My Pal Finn

“Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.” – Chuck Swindoll

My pal Finn Mooney is a neat kid. I got to know him very well last year when he was in my fourth grade class. His smile is infectious. When you see him, he smiles (always), and you have no choice but to smile back. The kid just spews positive energy.

Finn has faced many challenges in his life, having gone through thirteen surgeries on his heart. Each time, my resilient friend bounces back and keeps moving forward, forcing smiles out of everyone as he goes.

So I was happy to see his giant smile grow even wider last year when he told me that he was going to get the opportunity to design his own shoe at Nike. Finn had been chosen as one of the six designers for Doernbecher Freestyle, a program that partners with Nike to create shoes that are sold to benefit Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.

Finn’s shoe was recently unveiled and went on sale. It was a huge success for a huge little man. Please take the time to learn about Finn’s design process and more importantly, take the time to learn from Finn’s positive attitude.

About Doernbecher Freestyle: Nike/Doernbecher Freestyle Shoes

About Finn: Meet Finn

About Finn’s design process: Designer Focus: Finn

There was a kangaroo at school today. No, really.

On Thursday morning, we had one of the coolest assemblies I’ve ever seen. Outback Adventures of Australia came to teach us about animals from a different part of the world. Our humorous host taught us about the habits and adaptations of spiders, snakes, scorpions, and toads. But the highlight had to be the kangaroo, who got up close to many of the fourth graders.

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Playing With the One World Futbol

After recently learning about the One World Futbol, a few students purchased one. Charlie brought his in this week for everyone to see and, of course, for everyone to play with.

I talked to Charlie about the ball and made a short video of the One World Futbol’s successful debut at All Saints.

If you’d like to read the initial post about our class’s discovery of the One World Futbol, followed by a very nice comment from Tim Jahnigen the inventor of the ball, click here: The Indestructible Soccer Ball

If you’d like to purchase a One World Futbol for yourself (and give one to someone else in the process), click here: Buy One, Give One. They’d make a great Christmas gift.

Note: Unfortunately, I made a mistake in the making of this video, not realizing that filming while holding my phone in portrait mode would cause the editing program to reformat the video and cut off the top half of Charlie’s head during his interview. I apologize for the poor video quality. As I tell my students, I’m learning new things everyday, too.

Playing With the One World Futbol from Kevin Baumbach on Vimeo.

Ft. Vancouver Field Trip

Today we took a short bus ride across the Columbia River to visit Ft. Vancouver. Among the many things we learned about were John McLoughlin, the Hudson’s Bay Company, fur trapping and the fur trade, and how blacksmiths did their jobs. There were many other pieces of information we learned from our trip and I encourage all parents to ask your child what they learned from their experience from one of the Northwest’s most important historic landmarks.

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The Indestructible Soccer Ball

I came across a pretty cool article today about a man that created a durable soccer ball, capable of lasting 30 years. He got the idea after seeing a video of children in Darfur playing with a ball made of trash. He mentioned that many of the donated soccer balls that make it to these parts of the world are rendered useless after a short period of time due to the rough terrain.

In class today, we read part of the article and related information about the design process of the ball to what we have been learning about in science. It was a good real-world application of what the students are learning and a reminder of how science can be used to solve problems and make a positive impact on other people.

Here’s a link to the article, and check out the accompanying video too: Joy That Lasts, on the Poorest of Playgrounds

Many students expressed interest in purchasing one of these balls, known as One World Futbols. For every ball purchased, one is donated to children around the world. Kind of a cool way to give back. If you would like to purchase a One World Futbol, you can do so here: Buy One Give One

Just an aside: The article reminded me of my trip to Costa Rica in 2007. I jumped at an opportunity one afternoon to play in a pick-up soccer game with some local kids in a village called Boruca. The conditions were not third world by any means, but they were not posh either. We played on an old concrete court and were easily defeated by the skilled group of teenagers. I gave one of the three soccer balls I brought on the trip to the boys in my host family, never considering it would possibly be useless in a matter of weeks or months. Below is a picture from the game, with an arrow pointing at me (I’m not very good at soccer, by the way).

Teaching Character

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When I was a child, anytime I failed or had to deal with a difficult situation, my dad always had the same response: “It’ll build character.” I was never allowed to mope or whine. I was taught to learn from adversity and to try to gain something positive from all of my experiences. I am forever thankful to my dad for teaching me that lesson.

I thought about my dad when I saw this piece from Rock Center with Brian Williams a few weeks back. Many teachers and schools around the country are making the extra effort to value character and perseverance as much as grades. We often get caught up in the importance of getting good grades, but we need to always remember that teaching students to be good people needs to be a very high priority, if not the highest.