not all of them.  I bet most people in the classroom don’t have 2 year olds at home. My mom is so busy with Ryan all the time. He is always getting into stuff. When he’s asleep she reads magazines. I bet she’s tired.

Ms. B- Being the only grown up in the room I wonder if maybe grown ups are thinking things we don't know about? I wonder if they have questions about the things they are texting and typing on the computer. I know I do!  I bet your parents do too. I'm curious how we could find out more about their thinking?

Lily- Maybe grown ups are texting questions.

Leoni- I think it isn’t only kids that are busy and not wondering.  I think my mom is wondering about her work. I think parents ask lots of questions.

Lily- Maybe when teenagers are doing math they could be wondering questions about their math.

Will- They could write their questions down on their homework.

Catherine- Maybe you don’t want to write your questions down because you don’t want people to think you aren’t smart. 

Quinny- If you aren’t asking questions how are you learning? If you aren’t asking questions then you won’t find the answer.

Uma- Sometimes there are questions that don’t need an answer, they can just stay open. You might want to figure it out on your own.

Quinny- Some people are afraid to ask the questions because they don’t want to feel bad or that they are bothering others.

Soren- My dad has to ask questions to his patients all the time.  He ask questions daily at work.

Will: My dad too! 

Theo: My dad too, he asks lots of questions at work.



Please trust that this conversation is not over and that the children and I will be returning to this conversation and take it much deeper.  Again, it is a great example of why it is so important for all of you to talk out loud and to reveal your thinking and wonderings to your children.  They don't know all the million things that you are curious about.  I think they would be so fascinated!

Ask Me Abouts:

-What do you say makes a wonder-full question?
-What signs of the seasons changing did you see on your wetlands walk?
-Describe the sounds you heard and the things you felt while you walked in the wetlands looking for wapato?
-Describe what wapato is and what it looks like? Who used it?
-Who did you connect with from another 3rd Grade class during the 3rd Grade Mixer, and how did you connect?
-What do you learn about your community from your math survey question?