Bicycle Safety Education

Last week, Joel and Sarah from the Bicycle Transportation Alliance came to teach us how to safely ride our bikes on the streets of Portland. We learned invaluable information about important things such as signaling, right of way, proper helmet fitting, and bike safety checks. For one week, we learned and practiced for two hours a day, culminating in a ride through the community on a beautiful, sunny Friday. It was a wonderful experience that the kids thoroughly enjoyed.

The Bicycle Safety Education Program is part of Portland’s Safe Routes to Schools Program and is offered by the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation in partnership with the Bicycle Transportation Alliance. If you would like to support this very worthwhile program so more kids around Portland can learn the skills that will keep them safe on the road, please visit their website at

Please take a moment to watch the video below which highlights our experience over the course of our week in the Bicycle Education Program.

Bicycle Safety Training from Kevin Baumbach on Vimeo.

Speech Practice

Today we practiced our speeches in small groups and received some constructive criticism from our peers. Students did a great job of helping each other to become better speakers. We should be ready to roll tomorrow for the real thing.


Honoring a Veteran

2014 Winter Olympic Games - Season 2014
“Do you remember Rico Roman?” my mom asked me in 2010 as she gave me a newspaper article.

Of course I remembered Rico. He was a former classmate of mine and I considered him one of my favorite people during my time as a student at Holy Redeemer. He left HR around middle school and we lost contact, but I always remembered him fondly. I was intrigued to read the article and see what he was up to.

The article detailed Rico’s journey from joining the U.S. Army to having his leg amputated in 2007 after he was injured in Iraq to his introduction to the sport of sled hockey. Rico’s positive attitude was evident throughout the article. It was consistent with what I remembered about him during our days on the Holy Redeemer playground. Rico had charisma. He was always smiling, laughing, and telling jokes. He was athletic and competitive. I don’t remember him ever being in a bad mood. If anything could sour an attitude, I would assume losing a limb might do it. Not Rico.

He epitomized the quote that I have hanging in my classroom form Charles Swindoll: “Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.” Because of his perseverance, athleticism, and positive outlook, Rico was able to work his way onto the U.S. National Sled Hockey team that will be competing in the Paralympic Games in Sochi, Russia in 2014. It is a great achievement for a truly nice guy.

Click on the following link to hear more about Rico’s story: One-Legged Vet, New to Sled Hockey, to Compete in Sochi 2014

If you want to support Rico and Operation Comfort, the organization that assists wounded vets like him watch the video, click on the following link, and “Choose Rico”: Citi Every Step of the Way

Unearthing Artifacts

When I moved into the classroom this summer, I did not have enough time to go through several drawers full of Native American items that were collecting dust in the closet from many years ago. Today, with the help of the fourth graders, we took out the drawers and discovered what was in there. The students enjoyed looking through these mini treasure chests and attempting to identify what the items were and what they were used for. Check out our adventures.





















Saturday Science Lab

My daughter and I were stranded at the house this morning so we decided to do a little science. We found a simple science experiment on the internet and attempted to replicate it. What happened was very cool. Watch the video, give this experiment a try, and then attempt to explain why these three substances react the way they do. This is a very quick and easy lab that can also double as a neat party trick. As the Science Princess says, “Science rocks, dude!”

Saturday Science Lab from Kevin Baumbach on Vimeo.

What Can Paper Airplanes Teach Us?

Can a paper airplane help us understand the most efficient design for a real airplane? The fourth graders tried to answer this question in our weekly science lab with Mrs. Galati.

Students were given two different paper airplane designs (one long and narrow, the other short and wide) to cut and fold. They then had to form a hypothesis about which plane would fly the farthest. To test their hypothesis, they let their airplanes fly from a pre-measured station and collected and recorded their data. Once data was collected, they tried to interpret their results and state their conclusions.

So which model was most efficient? You’ll have to ask a fourth grader to find out!