Third Grade Junior Achievement

 Former rancher Kaia and her father Lane

For the next two weeks, Lane Kadel will present 5 Junior Achievement lessons for our third grade students.These inspiring lessons instruct third graders about zoning structures set up for city planning and money management. The Junior Achievement curriculum is dedicated to educating students about workforce readiness, production strategies, the role of the government and financial literacy through experiential, hands-on lessons.

Junior Achievement also has a kid-friendly curriculum that helps students better understand the real world by showing them how jobs are created and how to apply finances and voting rights into decision making. Students put these lessons into action and learn the value of goods and services provided for the benefit of the community. We also learn the importance of paying taxes for these services and about an economy’s circular flow of money.

Lane, our wonderful JA volunteer and former ranch parent, always inspires and empowers students to believe in themselves, showing that they can make a difference in the world. Lane, we thank you for your dedication to Stafford students and families.

Valentine Celebration of Friendship


It’s another third grade tradition! Our Valentine Celebration is Tuesday, February 14th, from 12:30 – 2:00. We want to invite all our parents to join us if your schedule permits. Six bodacious stations are planned along with the reveal of our valentine cards.

We look forward to our third celebration this year! We want to thank the parent volunteers who make these celebrations so memorable. Valentine’s Day is such a special day when we celebrate friendship and love with family and friends.

Here’s a poem from Faithful Provisions for you to enjoy!

A Special Friend
A special friend
is by your side
During long classes and
late bus rides.
A special friend
has a laugh to share
when it seems that
no one else is there.
A special friend
is always true.
My pick for a Valentine
is someone like you!


Winter Celebration

“The Joy of Giving Winter Celebration”

Thursday, December 15th

8:30 A.M.  – 10:00 A.M.

Our Winter Celebration will be centered around The Quiltmaker’s Gift by Jeff Brumbeau and Gail de Marcken. This beautiful story deepens our understanding of what it means to give generously. We are learning about the spirit of giving within a community and for the world.

“A charitable seamstress makes beautiful quilts that she gives to the needy and poor. When a greedy king hears of the marvelous creations, he demands that she creates a quilt for him. She refuses, but says that she will make him one if he gives away all of his possessions. The angry king tries to force her to bend to his will. Unsuccessful, he begins to travel the world giving away all of his treasures. When he returns to the village, a happier man who discovers the joy of giving, she presents him with a beautiful quilt.”  Early Learning Environment

The winter celebration will be based on this book.  We are grateful to celebrate the beauty of reaching out to those around us with love and caring hearts.

 A great person is defined as someone who displays gifts and talents that have made a difference in and for our world.  Thank you ranch families for the difference you make! Stop by our celebration if your schedule permits.

Esteban Camacho Steffensen

Meet our Third Grade Artist in Residence

Esteban Camacho Steffensen

We will be painting with Esteban on Wednesday and Friday of this week.

“Esteban Camacho Steffensen is an international muralist with commissioned artwork in Costa Rica, Spain, and the United States. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting from the Pacific Northwest College of Arts in 2010, with an emphasis in Public Art. His subject matter is environmentally focused, bridging biology, education, and fine art. Most of his artwork has been produced in public spaces, such as universities and city institutions, where he works with community leaders during the design process and involves local youth and students in the painting and production. Esteban seeks to empower people to join the sustainability movement.

As a recipient of the 2015 Science in Studio Award, Esteban created an artistic and educational design for a large mural that focuses on protecting watersheds from toxic runoff.

As you look at the mural, the images inside the Chinook salmon represent the region’s rich biodiversity. It is dependent on snow pack that produces the clean water that flows through mountains, rivers, riparian ecosystems, bays, estuaries and finally the ocean. These ecosystems are illustrated in the design to help us become more aware of them and our dependence on these natural systems, which include the salmon cycle, bird migrations, the stabilization of weather and the basis for our healthy outdoor lives.

The image also shows these interwoven habitats with many human activities that bring toxics into our waterways. Many of these activities are very common, like washing cars and fertilizing our lawns. We often are unaware of small daily actions we do while living in our neighborhoods that are polluting the waterways. Then there are human activities which have severe impacts, such as large developments near natural areas, golf courses, animal feed lots, refineries, industries, agriculture and mass transportation.”

Credits for article:

Esteban Camacho Steffensen, Recipient of 2015 Science in Studio Award

After painting on Wednesday, write a comment about your experience with Esteban and your part in the mural painting.

Alevin are Emerging!

Stafford third graders are proud to announce the arrival of the alevin!
Here’s a peek at the second stage in the life cycle of salmon. The eyed eggs have hatched into alevin with bright orange “lunch sacs” still attached to their bodies. Inside each yolk sac is a mixture of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.  It’s an amazing diet for these tiny alevin! They will not leave the protection of the rocky gravel until their yolk sacs are used up. At that time, they will emerge as fry.
We will watch and observe our newly born alevin over the next month. It will be exciting to note how they grow and gain strength at this stage. We will release them to the Willamette river to complete their journey after this stage is completed. We invite our friends and families to take a peek at our newly hatched alevin located in the aquarium set up outside the Room 2 and 3 classrooms.
What are your thoughts and observations about the alevin that have hatched with their yolk sacs still attached?

Thanks for the Harvest Celebration!

Our Harvest Celebration was Bodacious!

Where: At the ranch

When: Monday, October 31st

What time:  8:00 – 10:00

Ranchers celebrated the fall harvest season on Monday, October 31st from 8:00 – 10:00. Our Parent Volunteer Ranch Hands planned 4 amazing game and craft stations with a delicious snack. Thank you to the wonderful parents who planned this event for us!

Our theme this year was having grateful hearts as well as celebrating the lifecycle of salmon. The celebration included:

  • Art Project using beans to decorate the adult salmon
  • Making fish out of leaves & a word search packet
  • Pictionary game using things we are grateful for in our own lives
  • Snack station with a estimating jar of candy corn

What was your favorite station at the harvest celebration?

Meet Dr. Scott Rumsey, Salmon Expert

Dr. Scott Rumsey, a former ranch parent of Nate and Katie, came to talk to the third grade about salmon.  His informative presentation inspired us as he talked about Endangered Salmon and Steelhead. He was joined by his co-worker Stephanie Coleman (also a Stafford parent) who was eager to share the excitement about salmon conservation!

You won’t want to miss this exciting and informative PowerPoint slide show that was presented.  Thank you Scott for allowing us to share your presentation with our student and parent community. We are thrilled to add this PowerPoint to our resources for salmon research.

Click on the link below to view the presentation:


What 3 things did you learn or notice from this presentation?

Exploring Salmon through the Discovery Channel

Learning about salmon and their life cycle is our next expedition unit.  Third graders launched this study through reading books and articles, listening to experts and attending  the Bonneville Dam and Eagle Creek field trip.

We are just beginning to understand about the salmon’s amazing life cycle and their will and determination to survive. On Wednesday, Dr. Scott Rumsey, a former ranch parent and expert on salmon, will deepen our understanding about these amazing fish.  Before his visit, we have a video to enjoy!

What did you learn about salmon through this video?

The Salmon Eggs Arrived!

October, 2016

We are happy to announce the arrival of approximately 300-400 salmon eggs. They are happily nestled into the rocky gravel of our third grade aquarium located by Rooms 2 & 3. We will observe these eggs over the next two months as they develop into alevin and then fry/parr. It will be exciting to track and observe their lifecycle and record observations in our expedition notebooks.

The eggs are a beautiful color.  We noticed that they are a mixture of pink, red and orange. They are slightly translucent because you can see their eyes developing within the eggs. Salmon eggs are usually nestled into rocky nests called redds in the streams. Our salmon eggs are nestled into the rocky gravel of our aquarium for scientific observation.

We’d like to invite all of our guests to look at the salmon links on our blog under the Salmon Header.

What did you learn about salmon that you thought was fascinating?

How long do you think it will take before the salmon eggs hatch?

Keyboarding Skills

Dance Mat Typing

It’s time to begin practicing our keyboarding skills with the help of Dance Mat Typing. Dance Mat Typing is an animated website that introduces typing to students.  Enjoy mastering the 12 levels throughout your third grade year.  This week, your goal is to master level one. The link for this program is under the Language Arts Heading. Parent monitoring is encouraged for the mastery of essential keyboarding skills. Have fun with this family website!

Here is a message to read from Dance Mat Typing:

“Welcome to Dance Mat Typing, a fun way to learn touch typing. There are four levels to play, each divided into three stages.

You start by learning the home row keys. Each stage builds on previous lessons, introducing new letters as you progress. You’ll soon be touch typing like an expert! At the end of each level you can test your typing speed and get a fun reward.”

A Letter to Parents from Spelling City


Spelling City is a spelling and vocabulary website. It provides another incredible way to study the weekly list of spelling words. The link for Spelling City is under the Language Arts Header on our classroom blog. Every week, ranchers can use Spelling City as a tool to work on their weekly words. When you open Spelling City this week, select Week One and the 15 weekly words are already listed.  From taking a spelling and vocabulary test to enjoying spelling games, this site will be used each week.  Ranchers can select any of these options for mastering a new set of weekly words. The pre-test score will indicate which list to study.

Here is a letter to parents from Vocabulary/Spelling City:

Dear Parents or Guardians,

“We’ve got exciting news! Our class will be using VocabularySpellingCity for word study, and your child has access to this great tool from home!

Vocabulary/SpellingCity is an educational website and app that allows students to gain and retain word knowledge through practice with engaging vocabulary, spelling, writing and phonics activities.  To log in on the web, go to and select the Login button. Under Student Login, enter the username and password exactly as provided below:

*Your child’s Username and Password is the same as the login for IXL!

Once logged in, students will have access to our class word lists, plus any assignments that have been created. Please be sure that your child is properly logged in to Vocabulary/SpellingCity to ensure that any activity is recorded and credited. To view your child’s progress, visit My Records. You’ll be able to see your child’s activity, including words missed and time on task. The activities and games on Vocabulary/SpellingCity make word study fun while helping students build confidence and learn independently. Working as a team will go a long way toward guiding our students to academic success and ensuring they become lifelong learners.”

How Full is Your Bucket?

This New York best-seller book provides a concrete way for children to understand the power of their words.  A young boy named Felix learns to be a bucket “filler” instead of a bucket “dipper” when he realizes that words and actions affect people in profound ways. We all have invisible buckets that need to be filled.  Ranchers in Room 26 are being challenged to creatively fill each other’s buckets with kindness and joy.

As we continue our focus on random acts of kindness, we realize that it takes a renewed effort on our parts to spread joy to the world.  We continue to make intentional plans to impact our friends with kindness.

Today you have a challenge!  How will you make a difference in the lives of Stafford students? Can you think of ways to make your friends smile?

Random Acts of Kindness


Spreading Kindness

Our homework option this week and throughout the upcoming fall season is choosing kindness as a focus for character development.

Several times each week you and your family can intentionally look for ways to spread kindness. An act of kindness needs to be something you do for someone that is out of your ordinary routine. This could be at school or outside of school. For example: If you took the trash out for your family and that’s not one of your normal chores, you have just chosen an act of kindness.

Here are some random acts of kindness links to read with your family and an encouraging song for you to enjoy:


Add your thoughts about acts of kindness to the padlet started by the 2015-2016 ranchers. It will be a continuation of what was started last year by the students of Room 26. It will be such a delight to think of acts of kindness that spread happiness around our families, the school and the world. Look for creative ways to participate throughout the next few months. Record what you do either on the padlet or as a comment on this post. We also welcome our parents and global visitors to add their thoughts on our padlet as well.  Remember to add just your first name and where you are from before adding your thoughts.

 What random acts of kindness will you do this week?

Computer Coding

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Computer Science Education 

Every year we participate in the Computer Science Education Week in December. Students all around the world are challenged to spend one hour learning the basics of computer programming. Our challenge this year will be to begin early and experience the joy and excitement of computer programming.  Begin with a review of Angry Birds and then challenge yourself with Anna and Elsa.

Last year as second graders, students had the opportunity to participate in the “Hour of Code”.   Watching this video will remind you of people in the world who talk about the importance of kids like us learning computer code.

On our classroom blog you will find several links under the heading, Computer Science. These links will lead you to computer programming. On our Stafford Website under the Library Heading, there are additional opportunities for computer programming. Encourage your parents and friends to participate in this challenge as well.

What computer programming link did you try?

What did you enjoy most?  

What challenges did you face?

IXL Math Practice

Dear parents and third graders,

Stafford students will have the opportunity to enrich their math skills by participating with IXL challenges in school and at home.  Our first homework option is to support our Math Investigation curriculum with multiplication and division practice.  Each week, we will support our common core math strands with the opportunities presented on IXL.

The beauty of this program is that students and teachers will track the mastery of each skill on a weekly basis.  IXL will send a weekly report to third grade teachers with information regarding the success of each student’s progress and skills they have mastered! The questions will automatically increase in difficulty as students improve. Our home and school teams are crucial for the success of each child’s mathematical progress. We’re excited to present this program to our third grade families!

Login information will be emailed to you and a card with this information will be sent home this week.  Saddle up ranchers!

Are you enjoying practicing multiplication and division? 

Our study of Portland’s Bridges begins!

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As we prepare for our 2 field experiences this week showcasing the history of Portland’s bridges, let’s look at a brief introduction to these incredible bridges.

The Hawthorne Bridge is the oldest bridge in Portland, built in 1910. Did you also know that it is the oldest vertical lift bridge in the entire country? The Steel Bridge was built in 1912. It’s the 2nd oldest vertical lift bridge in the United States. The Broadway Bridge opened in 1913 and is known for being the largest Rall Bascule bridge in the world.  It’s also red in color!

The Fremont Bridge is a newer bridge in Portland, built in 1973. It’s also the longest bridge in Portland. The Marquam Bridge was built in 1966 and  is a very busy bridge. It is a double-deck, steel-truss cantilever bridge. The Morrison Bridge was built in 1887 and by 1958 changed from a wooden truss style to a swing bridge and then to a drawbridge.

How about the Burnside Bridge?, It was built in 1926 and is another draw bridge. The architect of this bridge, Joseph Straus, built the Golden Gate Bridge! The St John’s Bridge was built in 1931 and is a suspension bridge. It’s exciting to look at the beautiful arches of this bridge. The Ross Island Bridge opened in 1926 and is a cantilever truss bridge.  The Interstate Bridge  was built in 1917-1918. It carries traffic over the Columbia river between Portland and Vancouver.

The Tilikum Crossing bridge opened in September, 2015. It is a cable-stayed, suspension bridge.  This special Portland bridge carries the  Tri-Met orange line,  streetcars, bicyclists, and pedestrians. The original Sellwood Bridge opened in 1925 and was a two-lane truss bridge. However, it was just rebuilt and is now a deck arch bridge that spans the Willamette River in Portland.  This current bridge just opened in 2016 and is our newest bridge!


Five Amazing Bridge Design Stories

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The Amazing Design Stories Behind Portland’s Five Greatest Bridges

Here is a link to an article showcasing 5 of Portland’s bridges.  It is worth reading together as a community of learners and with your families! Discover new information about these bridges as we begin our expedition study this week.

What information did you enjoy learning from this article?

Kids for Peace and Acts of Kindness

We remind ourselves every day at our morning meeting how thankful we are for our family and friends! These relationships bring us peace! Every act of kindness towards one another is such a gift. We learn through life that:

Peace is not something you wish for, it is something you make, something you do, something you are, something you give away.”     (Robert Fulgham)

We know that the path to peace is building friendships with others, no matter how different they may seem. We want to reach out to others in friendship and love and make peace happen in our classroom, on the playground and to the world around us! We’d like your thoughts about peace.

What does peace mean to you?

Dance is Our Common Language

Peace spreads when we focus on all the things we have in common. Our joys and our sorrows as well as our hopes and dreams for a bright future are things we share with our family and friends. One thing that connects us to the world is our joy of expressing ourselves through dance.  We don’t need an interpreter to understand the language of dance.

The video communicates the idea that all around the world people share the same joy of music and dance, laughter and love.  It is very creative way to share this message. Thanks Mr. Harding! (video creator). Let’s look closely at how we are the same and not so different.

How does dancing enhance your life?

What kind of dance do you enjoy most?

Our First Expedition Study: The City of Bridges


We will begin our study of the city of Portland this week as a part of our ongoing look at communities.  In second grade, students studied the important elements in a community through classroom instruction and the Junior Achievement program.  We know West Linn is a suburb of Portland, Oregon’s largest city.  We love living in the suburbs, but know there are many great things to do and see in an urban community like Portland.  The downtown area of Portland is separated by the Willamette River and has many amazing bridges that cross the river connecting the east side and west side of the city.

Later this month, third graders will travel down the river to see some of these bridges and talk about the history behind them. At home, I encourage you to play a round of Jet Ski (addition practice under Investigations) or Island Chase  (subtraction practice) to prepare for the trip. Look for the Investigations link under our Math Header to find these games.