All Saints Featured on OFB Website

There’s nothing I love more than when my students set a good example for others. The video of the fourth graders’ experience in the food repack center in December is currently on display on the “K-12 School Groups” page of the Oregon Food Bank website. The OFB asked if they could use the video so interested school groups can see what a typical volunteer experience would look like. Check it out: OFB School Group Volunteer Page

One World Futbol Project

The fourth graders have developed a plan to purchase two One World Futbols by the end of the year to send to children in Haiti. Rather than just asking for money and buying futbols that will be sent to children we’ll never get a chance to see, we would like to raise the money ourselves and send the balls to places where we can see the kids who are going to benefit from them. In order to send the balls to a specific location, we needed someone to personally deliver them.  Luckily, in working with my Uncle Bill, we have found a group of people willing to help.

My Uncle Bill recently returned from a trip to Haiti in which he worked with a local ministry. Here is what Bill emailed me when I asked him if he came across any candidates that he felt were worthy of our donation:

“On Sunday we spent the day out at JohnJohn and Kristi’s. He is a Haitian minister and she is a nurse/teacher from Iowa and they met and married in the States and set up a school/church and other broad set of ministries in Haiti under the name of UCI. It was amazing what they were accomplishing there and our church was going to help fund the building of a university on their grounds. They already had K-12 working and were expanding to college and vocational training – primarily agri-business. They also had a program that provided pumps to farmers to bring water up from a river and gravity irrigate crops. Kevin – this is the contact I will give you to send the Futbols to – Kristi said ‘they are like gold here.’ I appreciate you sending items to Haiti – they can really use anything. On our trip to the Citadel, we passed a field where kids were playing soccer with a fruit! They love the game there but really don’t have a lot of balls to play with.”

Our plan is to purchase two One World Futbols to send to my Uncle in Iowa.  He will then pass them on to the youth group in his church because they will be going to Haiti this summer.  The youth group will then pass them on to JohnJohn and Kristi, who will deliver the futbols to children who are sure to appreciate the generous gift of the students from 4A.  They have told us they will send pictures of the children who will receive the futbols, which I will share with everyone.

Our fundraising plan: To purchase and ship two One World Futbols, we will need to raise $56. I am asking students to return cans and bottles from home to the grocery store and bring some or all of the deposit money to school to add in our One World Futbol jar. It doesn’t matter if you bring in five cents or five dollars. The point is to participate in helping another group of kids.  Parents, we would appreciate any help you can offer your children in this process.

Art Project Sneak Peak

On Tuesday in art class, 4A was joined by an artist in residence named Sarah Ferguson. She helped the students create clay self-portraits. Thanks to all the parents who came to assist and to Anjanette McHayle for passing these photos along. Look for these to come home sometime in the near future.



Look For the Helpers


“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.” — Mister Rogers

Art Literacy: Greek Vases

Special thanks to Lynn, Maria, Tamara, Laura, Darren, and Colleen for coming in and helping the fourth grade learn about Greek art. We appreciate your help as we created vases influenced by Greek style.























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

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.