Mrs. O'Brien


   Apr 21

Weather, Climate and Fossils!!

In Third Grade we have started a new Science unit. We are learning about Weather and Climate. We have been learning about weather tracking tools, how to track the weather, how to chart the weather over time, and how to compare weather in West Linn, Shanghai and Dar es Salaam. We have also been talking about humidity, wind, precipitation and how all of these things effect our weather.


We have also learned about climate zones. First we started talking about climate zones in Oregon. Did you know that the Willamette Valley grows 170 + crops and many of our crops are known around the world!! We talked about why we have different climate zones and why different plants grow in these different regions. Then we moved on to looking at national and world climate zones. When we were discussing world climate zones, we noticed that many countries have similar weather and climate based on their latitude.


This conversation lead us to our discussion around Pangaea and fossils found on different continents but in similar climate zones. Last Friday we had a “fossil lady” come, Ms. Wendi (from Your World Rocks),and she taught us all about different kinds of fossils. We even got to dig for a fossil. We have been having so much fun learning about Weather, Climate and Fossils!!!

   Apr 16

New Bridge Name Announced!!

The new bridge in Portland has a name!!! It will be named Tilikum Crossing, which means “Bridge of the People.” It is so exciting to see a new bridge being built right here in Portland.


   Feb 19

Building Magnetic Levitation Trains!!

We were AWESOME engineers today. I was so impressed with how well all of my students worked together today to build their magnetic levitation trains. This morning we debriefed our Magnet Lab from yesterday and talked about the properties of magnets and how those properties were going to help us build our trains. Then we talked about the engineering process (Ask the question, Imagine your creation, Plan for your creation, Create, Improve ……and the cycle continues round and round) and how engineers are always improving their creations. Then it was time to build!!! Every single group got their train to levitate!! I am so proud of everyone. We were working hard and creating awesome levitating trains. Great work!!

   Feb 19

Engineering Video

Here is a great video about girls being engineers! Check it out:)


   Feb 18

Magnetic Levitation Science Lab

Today we started our Science unit on Magnetic Levitation trains. We started our lesson talking about what is “technology” and what is an “engineer.” We talked about how technology does not have to have a screen or a power source but that technology is anything designed to solve a problem (sticky notes, toothbrushes, paper clips, etc.) We then talked about what makes an engineer. We had a lot of fun talking around these two ideas and then we watched some videos on Mag Lev trains and how they work.


Then we went into our Science Lab and got to play with magnets. We learned that magnets have a North and a South pole. We learned that opposites “attract” and similar poles “repel” and we learned that there is a magnetic force field around magnets. We did two different experiments to test our thinking around magnets. Tomorrow we will continue to explore with magnets and then we will start building our Mag Lev trains. Should be lots of fun here in Third Grade!

   Feb 06

Fun with Buddies

On Wednesday we had a lot of fun with our Buddies. We got to create little clay creatures based off a book we had read about a man, Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins who created LARGE sculptures of dinosaurs back in the 1800’s when people knew very little about the fossils of dinosaurs or what they even looked like. We had a really great time!

   Jan 21

Artist in Residence

Today we started our Artist in Residence program with Mrs. Taryn Kuenzi! Taryn is a retired teacher who has been coming to Stafford and teaching us about the art of water color painting for the past few years. We are so excited to have her with us for the next five days. Today we learned about how much water to use n our brushes, how wet our paints need to be, and how to make some simple watercolor flowers with just a twist of our brushes. We are already having so much fun! Thanks Mrs. Kuenzi!!

   Jan 18

ROAR filming and Field Trip

We had a wonderful yet busy week this week. On Tuesday we visited Franz Bakery and the Belmont Fire House. These two visits were a part of our year long look into the history and culture of Portland. The students loved visiting Franz Bakery and seeing the “Bun Highway.” While at the Fire House we learned about fire safety and the history of fire fighting in Portland. This was a wonderful field trip that the students really enjoyed!


On Friday we did our final school filming of our ROAR video. The kids did a fabulous job showing school spirit! The video will debut at the Stafford Auction on February 1st. Here are some photos for you to enjoy:)



   Dec 26

Harris Burdick and Winter Fun

The last week of school before Winter Break was so much fun! As a class we read the book The Mysteries of Harris Burdick. Each page of this book has a very interesting picture, a title to the picture and an introduction sentence, but that is all. While reading the book we learned that the stories that went along with these pictures were lost and never found. Our job as third grade authors was to write our own endings to these stories. The students had a really good time creating their own creative writing stories. The cool part was that Ms. Sarah’s class wrote stories for the pictures as well. On Wednesday we brought our two classes together and the students got to share their stories while sipping hot cocoa. We had so much fun!!!

   Dec 17

Salmon Release Video

Yesterday was our final day with our salmon. It has been so much fun watching them grow and change over the past few months. Here is a video we created as we released them into the Tualatin River. Hope you enjoy!