Fieldwork Coordinator Update – June, 2018


Fieldwork Update for June, 2018

Date of Activity / Lesson:

June, 2018


Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge, Tryon Creek State Park, PSU, State Capitol building in Salem, Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals


In this last month of school, many of our students have been out of the classroom and in the community. Here are a few end-of-year fieldwork highlights.

As part of their study of life cycles, our kindergartners made multiple visits to Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge to dip for tadpoles and salamander efts. Students looked for signs of wildlife around the refuge and worked to identify native plants. Back in the classroom, the class created a mural of the frog pond, including plants, animals, and physical features.



First and second graders spent the spring trimester learning about local forests. They identified different trees and native plants and researched native forest animals. To inform their study, they traveled to the Pacific Northwest section of the Oregon Zoo and learned from naturalists on site at Oxbow Regional Park. Students also journeyed to Tryon Creek State Park and the Northwest Forestry Center to find out more. In the classroom, students created their own forest, complete with animals placed in their appropriate forest home. A forest fire fighter from Mt. Hood visited the classroom to teach about the pros and cons of wildfires, which students simulated in their own classroom forest. By the end of the unit, new shrubs were growing and animals had returned to their homes. As a culminating event, students held a poetry slam to share poems they wrote inspired by the forest unit.



The Portland State University Archaeology Roadshow featured projects from three of our classrooms this year. The third grade students incorporated their studies of archaeology and the Chinook tribe to create several displays and interactive activities around the Roadshow theme of “change.” In one featured exhibit, students created models of a plankhouse in different stages of decay to show how an archaeological site is created and identified. Students rotated throughout the day to work at the booth and educate others about what they had learned.


Meanwhile, both fourth and fifth grade classrooms displayed poetry banners they made as part of a collaborative project with artist-in-residence Nina Montenegro. Students reflected on the themes of home and loss of home, relating it to their own feelings and the pattern of displacement and dispossession of native peoples throughout American history. Students wrote one line from each of their poems on individual banners, which when viewed together, create a new collaborative poem. Nina created a booklet that features the banners and gives an overview of the project. The banners and the booklets were on display at the Roadshow, and students spoke to visitors about their work. All of our students at the Roadshow received many kind words for their well-crafted work and their ability to teach and talk to the public.



The seventh and eighth grades traveled to the State Capitol building in Salem earlier this month to present their Project Citizen portfolios. The seventh grade had researched the topic of electives at our school and eighth graders took on the topic of school preparedness for earthquakes. Judges were impressed with our students’ aptitude for public speaking and acknowledged all of the hard work they put into their projects. But the projects do not stop in Salem. The seventh grade class created a plan to pilot an electives program in the middle school which they will try to implement next school year, and the eighth graders made excellent suggestions for how to improve our school’s earthquake preparedness program. Citizens in action!



Lastly, the third grade class finished a geologic timeline that they have been working on all school year and handed it over the the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals. It now hangs in the museum as their official timeline. Go see it over the summer, perhaps during their Summer Fest on August 4th and 5th.



Whew! It’s been another amazing year for fieldwork. Our classes went on over 100 trips to explore, learn, and connect. Thank you, as always, to parent volunteers, drivers, and chaperones. We couldn’t do it without you! Looking forward to getting out of the classroom some more in 2018-19. Hope you are able to get outside and enjoy the summer. See you in September!

Sarah K. Anderson, Fieldwork Coordinator, The Cottonwood School of Civics and Science

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