VOYAGERS - June 2018

Our class took a virtual tour of over 20 state parks while walking through three. While researching the parks we learned geography, history, and ecology. We were inspired by the stories of passionate people who came to Oregon and gave their land to the public. We learned of the vision of leaders as they established the roads and held firm to their belief that the natural conditions of Oregon should be protected for generations of people to enjoy freely. We were able to compare flora, fauna, and geology of various regions across our State.

We spent an incredible amount of time outdoors observing individual flora and fauna. It has been a personal goal of mine for the past 10 to be able to greet each species by name. I tried to pass on that joy to the students. The plants and creatures are quite familiar, but they did not know their names. After observing all winter, we spent the Spring investigating the new growth. Each student picked four items from our property to study, along with one State Park, which led to a year-end Voyage Through Oregon essay and an individually created a poster to display and share their knowledge. On the last week of school, we were able to walk through a lush state park and ask the students about their plants that were growing there. Such a joy for me, as a naturalist and a teacher, to see their eagerness of students talking about their plants.

As our 2017-18 school year has come to a close I am spending time assessing the year, recording achievements, considering changes to tackle challenges, and forecasting for next year. I have enjoyed integrating English and Math into our themes of Oregon and Nature. My focus for the Voyagers for writing is to use their natural observations combined with what they are reading, to communicate in writing, what they are interested in. We spend time learning how to create outlines, create sentences with our own words, and gather information into paragraphs. In our Math time, we learn about how numbers are used, in everyday experiences and how to consider the mathematical puzzles while reasoning out solutions. I am thankful that at our school a priority is placed on integrated learning. Although my mind calculates using each form of learning, we no longer have blocks on the board that say English, Social Studies, and Science. I am thankful that NVS values integrated learning, books, field trips, special guests, and sharing our findings with each other. It has been an incredible year.

~ Teacher Angie