Planting Sword Ferns

Today the fifth graders walked to White Oak Savanna to plant 160 sword ferns in an effort to preserve and restore the park. It was a simple act of community service that students were happy to participate in. 


A Fun Thursday

We had a lot of fun learning today. Understanding place value in a different way on the 10,000 chart this morning followed by some in-depth research on the American Revolution then ending the day with a little salt concentration lab. A good day was had by all. 



BizTown Field Trip

Weeks of financial literacy lessons, job interviews, and discussions about goods and services culminated in a trip to JA Biztown on Monday. Students got a chance to view the world through the lens of the working folks who keep our economy afloat each day. The video titled BizTown 2015 attempts to give you a glimpse inside Biztown to witness the 5th graders of Willamette as they fulfill the mission of JA Biztown: To inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy.

I want to send out a major thank you to all those who took the time to volunteer at Biztown. This experience was not possible without the many adults who helped facilitate. I also want to thank all the parents who discussed various lessons, skills, vocabulary, etc. with their children throughout the last several weeks as they prepared for their visit to Biztown.

BizTown 2015 from Kevin Baumbach on Vimeo.

BizTown Job Interviews

As part of the preparation for our upcoming trip to BizTown, students applied for jobs and sat down for interviews. The amount of thoughtful time and energy that students put into this process was quite impressive and these kids now have a better idea of what goes into the work it takes to compete in the job market. 


Thoughtful Consumers

Today two actors from Thinking People’s Theater and Metro came to Willamette to help children become more thoughtful consumers. Their message, delivered in a very humorous and entertaining way, taught us to be make well-informed decisions about the products we choose to purchase. Please ask your child what they learned from watching this performance.

 After the show, we also watched a video about what happens to our recycled materials once they are picked up from the curb. This video helped us understand how recycled materials are separated and how they are turned into new products ready to re-enter the market.

Earthquake Info Fair at University of Portland

Drop, Cover and Hold On - slideshow
After our earthquake drill today, we discussed the Cascadia Subduction Zone and the possibility of an earthquake in our region. If families are interested in learning more, there will be an Earthquake Information Fair at University of Portland on Saturday, October 17 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Chiles Center. Check out the link to learn more: Prepared: Earthquake Information Fair

Passing and Teamwork

“It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” – Harry S. Truman

We recently began learning about and practicing basketball as a way to measure growth mindset. The first skill we learned was a two-hand chest pass. After teaching students the steps to a successful chest pass, I came across a video of the 1986 Boston Celtics basketball team which is recognized as one of the best passing teams of all time. We watched the video together to see the two hand chest pass in action but to also see what selfless team basketball looks like. Watching highlights of one of the greatest teams ever helped us understand the benefits of working together and communicating as a unit. The above quote from Harry Truman exemplifies the philosophy of great passing teams like the 1986 Celtics. Hopefully we can be inspired to carry ourselves in the same manner on the court, in the classroom, and in our communities.

Separating Mixtures

We recently used evaporation to separate a solution of salt (solute) that had dissolved in water (solvent). When the water evaporated the salt reappeared. However, it looked different because the salt reappeared as salt crystals (small squares with an X in the middle). It was quite interesting. 

We are attempting to do a similar experiment with water from our beloved Pacific Ocean. We are trying to separate the salt from the water while also collecting the water, hopefully creating freshwater in the process. 

Feel free to come by the classroom to check it out.