Mr. Carl Deiz

Last weekend, Lewis Elementary kindergarten teacher, Ms. Ashley Rollins, lost her grandfather, Carl Deiz. Below is a link to an article from The Oregonian outlining his remarkable life and service to our community. 

Carl Deiz article


Wish all my "Professional Development" could be more like #edcamppdx

On Saturday I was able to attend the latest edition of #edcamppdx. An edcamp "is a form of unconference designed specifically for teachers and their needs."* I have attended several, and my school, Lewis Elementary, has hosted two. They are very much unlike most educational conferences, and most unlike most of my professional learning, which have set speakers and presentations. Edcamps are more organic, with topics and discussions growing up from the interests of the participants. 

I was able to attend two sessions. Ben Jones of PDXDIY lead a great discussion on Coding as as Language Art. During the session, participants shared challenges and triumphs as their schools work to provide students with coding opportunities. 

The second session, lead by Corin Richards,  concerned Bring Your Own Device policies. The discussion covered many of the challenges that schools and school districts face as they wrestle with providing equitable access to technology to all of their students. 

When I attend an edcamp event, I can't help but wonder why other professional development events I attend can't be more like an this? An opportunity to discuss and share and learn from one another. It would be refreshing if those that are responsible for providing professional learning for teachers and school leaders, took more of an interest in helping us find our learning path, rather than subject their participants to mind numbing Powerpoint slides and forced share outs. 

I was happy to see several attendees from my school district there, including my own Mr. Richner, one of my 5th grade teachers. A big thank you to the folks from Hillsboro School District for hosting the event and also a big thank you to the #edcamppdx sponsors and organizers for putting on a great day of learning and discussion.





Snow Day and some thoughts on Twitter...

Portland is experiencing a bit of a weather event today. We are expected to get a few inches of snow this morning, along with some freezing rain. My school district started off with an announcement of a 2 hour delay, but now the official word has come down that school is cancelled for today. 

Since I have a bit of time on my hands, I thought I would share a bit about the work of my staff and their use of Twitter. I have been very happy to see several of my staff embrace Twitter as a tool to document and share the work taking place in their classrooms. I have created a Twitter list so I can easily keep up with their work and posts. You can follow along at

Below I have listed our Lewis Elementary teachers on Twitter, along with a bit about what you will find on their Twitter feeds. 

Mr. Richner @lewisroom20
Mr. Richner teaches 5th grade at Lewis. He utilizes Twitter to document events throughout the school day. He designates a student to be the class photographer and then curates those photos into blog posts and Twitter posts. A nice way to get a student perspective on the school day. 

Ms. Murphy @murphyroom8
Ms. Murphy teaches first grade and this year has begun to use Twitter to document the learning of her students. Using her smartphone, she captures several images a day and shares them on her Twitter page. A great way for families to get a peek into her first grade classroom.

Ms. Kennedy @pamelakennedy17
Ms. Kennedy teaches 3rd grade and has been using Twitter for a few years. Her tweets highlight student work and classroom activities. She also shares about her proficient use of DonorsChoose to equip and outfit her classroom.

Mr. Hansen @lewisroom5
Mr. Hansen teaches our blended 2/3 classroom. He utilizes Twitter to document the work of his students and also to share news with parents. In addition he shares interesting teaching practices, especially related to writing.

Ms. Layman @gymjumprun
Ms. Layman is our physical education teacher and she has embraced Twitter both as a tool for sharing what is going on in gym class, and also as tool for continuous growth and professional learning. She has become an active participant in PE twitter chats, eager to share and learn from other physical education teachers.

Mr. Colvin @mrcolvinteacher
Mr. Colvin teaches 5th grade and is one of our veteran Twitter users. His feed provides a great view of what his students are learning and images that convey student work and engagement.

Coding and Robots...

Last year at Lewis Elementary, our Mr. Jamesbarry had his students take part in the Hour of Code activities. From this initial experience he then moved into setting up each of our 4th and 5th grade students with accounts and set them on the path of self paced lessons. 

The experience using was pretty empowering for many of our students. Many enjoyed the challenge and commented on how some of it was hard, but hard in a fun way. One student in particular said something that says with me.

Mr. Jamesbarry noted that as he looked over the teacher admin dashboard,(which allows the teacher to keep track of student progress) he noticed that one student, was way ahead of the other students. She was working on on weekends and evenings. He acknowledged the work of the student and she responded that she really enjoyed working on coding. She said,  

"When I was little, I wanted to learn how to make robots do things. Now, I think I can." 

Her parents also commented on her enthusiasm for coding. Another example of how brining creative outlets, such as, to our schools can have unanticipated and empowering consequences. 

This year we have started activities with our 3rd grade students. In addition we are now offering a 3rd grade coding club after school on Wednesdays. A very big thank you to Ms. Elissa, Mr. Hansen, and Ms. Kennedy for their support of our club. 

Learning about Veterans Day in Mr. Colvin's Classroom

Mr. Paul Colvin teaches 5th grade at Lewis Elementary School. Each year around Veterans Day, he shares with his students letters that his father, a World War II veteran, wrote to his family while serving in Europe during the war. Many times we approach holidays and give them only a superficial mention and discussion. Mr. Colvin's sharing of his father's letters is an example of how to use primary sources as a catalyst for learning and to bring history alive. 

His students wrote responses to the letters and Mr. Colvin plans to share those with his father this weekend.

You can follow Mr. Colvin, and the work of his students on Twitter. @mrcolvinteacher

Today at Lewis on Twitter

This year I have been happy to see several of our teachers embrace Twitter as a tool to communicate the work taking place in their classrooms. Below are a few examples of how Lewis teachers are using Twitter to share the story of their classrooms.