Bonneville Dam and Fish Hatchery (At Last!)

After the Great Government Shutdown of 2013, the fifth grade classes finally made it to Bonneville Dam and Fish Hatchery. Rachel Maddow of MSNBC did a short segment about our classes not getting to go last year. You can watch a clip of the show here. There is a short ad at the beginning and the first minute and 20 seconds are about the impact of the shutdown on the Bonneville field trip last year.

Here are a few student observations about the trip to Bonneville:

Today we went to Bonneville Dam, where we all split into groups and went to different sights at Bonneville.

When we first got there we were greeted with some Trout and discovered fish food. Each group left, then group A went to the next station with baby fry. We couldn’t feed them since it was so small.

Then we went to the visitor center and learned more about the system of raising the Salmon. We learned all the steps of picking out the bad eggs, then picking out the bad fry and then letting them into a pool and finally let them into the small river on the outside of the Bonneville Dam.

After that we went to see the Salmon, where we saw them trying to jump over the concrete wall. It was really cool. I saw many fish with fungus which can kill the Salmon and even one didn’t have a fin and you can see red which was sad, but while we were watching we saw one of the fish jump over the wall. By Melanie


I really liked the Bonneville Dam field trip. I had a lot of fun. It is a very beautiful and informational place. I learned a lot about fish and the way the turbine works to give the water power so the salmon can swim up the fish ladder. I learned that baby fish are called fingerlings and the salmon get fed by automatic machines instead of people feeding them by hand. The salmon that we saw were jumping out of the water trying to get out of their temporary water habitat. Believe it or not, one actually was on the cement flopping around everywhere!! It got out of the water! Luckily though, it flopped around so much, that it fell into the other pool beside the salmon’s pool. One of the salmon in their pool had a big spot, I mean, BIG, bloody spot on it. It was really sad and gross at the same time. I had a lot of fun!! By Lilyana


Well the thing I liked the most was Herman the sturgeon. I also liked feeding the fish and I liked the ducks and quacking at them. I did learn and have fun, plus I’ve been there before and I like it there. I liked seeing that big salmon, I think it was a Chinook. I saw awesome things like huge tools and the leopard seals and the salmon ladder, ducks, old things like a giant propeller, and an old typewriter. By Elliott


Today I went to Bonneville for a trip and I learned a lot!!

This is what I learned: I learned that salmon are raised from there!

Something that I was surprised about was the sturgeon and how big they were. Oh and wow was Herman big! I also learned that, man, do they live a long time for a fish!!

I thought that it was really cool to see under the fish ladder(also known as the underwater viewing) and I saw a really big salmon there which in my opinion was really cool!

Group A saw a bunch of salmon that were jumping up and down and one made it over!!!

It was a great experience!!! By Mckela


At Bonneville we got to see the world famous shish kabob (who I gave the name to a Sturgeon) and Herman the Sturgeon. We learned about the Chinook salmon and rainbow trout. While we were inside we got to see the salmon and their journeys to their destination. We learned how electricity was made by water that went through a series of stages. We saw these huge baby Sturgeons and there was one Sturgeon that was lying on the dirt and someone thought it was dead. When we saw Herman we thought he was soooo cute and I thought he was adorable because of his fins and his eyes which I thought at first were his nose or ears. There were some rainbow trout in the aquarium and they were so shy that they hid from my beautiful face.

We, as in Ruby, June, Mr. Colvin, Ruby’s dad, Sean, Elliott, and me, went into the egg processor room where they kept all the baby salmon in. Inside there we also saw some sculptures or whatever it’s called of the Chinook, Coho, and others which I forgot their names. My favorite part was eating, as always because we got to go to the park but there was dog dung everywhere. By Sandra


This was the best field trip ever. I wish I could re-live that 5,000 times. Ranger Leo showed bus A and the one that showed bus B was Bobby which was the one the that showed me and half of my class. It was amazing. I got to see Herman the sturgeon. By Bridger

Today I went to Bonneville. I fed fish and had fun. First we went to the fish hatchery where we fed fish. Then we went and saw the baby salmon getting sucked into the truck that takes them into the wild. Then we went to the Bonneville dam visitor center. By Alexander

We went to Bonneville on Monday and it was really fun. We learned about how they got all the electricity to our houses. We also learned that a lot of fish pass through so they had a fish counter person that counted all the fish throughout the years. There were a lot of fish.

The process to get the electricity to the houses was really really long. It went: The Columbia water hit the dam, the water hit a gate thing that makes the magnet thing hit a copper wall, which then hit a stepup transformer, hit a electricity wire, then a stepdown transformer and….. LIGHTBULB ON! (When you hit a switch) By Liam


Today we went to Bonneville dam to tour the fish hatchery and the dam. We got to feed the fish. The parents were nice and let us use their quarters. We fed the ducks too. They came up and ate out of our hands, then we saw the sturgeon. He was so big. We were so confused because there were two or three of them. Then we fed the bottom feeders. They liked it. By Kennedy


I didn’t really like it because after the field trip I got a 24 hour bug! But other than that it was ok. By Isaac

We went to Bonneville Dam. It was really fun. We first went to the fish hatchery. We got to feed fish and we went inside the center and watched a video of a sturgeon and a fish called salmon, and a fish called sturgeon. It was HUGE!!!!!!!

We took a couple pictures and we got to feed the rainbow trout and some other kind of fish, oh yes, salmon. We went to a place where we got to see salmon jumping in the water and trying to get on the sidewalk. It was really cool.

Then we went to the underwater place that had sturgeon as big as 20 feet. Then we went on the bus and drove to the electric part of Bonneville Dam. It was really fun there and we got to watch some videos about salmon and electricity. It was really fun. We also got to go to this place where the salmon adults go up fish ladders. There was this kind of weird tv that has talking fish. IT WAS AWESOME! By Joseph

I went to Bonneville Dam and Fish Hatchery and I saw Herman the Sturgeon, and I also fed the fish. I went to the powerhouse to look at how things work and saw giant tools the size of Texas!!! I saw a Giant fish looking at the fish viewing window. Before we got there we were riding on the bus due East up I-84. We saw Multnomah Falls and I saw the Olympic Mountains in Washington. The place was forested up ahead. I looked and saw a small stream with some ducks. A few minutes later… I saw Rock formations and other things. Then we turned and we reached Bonneville Dam. We learned a lot about fish and learned about hydroelectricity. By Sean


At 8:30 a.m we were on the bus and we were going to Bonneville.We saw salmon and sturgeon, baby sturgeon, and rainbow trout. They used these to build it: step up transformers, step down transformers, and a bunch of water. We also saw some ducks and and then we went to the dam and then we looked into the fish ladders. I saw four small fish, one leech-like thing, and two giant fish. Finally I finished. By Miles


Today we went to Bonneville Dam. I had a great time! We saw Salmon, Rainbow Trout, Sturgeon, and we got to feed some of the fish! We had a blast! There was also a presentation type of thing about electricity. I learned a lot more about electricity.

Our group, (group A) got to see the salmon jump up and down the walls. One jumped out and was flipping all around and finally went into the other pool. One of them lost its fin so it was wriggling around to get places.

Our group saw this fish called a sturgeon. I had never seen one before so it was really cool to me. You could press a button and it would tell you about Herman. (He was the sturgeon). We also saw a quick movie about him.

We spent most of the time at the beginning of the field trip feeding and looking at the fish. It was very cool in my opinion. We saw all kinds of different fish which made it exciting. By Claire


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Class Notes for Oct. 27-31, 2014

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We have a very short week for students this week. Monday is our field trip to Bonneville and Tuesday is a work catchup and cleanup day for students. Wednesday and Thursday are conference days and Friday is an off day for everybody. Happy Halloween on Friday to those of you who participate!


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U.S. State Floats on Display

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Drop by the upper-grade hallway sometime to check out the great state floats made by our fifth graders.

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Class Notes for Oct. 20-24, 2014

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What a busy week we had! With Run for the Arts, the Drama residency,  a very cool Reed College College Science lesson on motion, and starting up our blogs, the kids and I have been busy.

We are gearing up for our trip to Bonneville Dam and Fish Hatchery on Monday, Oct. 27. Thank you to those who have volunteered to go with us on the trip. It’s touch and go on how much room we will have on the bus, so please be prepared to carpool or go on our own if the bus is overcrowded. I’ll get more information to volunteers as we get closer to the field trip day.

Room 24 will soon be using KidBlog, a free platform that enables students to post and comment (with everything getting my approval before going public) on topics that they are interested in and some that I will assign. We made paper versions of our blogs last week and got started with entering the first post. Students will practice commenting on others’ blogs this week using appropriate safety, thoughtfulness, and respectfulness guidelines.

I am looking forward to getting together with parents next week during conferences. If you need a reminder on when your conference is, check on or drop me an email.

Homework is due this Friday the 24th, but because of conferences next week, the next packets will be due on Nov. 7.

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Class Notes for Oct. 13-17, 2014

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There is a lot of drama going on in Room 24 these days. Specifically, Michael Wehrli’s Drama class has the kids excited about practicing theater skills and gearing up for an evening performance on Nov. 13. The class will continue to meet every Monday through Thursday with Michael up to the day of the performance.

Our trip to Bonneville on Monday, October 27 is quickly approaching. Thank you to those parents who have volunteered to join us on this fun field trip. It is possible that the bus will be too full and some parents might have to carpool to Bonneville.

We are reading a new book called One for the Murphys that is part of the Global Read Aloud project. I plan on having the students do lots of reflections on this realistic fiction book and at some point we will be doing at least one Skype session with another school somewhere in the United States. A one-stop spot for most of the information needed for this assignment is

Students are working on a home project about a state of their choice. Information was sent home on Thursday of last week. If your son or daughter doesn’t have the information, please let me know and I’ll send home a duplicate. The project is due on Monday, October 27. If it is finished early, it can be brought in anytime. These will be displayed in the hallway. I can’t wait to see what our creative students come up with!



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Class Notes for Oct. 6-9, 2014

October is upon us already! It seems impossible that five weeks have gone by already. The class has been busy finishing and presenting our robot stories and planet presentations.

We add a new element to the mix this week with the start of a Drama residency with Michael Wehrli. Similar to last year’s residency, half the class will go with Michael and his assistant to the stage for a half-hour session while the other half works with me on math or literacy, depending on the day of the week. When the first group comes back, we trade places. The residency runs Monday through Thursday until the first week of November. A performance for family will take place the evening of Thursday, Nov. 13. Mark your calendar.

Shortly after the Drama residency ends, the class starts up Bike Safety class. This is a great opportunity for students to learn safe cycling habits and have fun while they’re doing it. Warm clothing is a must on cycling days (I will get a detailed schedule out as we get closer to that time). Bicycles and helmets are provided.

I am looking forward to our Bonneville Dam and Fish Hatchery field trip on Monday, Oct. 27. Please return permission slips no later than Thursday, Oct. 9. Thanks to those parents who have volunteered to come along with us. It should be a great day of learning.

If you have not filled out the Spring Science Camp questionnaire, please go to It’s one of the world’s shortest questionnaires and should only take a couple of minutes to complete. This will really help the organizers of the Science Camp fundraisers. Thanks!

For more information on our Reed College Science lesson on Newton’s Three Laws of Motion, go to

We are focusing on states and capitals of the Pacific Northwest. There will be a quiz on Thursday, so it’s time to start brushing up on them. Homework this week went home on Friday and I will continue with that. Having the option of working on the weekend appeals to many of the students.

On Monday we will finish our first full-length read aloud novel, Rump. It told the “true” story of Rumpelstiltskin and the kids loved it. I have to admit I had fun reading it aloud also. Have your child retell a favorite part of the story to you.

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Class Notes for Sep. 29- Oct. 3, 2014

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Thanks to everybody who has signed up for conferences on Signup Genius. I am looking forward to meeting to share (both directions) information about your child.

Please fill out the short Science Camp questionnaire at if you haven’t already done so. The fifth-grade team needs to know how much fundraising is necessary. You can help by filling out the form.

In math we focused on the using the correct order of operations, a step on the road to algebra. Have your child explain what PEMDAS stands for. We also spent time on identifying prime and composite numbers.

Most students finished their US maps with all 50 states. Those who finished early were able to add capitals, too. We will focus on memorizing the states and capitals of the Pacific Northwest this week. In Science, each student has chosen a planet to do a report on. We will continue working on those this week and share them next week.

We have a long-delayed field trip coming up near the end of October! Last year, all fourth-grade classes were scheduled to go to Bonneville Dam and Fish Hatchery, but the trip was cancelled due to the government shutdown in October. Well, the Government is up and running again and we’re going to take the 40-mile trip up the Columbia River to see where we get most of our electricity from. The field trip is on Monday, Oct. 27. Information is going home on Monday. We need five parent volunteers to go with us, leaving at 9:00 and returning about 2:30. There is a chance that some chaperones might need to carpool, depending on how crowded the buses are.



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