On Thursday, May 12, 2016 Lewis Elementary held its annual Art Night. This annual evening (I believe our 28th year) is an opportunity for our community to come together and celebrate the creativity of our students and staff. At Lewis, visual art and music are core parts of our program. Our annual Art Night is an opportunity to share our work with our community. Students act as docents, explaining the displayed art work to visitors, and our music students perform in our cafeteria. All in all, a great evening that reinforces the power of the arts in learning.
As April comes to a close, I wanted to share a great project that our 4th grade students took part in this past month. The #Write-On challenge involves writing a letter every day of the month. Through the generous support of Egg Press and Hello Lucky Cards, classrooms received a large quantity of letter cards to use in the project. It was great see our students involved in the daily practice of reflecting and writing to family and friends. Many parents and grandparents commented on how much they enjoyed receiving the cards, and the messages they contained.
Pictured below are just a few of the cards I received this month. A great project, and a great practice, that we plan to continue with...
The Nutrition Services department in my school district has made great efforts over the past few years to increase the quality and variety of food being served in our school cafeterias. One aspect of this effort is something they call Harvest of the Month. Items in this program our locally sourced and are an attempt to expose students to fruits and vegetables that they might not normally eat. Our most recent Harvest of the Month involved the serving of parsnips.
Parsnips were offered twice in a one month period and this provided an opportunity for our 5th grade students to do to do a little parsnip marketing. Under the direction of our school support staff member, Kathleen Witter, our 5th grade students embarked on a marketing campaign. Students created posters advertising the virtues of parsnips and proceeded to post them around the school. This provided many opportunities for discussion and to generate interest in parsnips.
By the time the next parsnips serving day came around, we saw a larger interest in parsnips and more students willing to give them a try. All in all, a great way to increase the interest in our school lunch program and in the health benefits of parsnips, and also provide our fifth-grade students with an opportunity to help spread the word.
Just before our Spring Break we held three performances of our production of “A Mid Summer’s Night Dream. Our director Tori Padellford closed our final performance by addressing the audience with something that really resonated with me. She talked about the whole production has a gift. A gift from our staff and families to our students and a gift from our students to our community. It was the product of all of our efforts to provided our students with experiences that will stay with them and ground them as they grow up. It was a very memorable performance and something I am proud that we were able to provide for our students.
Our students, cast, orchestra, and crew, did an a phenomenal job. Current and former staff members Mr. Colvin, Mr. Jamesbarry, and Ms Tori did an outstanding job leading our effort. A big thank you to them, and to all the volunteers that helped to make our production such a memorable event.
Mr. Colvin has a great collection of photos from the performances and from rehearsals. Please follow the link below to share them with your students:
On Saturday, Lewis Elementary hosted Educate Engage 2016. The event was organized by Melissa Lim (@actionhero) of Portland Public Schools, and sponsored by Portland Public School and Concordia University, and was inspired by a similar event, ENGAGE 2015 Parent Tech Conference, put on last fall by several suburban Chicago school districts.
Educate/Engage 2016 was described as
“an opportunity to hear from teachers about the roles and implications of technology both in and out of today's modern classroom.”
It was a great event and the parents that attended indicated they appreciated the opportunity to learn and discuss with educators, the opportunities and challenges that technology can present in a school setting.
It was also nice to see so many of our regional education leaders lend their time and expertise to the event. A big thank you to all that took part.
Last night at Lewis Elementary School we held our annual Lonesome Teacher Trio & Friends Family Dance. This event is a fund raiser for our 5th grade science camp program.
The Lonesome Teacher Trio is made up of Lewis Music Teacher, Tony Jamesbarry, retired Lewis teacher, Paul Colvin, and former Lewis teacher Matt Marchyok. They are accompanied by Eric Johnson, Chris Kurtz, and Tim Hahn. All current or retired Portland teachers.
Each year they generously donate their time to this event. We thank them all for their continued support of our school.
Today we celebrated Historical Character Day at Lewis Elementary. Students had the option of dressing today as an historical character. We had many students take part. It was great to see the creativity that our students brought to the day. It was also nice to see several students dressed as our school's namesake, Meriwether Lewis. Thanks to all those that were able to take part.
On Monday, January 18, 2016, Lewis Elementary celebrated the Dr. King holiday with a day of service. Students and families, along with staff, came out to work in our garden space to honor Dr. King's legacy of service to others. We had a great turnout and would like to thank all of our volunteers for their work today.
Ms. Brenan’s mixed age 1st and 2nd grade students have been using tablet computers, specifically the Nexus 7, in a 1:1 program this year. One aspect of our tablet use that we are focusing on is having students use them for creative endeavors that allow them to take advantage of tools such as the built in camera.
Working with our Media Specialist, Cyndi Redmond, and our Garden Coordinator, Kathleen Witter, Ms. Brenan created a photography unit that allowed students to learn a bit about the history of photography, and also develop some aesthetics around the capturing of still images.
Ms. Brenan, an avid photographer, started by sharing her collection of vintage cameras with her students. She discussed the film photography process and students had the opportunity to explore the mechanics of these cameras and gain an understanding for how they worked. Next, she and Ms. Redmond introduced the tablet camera application to the students and after some practice in class, turned them loose in our garden area to capture images. The students then were able to chose one of their images to be printed.
Ms. Brenan had prints made of each student's image. The smaller images were framed and students were able to take them home. The larger images were also framed and will be on display, and available for purchase, at First Cup Coffeehouse on Woodstock in Southeast Portland starting on January 4, 2016.
Today at Lewis Elementary we had the Portland Opera visit to perform The Elixar of Love for our students. This is the second year that Portland Opera has visited our school. If you are in the Portland area, I highly recommend booking them for a school visit. They do an outstanding job.
Normally when we have groups such as Portland Opera visit our school I try to capture a few photos to share with our community. Today I had a medical appointment and was not able to attend the performance. In years past we might not of had any images to share, but this year, with many of our staff publishing to Twitter, that was not the case.
As I sat in the waiting room for my appointment, I was able to pull up our Lewis Twitter feed list and was very happy to see several posts from our teachers of the event.
This got me thinking about Twitter and how via lists, we are able to compile and share the work of all of our teachers in one place. In this way, we are creating an archive of the work taking place in our classrooms. I look forward to watching this evolve as we move through the this school year and beyond.