Salmon Update, Field Trip Announcement, and Pursuing the Past information

All in all, our salmon our doing well. We have lost a few, but that is to be expected. The video above was taken with my iPad on Tuesday of this week and shows their stage of development quite clearly. Use the gear icon at the bottom of the video to watch it in HD at 1080p in fullscreen mode. The default resolution makes it look fuzzy. If you look closely, you can see the veins in the yolk sac.

We will be releasing the salmon into the Willamette River (which, as all the kids know, is a tributary of the Columbia River) on Friday, Dec. 7. We will leave on a #75 TriMet bus at 11:47, head toward the river where we will be met by several Reed College instructors and the head of the Science Outreach Program, Kristy Gonyer. The Reedies will guide us in releasing the salmon so they will have a higher chance of survival. We catch the bus back at 1:53 and be back to school around 2:30. If you are interested in helping on this trip, let me know. I could use five volunteers on this trip. Email me at if you are interested in going.

In other news, the Pursuing the Past packet went home on Thursday. If you did not get it, please remind your child to bring it home on Friday. The holiday weekend is perfect getting a start on this. As I mentioned to the class today, the people who are interviewed do not necessarily have to be family members. In case the letter of explanation didn’t make it home, here it is:

Lewis School
November 2012

Dear Parents,

For the next few weeks our 4th-grade classes will be involved in a project called “Pursuing the Past.” This project ties in with several areas of study, such as history, geography, language arts, mathematics, and the visual arts.

To complete some of the activities in this unit, the students will need to collect most of the information at home. In fact, we hope this will become a project that will involve the whole family, and even relatives and/or neighbors outside the immediate household.

“Pursuing the Past” is an attempt to focus on the student’s recent past, as well as that of older family members that the students might be interviewing. Rather than trying to see how far back we can trace your family tree (which you are welcome to do and add it to this project), we will be looking into how people lived in their daily lives in the 1920s through the 2000s.

Each student will be doing six interviews, one or two per week on each of the following topics:

1) “Your Birthday As History

2) “Life Then and Now

3) “What Was School Like?

4) “Was There Life Before TV?

5) “What’s Cooking?” and

6) “Witnessing Historical Events” I will supply a list of suggested questions, but feel free to make up some of your own. The whole project is due on Dec. 7, 2012.

Grandparents are valuable resources for this project, but they aren’t essential to complete it successfully. Any older person that your child knows and trusts will be fine. We will be glad to answer any of your questions at 916-6360.

Due to varying writing abilities in our class, we cannot give a blanket answer to the question of whether your child should do all the writing on this project or let the interviewee do the writing. Each family will have to decide on their own. The information gathered is the most important aspect of this project.

It is not our intention that this activity become homework for parents who already have too much to do, while the child watches TV. Ideally, it will be a chance to open up an area of discussion for the whole family. Your child should be actively involved in asking questions and listening while the answers are given.


Mr. Colvin, Miss Sarah, and Ms. Rotwein


About Mr. Colvin

I'm a retired elementary teacher (classroom and music) who taught at Lewis and Woodmere elementary schools in SE Portland. I like to teach, play guitar, take photos, and ride my bike.
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