Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Why do people leave the people they love to set off into the unknown?                                                     -Catherine age 8

Last week, as we read about Sam Gribley being lonely and far from his family in My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George, Catherine wondered, "Why do people leave behind the people they love?" This sparked a lot of conversation and wonderings amongst the children.  They could not understand why anyone would want to leave home, especially not knowing what would happen or where they were going.

In 3rd Grade, that is precisely the idea we are wanting the children to grapple with. Our guiding questions as we explore Westward Expansion are: 

How do you prepare to do something new?  
How do you move long distances through unknown lands? 
How do you survive in those unknown lands? 
How do people learn from other people? 

Leaving your home is the story of the Native People who were moving to escape diseases that spread even before the arrival of Explorers such as, Lewis and Clark. That is the story of the Fur Trapping bands that were exploring Oregon Territory in the early 1800's trying to carve out a living off the land, and it is the story for so many of the Pioneering families who set off over 2000 miles into the vast unknown to claim land.

This week the children started to imagine themselves into those perspectives. They tried on clothing and looked at artifacts that Explorers, Fur Trappers, Native Americans and Pioneers would have worn and used.

Soren- I want to experience feeling like what it would be like when Lewis and Clark came and built their fort on Chinook land without asking.

Leoni- I want to write in a journal and pretend like I am exploring this land.

Flynn-I want to be a member of the Chinook because I feel in sync with the tribes and the surroundings in Oregon.

The children will spend the next few weeks refining their ideas and learning more about these different cultures before they make their final character decisions.

It would be helpful to ask your child:

-Why did you choose that historical character?
-What is it that you want to learn about (Fur Trappers, Explorers, a certain tribe, or the Pioneers)?
-What do you think a child from that cultural perspective would have done to help his or her parents? 
-What chores or responsibilities would they have had?

Also, during Grandparent and Special Friends day or while you are away visiting family over the upcoming holidays please help your child make time to interview you and their extended family to see what they might answer to such questions.

(See the attached interview sheet under Parent Resources at the top of the blog page.)

Have your child ask you, your family and friends:

-Why do people leave the people they love?
-Why did my family come to Oregon?  
-When did they come here?
-Who did my family have to leave behind?
-When did your family move to where you live and why?
-What do you think it takes to set off on your own and leave loved ones behind?

Photos From the Week

Friday, November 13, 2015

Storm Water Run Off: Using Our Power for Good and Inquiry

A few weeks ago the children noticed oil covering the surface of the wetlands. They were curious where it came from and assumed that it was harmful to the animals and plants in the wetlands. That led us to go canoeing to explore the wetland's lake and see if the oil was all over or just in one spot. We discovered that the oil was everywhere!  

This rainy Thursday, as we were headed to put Catherine's poem in the new poetry box that James repaired we noticed oil in the parking lot that was running into a drain that appeared to lead right to the wetlands! 

The children followed the path of the oil and then the drains and manhole covers to see where the pipes led and were very concerned that something needed to be done to prevent the oil from getting to the wetlands.  

We are in the process of contacting resources at school to help us test the water, learn more about what is being done about the oil leaking from cars and buses on campus, and to see if we can be helpful.

Right after we followed the path of the oil we put Catherine's poem in the new poetry box. As we were walking away Jonathan said, "We should put something in the box about the oil in the wetlands."  Will said, "Can I write a story about the oil and what people can do about it?"  

Finding opportunities that naturally arise from the children to use their power for good is an over arching goal and part of the mission of OES...

Our Oregon home matters: Perched on the Pacific Rim, nestled between the ocean and the mountains, bordered by both natural wetlands and urban development, we nurture intrinsic curiosity about complex environments and people of diverse backgrounds, creating intentional connections and collaborative, sustainable solutions.

Moments like these create a sense of agency in the children to care about their place, OES, Portland, Oregon... the world! 

If you have resources, ideas or suggestions to help us move this project further we would welcome your input, ideas or time.  Just write us an email. We will write you back!

Warmly, Room 36

Friday, November 6, 2015

First Community Meeting 11-2-15

This week Ben brought a problem he was having at lunch to me. Seeing this as the perfect opportunity to start off our Community Meetings, I asked him if he would be comfortable bringing the problem to the class. He agreed that that would be a good idea. During a class meeting we sit in a circle facing one another and Ben calls on those who are willing to offer suggestions. The goal is that eventually everyone will feel ready to gift their ideas to those in need.  
Below is the transcript of that conversation...

Ben- People at my lunch table are talking unkindly about people who are not there and I want to know what to do? I am worried if I tell them not to do it it will make them feel guilty.
Victoria- Has anyone said anything to them yet?
Ben- No, no one has said anything yet.
Soren- Is it always the same people.
Ben- Yes.
Ms. B- Are you worried if you speak up that they will make fun of you?
Ben- No, I am afraid they will feel guilty or that the people they are talking about will get their feelings hurt.
Catherine- Why are they making fun of this person?
Ben- I don’t know.  It is a bunch of people.
Uma- Have you sat with people making fun of?
Ben- Yes, I don’t want them to get in a fight.  I didn’t really want to tell the person so it doesn’t hurt their feelings. That’s why I am asking you.
Uma- Ask someone here to sit with you so they can help you.
Peter- I might see if it is still going this week then get help from a teacher if still happening.
Lily- Tell them that what they are saying could hurt someone’s feelings. Does the person know?
Ben- No, they are at different tables so they don’t know.  Being at different tables.
Theo- You could ask them a question: Why are you making fun of this person?
Leoni- It might be hard to go up to them and say that? So, you might want to ask the teacher if you could have a private talk with the teacher, then the teacher could keep an eye then the teacher could talk with them if they see it.
Victoria- I know you are afraid to talk to them, but you could say, “Hey, I’m not trying to get you in trouble or be mean but, how would you feel if you were being teased?  Why are you doing that?”
Peter- I probably would try not to get too involved yourself, you could make it bigger and bigger. Sometimes it can make a problem worse if too many people get involved.
James- Maybe just tell a teacher.
Flynn- I agree with Peter.

Next Steps:
Ben- I want someone to help me talk to them.
All- I will!
Ms. B- Let’s meet and talk Ben before lunch today and I will help you find a problem solving buddy.

Ben reported back to the group that the problem kind of went away because they hadn't done it this week but he shared that he felt prepared if it started up again.

As a part of our Community Meeting I went through the problem solving strategies that the children had been introduced to in the younger grades. These will be helpful tools for them throughout the year and great options for at home too!

Tools For Problem Solving Updated Link

Ask Me Abouts:
-What is your gift? How did you choose it?
-How does an explorer of the world do research?
-What characters or parts will you want to include in the play from what you know so far about Oregon History?
-Tell me what has happened to your bean experiment.
-What happened to Coyote and the salmon in Chaplain Jennie's story she told?
-What did you want to ask the actor, Andy, when he came to visit?  What did he inspire in you?
-What do you think you will see and do when you go to Ft. Clatsop on Tuesday?

Photos from the Week