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?

Drumroll to Begin the Holidays and Announce the Edublog Results!

Children Building Snow Ball 2015

Our Winter Holiday is here!  How exciting for families to enjoy more time together.  We know that times of refreshing are so important for all of us! It’s that gift of time that is always on our wish list.  Thank you so much for your love and generosity this year.  I love that we are connected as ranch families.  It’s been a great fall together.

We also rejoice that our classmate Ethan placed in the Top Five for his student blog. Congratulations Ethan!  We are so proud of you and thankful that you and a few of the “ranch experts”  have mentored us with our own Edublogs. I have enjoyed signing up for a personal conference with you when I have blogging questions! It is a gift for all of us! Check out the Edublog results by clicking the link below:

Enjoy your winter holiday and we will see you in the New Year!

Spreading Kindness



Spreading Kindness

For the rest of this week, and the following two weeks, 3rd grade homework is going to be enriched with kindness.

*Several times each week you will make a “Kindness Link” that will be added to our 3rd Grade “Kindness Chain” outside of our classrooms.

*An act of kindness needs to be something you did 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 could put that down as an act of kindness.

*After completing an act of kindness, you will write down what you did (as well as your name) on a piece of the provided colored paper. You will then bring that strip of paper back to school and we will add it to the Kindness Chain that will extend from the ranch to the other third grade rooms.

It will be such a delight and joy to think of acts of kindness to spread happiness around our families, the school and the world. Look for creative ways to participate throughout the next 2½ weeks before our winter break.

Let’s make new traditions by spreading random acts of kindness! Enjoy the holiday season!

The third grade team~

Here are some random acts of kindness links and a song you might enjoy:


Lelooska Field Trip

On Tuesday, Nov. 3rd, third graders will be traveling to the Lelooska foundation in Ariel, Washington. This field experience will be the introduction to the first people in Oregon research and supporting our understanding of the Native American Culture. We will experience the songs, dances and stories as they are showcased in the Kwakwaka’wakw ceremonial house. Following the program, we will visit the Lelooska Museum and Cultural Center. On display are extensive collections of Native Artifacts from North America.

Here is a link to explore the Lelooska foundation:

As we begin this unit about the first people in Oregon, we are looking for speakers to come in and share first hand experiences and stories. If you are affiliated with a Native tribe, or know anyone who would like to come share with us please let us know.

Student Blogging 2015

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Congratulations on your new student blog!  It is a forum to share your learning with your classmates, community and the world. We are taking the 2015 Student Blogging Challenge. Look under the Blogs We Follow from Room 26 on the side bar to follow and comment on our classroom blogs.

We are connecting with other students from within our classroom and around the world using our blogs. It’s important to share and learn with other students in a kind and respectful manner. This is called blog etiquette. Etiquette is the code of expected behavior while we learn to blog. We’ll ask our families or adults to always approve our writing and help us with the editing process before publishing our posts. Journaling our new learning and communicating our thoughts can be a powerful tool for us. It will provide an ongoing communication about our education. We’ve already learned so much through blogging. We won’t be sharing information about our last names, addresses or telephone numbers.

Please remember to comment on your classmates blog posts as well as our classroom blog. Continue to search the blogs we follow for connecting with students and classrooms around the world.

After you’ve introduced yourselves, consider your next post to be about the books you are reading.  Tell us about the characters in the story, what has happened so far, and include a strong prediction about what will happen next.  It will be exciting for us to read your online book reports!

Would you like to recommend this book for us to read?  Tell us about the book you are reading!

Computer Coding for Fun

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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 exhuberance of computer programming.  Begin with a review of Angry Birds and then challenge yourself with Anna and Elsa.

Last year as second graders, we 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 our second experience with 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?


The Salmon Eggs Arrived!

October 20th, 2015

We are happy to announce the arrival of approximately 500 salmon eggs. They are happily nestled into the rocky gravel of our third grade aquarium located in the library.  We will observe these eggs as they develop into alevin and then fry. As young wildlife biologists, we will be tracking their growth over time and will keep a log filled with our observations.

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,  The eggs we are observing come from the hatchery.

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?

Student Blogging Challenge 2015

Kids_on_Computer_clipart_from_submissionStudent Blogging Challenge 2015

Here are the instructions for leaving comments from the Student Blogging Challenge:

“An important part of the Student Blogging Challenge is connecting with students and other classes by reading posts and leaving comments. Comments allow you, and your readers, to engage in discussions, share thoughts and connect with your blog. Most new bloggers find publishing posts easy and commenting harder!  Your bonus activity this week is to learn more about commenting and improve your commenting skills!

What makes a good comment?

Comments transform your blog from a static space to an interactive community. Commenting is one way a blogger can create conversations.

Your readers leave a comment that hopefully asks questions (which encourage conversation), you reply back to their comments on your blog, then visit their blog to read their posts and engage with them on their blog. The better your comment, the more chance you have in creating conversations. Start by watching the following video on Commenting.”

Watch Mrs Yollis’s ‘How to Write a Quality Comment‘.

As we begin to reach out to other schools around the world, we are learning how to make meaningful comments. On the sidebar under the header Blogs We Follow, begin exploring a few of our selections.

What blogs are you excited to follow?

Dr. Scott Rumsey visits Stafford Third Graders!

Scott Rumsey, a former ranch parent of Nate and Katie, came to talk to the third grade about salmon. Sharing his expertise with us, he inspired us all with his presentation.

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.

Please comment after reviewing this presentation with your parents.  We’d like to encourage everyone who reviews this slide show to comment about their new learning.

Click on the link below to view the presentation.


Exploring Salmon through the Discovery Channel

Some of the ways we can learn about salmon is by reading books and articles, listening to experts, observations on field trips and videos. On Thursday, we will be listening to Dr. Scott Rumsey, a former ranch parent and expert on salmon, teach us about these amazing fish.  We will also be observing their life cycle through direct observation when the salmon eggs arrive next week. Until then, enjoy this video!

What did you learn about salmon through this video?

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?

We are thankful for each other!

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?

The Engineering Design Process of Bridges

As we look into the engineering designs of world famous bridges, we begin to notice that

these bridges were completed after much thought and perseverance.



The Tower Bridge in London, England UK

Combined Bascule and Suspension Bridge


Capilano Bridge, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Suspension Bridge



Click here to see the engineering behind this incredible bridge:  Capilano Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California USA

Suspension Bridge


What are your thoughts about designing bridges?  What challenges did you face while building your bridge at home?

Amazing Design Stories

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The Amazing Design Stories Behind Portland’s Five Greatest Bridges

Thanks to Imani’s mother and Ethan, the link to this article was sent to me after school.  It is worth reading together as a community of learners and with your families!

What information did you enjoy learning from this article?

Our first Expedition Study of the Portland Bridges Launches this Week

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Enjoy this video of the Portland Bridges!

Each of these bridges adds so much beauty to the city of Portland! Here is a brief introduction to each bridge.  You will be selecting a bridge to research later this month.

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 Sellwood Bridge opened in 1925. It is  a two-lane truss bridge. The Interstate Bridge  was built in 1917-1918. It  carries traffic over the Columbia river between Portland and Vancouver.

Finally 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.

What is your favorite Portland Bridge? Which bridge do you want to research?

The City of Bridges

The City of Bridges




We begin our study of the city of Portland this week as a part of our ongoing look at communities.  In second grade, we studied the important elements in a community through our 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 eastside and westside of the city. There are, in fact, 12 bridges.  What better way to initiate our study of Portland and check out these engineering masterpieces than to speed down the river together as a class on the Jet Boats. Our  field trip is Friday, September 25th.

We will travel down the river to see all the 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. In class we will watch the BrainPop Bridges video to prepare ourselves for this first unit of research.

Mystery Readers are back this year!


What is a mystery reader? Mystery Readers are special guests who come to our classroom to read a story to students.  A mystery reader can be a parent, grandparent, relative, friend, sibling or educator.

When do mystery readers come to read?  A Mystery Reader emails me and we set up a flexible time that works for both of our schedules.

Why should I be a Mystery Reader? This is a great way to model your love for reading and enjoyment for books.  Ranchers will be thrilled with your surprise visit and to have a special story read to them.  We will discuss the author’s message after the story is read.

How does the Mystery Reading Program work?  The first step is to email me and we will confirm a time and date for you to visit. Start thinking about the book you would like to read to us.  A few days before you come to our classroom, please email 5 clues about yourself so we can try to guess who you are. Clues should be somewhat general and at the end be a bit more specific.

I’ll be anxiously awaiting your emails!

Welcome to Third Grade

Third grade is a wonderful place at Stafford School and I am thrilled to to have you all in my classroom! The beginning of the school year is always a time of excitement around seeing our old friends, meeting and making new ones and looking forward to new learning.  Stafford has an incredible community of students, teachers and parents. I look forward to spending a wonderful school year together.  Parents, this blog will be just one way we can work together.  It’s our classroom to your home connection.

Thanks from the Ranch







Thanks from the ranch!

Thank you once again  for your support as our incredible and very important home teams!  As we begin to experience your help and editing with the ecosystem animal presentations, it’s now time to refocus our homework expectations. The last few weeks of second grade homework will be focused on reading and continuing our quest to master second grade math and language arts standards with IXL.

As we finish the race of second grade, it’s easy to reflect on all the beautiful work we’ve accomplished this year.  Every curriculum unit has required your home support. Over the next two weeks, we will learn about 25 different animals from 6 different ecosystems. Thank you ranch families!

Okaidja Afroso

Okaidja Afroso

This week, Okaidja Afroso will be visiting Stafford as our Artist in Residence. It’s been our second grade tradition to invite Okaidja to help celebrate our world outreach to Africa.  He is presenting his Dancing Feet and Talking Drums residency to our second grade classes in support of our Africa Bridge Read-a-thon. Under the Artist in Residence headingwe have a link about Okaidja for your family to enjoy.

Second graders will be performing at an assembly to showcase their newly acquired skills with drumming and dancing on Friday, May 8th from 8:10 – 9:30.  We will also be revealing the amount of money we’ve raised through our reading efforts in April to make a difference in the world. We encourage all second grade families to join us at this assembly and celebrate with us!

As you know, our monetary gifts and good wishes will be given to Africa Bridge to support their outreach to our friends in Tanzania. Donations from the Read-a-thon will be collected from May 4th – 7th in our classrooms.  Any checks should be written to Africa Bridge and are eligible for tax deductions. Tax donation forms will be sent home after donations are turned in this week.

We want to express our heartfelt thanks to all the Second Grade Families for supporting our efforts to Read to Feed and Read to Build!  It’s exciting and so rewarding for us to help change the lives of our friends in Tanzania.