Hello Goodbye


Thanks to Alea Bone and the Class of 2012-2013 for this beautiful gift. It hangs proudly in my living room.

If you are visiting this site looking for stories and pictures of the 4th- and 5th-grade classes of Room 24 at Lewis Elementary from 2010-2015, you’re in luck. This site will be archived “as is” for as long as WordPress remains free. Feel free to download pictures if you want.

I retired from teaching in June of 2015. I’ll be doing occasional volunteer work and substituting in schools around Portland. You can take the teacher out of the classroom, but you can’t take the classroom out of the teacher.

Although this blog will be archived and no new content will be added, I will still be active on social media. You can follow my adventures on Twitter and Instagram at @paulcolvin. I also have a photography blog at paulcolvinphotography.com.

Thanks for five great years of teaching at Lewis!

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Class Notes for June 8-11, 2015

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Wow, what a year! Looking back through the posts on our class blog during the year is a good way to to get a feel for what we did as a class this year. And we did a lot.

Starting with the first post in early September and ending with this post, we moved through the year and made great strides in academics and as a community of learners. I got to witness students growing and working their way through the end of elementary school and readying themselves for what lies ahead: middle school, high school, and beyond. The enthusiasm of this group for learning new concepts was nothing short of amazing. I was lucky enough as a teacher to get to work with seven students from the beginning of 4th grade last year to the end of last year.

One of my favorite parts of the year was reading aloud to the class. We read some powerful novels and autobiographies (The Fourteenth Goldfish, I Am Malala, One for the Murphys, and Wonder), funny books (Rump and The Princess Bride), and some classics (Charlotte’s Web).

Please take time to browse through the blog with your child when the dust from the end of the year settles down. I hope you will find it enjoyable. Feel free to pause the photo slideshows and save images that have been posted through the year. I cannot guarantee that the blog will be around forever, so grab what you want while you can.

Parents, thank you for helping make this a great year for your child and me. Your encouragement of them throughout the year has made a big difference.

The 5th-Grade promotion is on Thursday at 2:00. I look forward to seeing you there if you can make it.

I wish all of my students a pleasant summer and a great experience in 6th grade. Keep in touch. My plans include volunteering at Lewis and Woodmere schools and substituting starting in January, so I might bump into you someday after school if you come back to visit.

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Class Notes for June 1-5, 2015

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Last week’s highlight was definitely the Spring Concert featuring all of Mr. Jamesbarry’s music groups. I love hearing all the different groups perform on instruments that most have only been playing less than a year. The difference from the beginning to the end of the year is remarkable. It was great seeing several of our Room 24 friends representing the class up on the stage in the 5th-grade band and Boomin’ Beats.

Field Day is on Thursday, June 4 at 1:00. If you are able to help, contact Ms. Layman at mlayman@pps.net. The activities should last until about 2:30. Your child should dress appropriately for outdoor activities. Sunscreen is not a bad idea, especially if it warms up towards the end of the week. Flip flops are definitely a bad idea.

Students are in presentation mode this week. Topics vary from a report on invasive plants to the history of Minecraft for the self-chosen topics to the French and Indian Wars to Sally Ride for the U.S. history reports.

I would like the year to end on a positive note and I see no reason why that shouldn’t be the case. Please remind your child about appropriate school behavior in terms of showing respect for other students and adults in the building.

Please put the 5th-Grade Promotion on your calendar for next Thursday at 2:00. Parents are invited to attend. As I’ve mentioned before, this is a bring-your-own-tissue promotion. I bet I could fund the entire first year of my retirement if I had a Kleenex stand outside the door of the cafeteria! Ka-ching!






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Class Notes for May 26-29, 2015

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We are really in the home stretch now. We have less than three weeks left to do a lot of work, not to mention have a lot of fun. Students are working on two major projects now, one on a topic of their own choosing and one on a period of American history or a person of importance in our history. Students will start presenting their projects next week.

We are gradually whittling away at the Smarter Balanced tests. Most students who are taking the tests are done, but there are a few who need to make up some tests that they missed because of absences.

Our newest read aloud book is Wonder, by R.J. Palacio. Ask your  child to tell you what it’s about. It’s usually so quiet you can hear a pin drop when I am reading aloud from this book. It’s a very powerful book and I have just discovered that there are sequels written from the perspective of other characters from the original story, including one by the “bully,” Julian. Just Google R.J. Palacio to find these books.

With summer approaching, many families are planning activities for their children. Hopefully, your child will be outside playing and exploring nature as much as possible. Nowadays summer also means more online time for many kids. To keep children safe online is an evolving process that requires vigilance on parents’ parts. Google has published a guide to help parents and it is available at https://www.google.com/safetycenter/families/start/.

Thanks to Ms. Natalie and Ms. Sarah for organizing the fun gathering after school on Tuesday and to everybody who was able to attend. I really enjoyed seeing people from different time periods of my career in Portland.

Don’t forget to come to the Lewis Spring Concert on Thursday at 6:30. Several of our students are performing in the 5th-grade band and it is always fun to hear the Boomin’ Beats play their hearts out at the end of the concert. Other upcoming events include Field Day on Thursday, June 4 and the End-of-the-Year School Picnic at 6:00 on Friday, June 5. The 5th-grade promotion is on Thursday, June 11 at 2:00 in the cafeteria. Parents are welcome to attend. Bring your own tissues.

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Class Notes for May 18-22, 2015

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This must be Testing Season. Many of the kids are taking the Smarter Balanced performance tasks in Language Arts and Math this week and next. These are a different breed of standardized test than the kids are used to. There’s not much in the way of multiple choice on these performance tasks.

Performance tasks “measure a student’s ability to integrate knowledge and skills across multiple standards—a key component of college and career readiness. Performance tasks will be used to better measure capacities such as depth of understanding, research skills, and complex analysis, which cannot be adequately assessed with selected- or constructed-response items,” according to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, the folks responsible for making these tests.

Here are some key events coming up in the next few weeks:
May 25-Memorial Day (No school)
May 26-Community gathering at school at 3:30 for my retirement
May 28-Lewis School Concert at 6:30. All of Mr. Jamesbarry groups perform. Room 24 is well represented in 5th-grade band, so come if you can!
June 4-Field Day, weather permitting
June 11-Last day of school and 5th-grade promotion at 2:00–Parents invited!



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OMSI Science Camp Reflections

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One of my favorite things at Camp Namanu was a game called Predator Prey. It was a game where you’re in a group of people and you’re either a type of insect or amphibian or snake or falcon. Insects gets eaten by everything (I was an insect), Amphibians can only eat food flags and insects (which everyone needs) and snakes ate insects and amphibians while falcons eat everything. How you eat other people is your leader blows a whistle the you run at them for ten seconds. After ten seconds you can not be attacked or be attack for two minutes. If you are being attacked you don’t want to be tagged or you become them. I was a insect and never got tagged! By Sebastian

What I liked ab0ut Camp Namanu was this game called Camouflage. It normally has 3 rounds, unless y0u don’t have enough time for all 3 0f them. The first 2 rounds, you have to get super close to the person counting without getting seen. When the person counting sees you, they call you out and you have to stay behind them and not help find anyone. So basically you have to be boring/bored, even if you see someone. The third round, though, is a bit different. In the third round, you have to physically tag the tagger without getting heard. By then the tagger is blindfolded, so you don’t have to worry about getting seen… but that’s only in the third round. I really like this game, and recommend it to people that like more of a challenging version of Hide-And-Seek. By Lilyana

I was at Camp Namanu walking to the Sandy River with my study group tromping through the under brush until we came to the river. Then are instructor told us to look for water bugs under rocks. When I was chasing a water skipper by jumping on rocks. Then all of a sudden I fell into the river and got like four gallons of water in my shoes. Plus I was wearing my favorite Panda Socks which sucks. So that is the story of the soggy footwear. By Fred

On April 20 we had left for an amazing experience that a lot of 5th graders experience and that would be the 5th grade science camp. We went to Camp Namanu and had stayed for two nights and three days. When we arrived and were still in the school bus the first thing we all saw were was little deer.

On the night of day two we were back at our cabins and going crazy until it was lights out, I was getting ready for bed and I was waiting to get picked to go into my mom’s little room to vote for a the ME awards that me and my mom made and I fell and heard a crack so I stood up and didn’t realize what had broke so I took off my glasses to make sure I didn’t snap my glasses and I realized that my lens fell out so we searched for that, and Lily found it and I was putting it back into place and the top of my glasses broke too. I’m glad I have an extra pair.

On day three we had one last interest group and that meant it was team challenge. The first activity we did for the team challenge was a game where we chose a partner and untied one of our shoes then we put our right hand behind our back and tied my shoe with our left hand. We were not good but not bad. We also played a game where we had rope and made a circle and had to fit all of our feet in the circle flat on the ground and the circle kept getting smaller and smaller. I fell over a couple of times.

Next we did my favorite game in the team challenge and that was the game where we had our feet together and could not have them apart or we had to start over. We tried hopping a couple of times until we started to army crawl. Then we played a game where we had a picture and had to describe it to people and put it in order and see the whole picture. I had an amazing camp experience and I’m looking forward to next year. By Sevyn

A couple days ago and not that far away…

There was me and a friend out in the wilderness, looking for a place to make a shelter. We finally saw a hole in the ground with some sticks on it. He told me to go look for bark to cover us from rain. In the hole there was already some bark in there so I grabbed it. Next he told me to go look for big sticks, for the foundation. Next I told him to go look for ferns for the roof. He came back with a handful of ferns. Our shelter was complete. I went to go look for our instructor and told him we had finished. When I saw everyone else’s shelter I knew, we had the best one. Anyway we made a shelter for one of our survival interest groups.

Maybe a day after and not that far away…We were on KP.

“It’s time” Erin told us. Immediately we all scattered around the tables looking for forks and plates to clean. “Alright, bring me your plates and I’ll show you how it’s done. First get soap on the washcloth. Then dip the plates or forks in the water and clean,” Erin told us. After we were done we left and played… Gaga ball… By Liam

On Monday, we got on the bus and took an hour drive to get to Camp Namanu. IT TOOK SOOOO LONG!!! Once we got there, we took our stuff out of the bus and listened to announcements.  Then we moved into our CABIN! Our cabin was named Ginny’s. It was the biggest and best cabin ever!!  Staying in it were Kellen, Simon, Vince, Solomon, Gabe, Evan, Shawn Straight, Miles, Alex, Kellen’s dad (Martin), and me. I got a top bunk. Under me, was Miles. To the right of me, was David. To the left of me, was Solomon. In front of me, was Kellen. At night, it was completely dark in the cabin, except the second night when Martin built us a fire. Our cabin was so warm the first night, we all slept without our shirts. My mom said it must have been a heck of a Gun Show.

After we unpacked our gear, it was time to eat our sack lunches. We ate in Uncle Toby’s, which was the main lodge. After lunch, we played capture the flag. Our team got obliterated. It was unfair, but I didn’t care. Maybe I cared a little–but who cares! Our Brown Interest Group met for the first time when recess was over. For team challenges we played Human Knot, which was fairly awkward, but fun. Our team unknotted itself really fast (under two minutes) for practice, but it took us over five minutes to unknot ourselves when we tried it for real.  When the grown ups joined us, we did even worse!  Martin made an amazing untangling move though!

On the second day we got to do kitchen duty, so for breakfast we set all the tables and washed the dishes. Then after breakfast, we got sorted into our groups. I was in the “Trout Group.” We went on a short hike and we played a game called Mingle. In that game, we got to choose our camp names, which meant you pick an animal name that begins with the same letter your own name starts with–like Henry, the Hawk (that was my name)–but we never really used the camp names. Then we went on a big hike for FIVE hours! We hiked around for a while and then had lunch. Where we hand launch was the most awesome  thing ever! It was a treehouse overlooking the river. then we hiked back. The scenery was amazing threw out the hole trip.

FOOD—–The food was great. The first night we had homemade chili and for dessert we had brownies. Personally I liked the chili more! For breakfast the first day we had bacon and eggs. I LOVED the bacon! That night we had we had tacos! It was truly Taco Tuesday!

On the last day we collected algae to look at under a microscope. Something weird happened one of the bugs we accidentally caught had 3 babies?! By Henry

At science camp I got sick on wednesday so it was less enjoyable than it could be but, it was ok. I had a good time anyway. In one of the interest groups we got into teams and built a shelter. The teacher threatened to dump a bucket of water on to our shelter while we were inside but didn’t do it. During recess Sevyn’s mom took me, Lillyana, and Peyton to some REALLY OLD cabins that didn’t have windows walls or doors that overlooked the river. Great view. I had a lot of fun. I liked playing predator prey. I got chosen as a red tailed hawk. The top of the food chain in the game. The goal of the game was to survive. If you were a hawk your goal was to eat a lot of other animals. Science camp was awesome. By Sage

I held a rough-skinned newt that me and Fred named Toothy Jr. (Toothy Sr. is a poofer (dragon) that is in the Poofer Army) Anyway the rest is classified. We were holding him (well, I was holding him) and he jumped off my hand and epically face planted in the mud and when his face got off part of his face has a lot of mud on it.
A DAY BEFORE… I did KP (Kitchen Party or Kitchen Patrol, whatever you want to call it.) for the breakfast part of Tuesday and on dinner, I ate a Rice Krispies Treat and an eighth with my Burrito (soft taco), then we did the team challenge where you got to be blindfolded and you were navigated by a person. I was the first blindfolded person and the other favorite was this Red light, Green light, a game where you  have to get the egg to the other side without getting called out. That was some of my favorite things out of those three days at Camp Namanu. We did Ph tests on a stream and it was 8.6 which was pretty fresh. We caught two newts and it was a great catch. and in robin hood’s barn I looked in a microscope and i saw a spider thing in my microscope and it was eating a plankton. and I thought it was a zooplankton because maybe it was eating phytoplankton.

And lastly we played Camouflage on the morning walk on tuesday and I was never found. and I heard a rumor that Joe fell off his cabin. By Sean

On a sunny day at Camp Namanu I was packing my stuff so I could leave Camp Namanu without having to pack everything. I finished it and then I brought all my stuff on the bridge where I saw the bathroom roof and the railing.

The railing was close to the bathroom roof, the bathroom roof was three feet of the ground so I climbed on the railing and jumped for the roof, but when I landed, I missed my footing and I fell off on the ground. It hurt a LOT!! That was a thing that I did again, but I actually landed on it the right way. I mostly liked the part where we got to dissect owl pellets and I found a bunch of leg bones and 2 skulls of a rat or mouse, It was also really cool when she ( our group leader) got 2 ropes and she made one rough and one smooth, then she swung both around to make the bird wing sounds, the one that was smooth everybody could here but the one that was rough you could not hear because it was the owl wing, and owl wing are rough so you can not hear them, that’s why they are so quiet. By Joe

The bridge were all the excess water goes from the pond, also right next to Salamanderville or Sallyville. I put a big stick to keep other sticks from going into the creek. I took a piece of bark and called it a boat and put it down the falls but it didn’t come out, I was confused but I put another piece and it did come out and I put another one, and guess what? It did come out. So I went under the bridge I did even think I could access under the bridge. There was a salamander stuck in some twigs so I picked him up and put him back in the pond. And unclogged it. Shelter building! Me and two other people found a place to build it I got a lot of bark and moss and found bark oldly in one place another group must of it there. We had a lot of fun doing it! It was smallish. One tall person could fit in it or two shorter people could. By Elliott

My favorite part about Camp Namanu was our weird dance Party in the Eeyore Cabin. Sevyns mom Sara said it was okay. We had the party with Madilinney, Lesley, Mckela, Lillyana, Sage, Sevyn, Sandra, Ruby, and Claire with no music because we didn’t have any Wifi, so we just started singing All About That Base really loud and while we were dancing Sevyns glasses broke. After Sevyn sort of fixed her glasses we started saying jokes. My joke was “Why did the toilet paper roll down the hill?” “Why?” “To get to the Bottom!” And they didn’t even laugh.

Part Two

When we got bored and we had to get quiet so we played Hide and Go Seek and of course I hid with Ruby under a bed and then Lesley joined us so it was really crowded but we ended up winning of course, so we just kept hiding with each other and winning all of the rounds. When it was 10:05 we had to get ready for bed which took a really long time because everybody just wanted to talk and talk, so at 10:30 everybody was finally quiet and went to bed. Sort of. A bunch of the girls came into me, Sevyn, Sandra, Ruby and Claire’s room and we talked for a really long time. The stuff we talked about is to be undiscussed.

The next morning we overslept and we were almost missed breakfast but luckily we didn’t because we went the super secret way to the dining hall. When we got there they were still talking about what we were having for breakfast. When we got inside it smelt like coffee and eggs. We had Oatmeal, bacon, and some other really good things. After breakfast we went back the SUPER SECRET way back to our cabin to get ready for field study.

   For field studies we dissected Owl Pellets! When we got our Owl Pellets our instructor told us that we were not going to use gloves and I thought that was really gross but it wasn’t so bad because we were also using dental tools but it was still really gross trying to get the bones out of the fur. In the middle of dissecting I found my first skull but when I got it I broke the skull and little bit but it wasn’t that noticeable. The hard part was trying to get the fur out of the skull but I used some of the dental tools and eventually got most most of the fur out. At the end I could almost make a whole skeleton but I was missing one other Hip Bone. By June

Camp  was so fun it was amazing. we got to catch nutes and bugs, dissect owl pellets, eat food, have fun, hike, stay up till 10:00, and have fire we had to hike to get to the fire pit it was amazing. There was a lot of stuff that had to do with science we got to dissect owl pellets which was pretty fun the best thing was being able to stay up late. The best of all was going late at night and doing experiments with mints, and staring at your partner’s face and your eyes would play a trick on your brain. It was so cool, it was kind of scary, but it was fun. By Bridger

The crowd of people in the small pit was gone. Four people were in the pit while a cloud of dust floated in the air. Bam! Someone was hit by the ball by Mr. Mark, then another person and then another. Everyone was hit until it was just Mr. Mark and me.

“Crap, what was I going to do,” I thought.

The outside people cheered. “Go Melanie!” I heard Sean A. yell.

In that two minutes I was in that pit I was just running around in a circle. The wind blowing in my hair. I knew that I wasn’t going to make it, but I couldn’t wipe the smile off of my face. I was still in and I was just running in a circle dodging the ball while it hit the wall with a thud.

Then in that quick second I was hit, the rubber on the ball hit my leg. I was finally out. I laughed, I knew that I worked so hard and yet I only hit the ball three times in that one round.

“Jailbreak!” yelled Mr. Mark. I jumped back in ready for the next round.

The next round was crowded, the dust got thicker above our heads and I smiled this was a game that I could play all the time and I now got to play with all of my friends.

Soon after a few more rounds we heard the sound that called us to come into Uncle Toby’s Story House. We jumped out of the wooden pit and ran over and went to have some gross Guppies for snack.

One thing what we did was Predator and Prey where we got into different group. The groups were different insects, some amphibians and the Red Tailed Hawk which ruled all.

I started as a fly and as I went on I started to respect flies since they have to deal with all of those animals. I was a fly most of the time and I lasted for a long time until we ran into the Red Tailed Hawks which had 20 people in the group.

It was a game but I still learned a lot from it like insects have a lot of eggs since not a lot of them survive and Hawks don’t have that many eggs since, well, they’re on the top.

In all it was fun game and a fun learning experience, I think that it would be a cool if Reed College did a game like that. By Melanie

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday we were at Camp Namanu. My favorite part was looking in the microscopes and watching the plankton move around. My partner was Sevyn and we had this weird looking plankton that kept moving around and we couldn’t even see him. So we just gave up and started looking at Mary’s since hers was pretty big and orange. It looked so much like plankton from Spongebob. When we were finished looking at hers since all it did was walk and sit. As the counselor was talking to us Mary was still looking at her plankton when she got all excited and said that it just had a baby. Everyone got excited and thats when another group came in with us and some kids had to give up theirs or go in a group of three. We were still looking at Mary’s plankton and it didn’t just have one baby it gave birth to another and that’s pretty exciting since it was my first time looking at plankton close up in a microscope.  By Sandra

At first we were unpacking in the cabin and I tried to get up on the and put the sleeping bag on the bed but each time I tried to put it but it kept on falling on my head and I almost screamed and I finally got it but the my pillow did the same thing until finally I got it up there and I left. We were packing up to leave when I had to put my sleeping bag away and I couldn’t cause there was no way to get it in so I walking to go get help and the mattresses were all on the floor when I slipped on one and then I slipped on another one then I fell face first on the ground. It hurt a lot but I said I was okay then I fell on the bed and fell backwards.


This is the science part of Camp Namanu! My favorite part of the camp Namanu science was owl pellet dissection because I found 2 whole skeletons from it that I kept! We also did the predator and prey which was super fun. How you play is you have a destiny and we have to find a lower ranking and tag him or her so they will be on your team. We also have to find water and keep your hand on it for 10 seconds! By McKela

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Class Notes for May 11-15, 2015

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Art Night and our field trip to Reed College’s Colley Gallery were the highlights of last week. It was great seeing so many kids show up at Art Night to help out as docents and to participate in Mr. Jamesbarry’s music groups. An added bonus is seeing former students and parents who come back to visit. The desserts were pretty good, too.

We have been focusing on problem solving in math the past week. Specifically, we are using a four-step method that involves the following:

  1. Find out what the problem means and what question you must answer to solve it.
  2. Choose a strategy that will help solve the problem.
  3. Calculate and solve the problem.
  4. Look back by rereading the problem and checking to see if the answer makes sense.

Strategies include making a table, an organized list, guessing and checking, Using or looking for a pattern, making the problem simpler, using logical reasoning, making a picture or diagram, and working backwards.

We finished Charlotte’s Web last week. Thanks to a couple of students who helped read some of the sections that were hard for me to read aloud. Our new read aloud book will be I Will Always Write Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives, a book about well, how one pen pal letter changed the course of two lives, one in the USA and one in Zimbabwe.

If your child is going on the safety patrol field trip to Oaks Park on Thursday, remember that there is no need to bring a lunch, as it is provided. Dress for the weather.

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