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“This is made of wood.”

October 16, 2012

AKA my first GK12 experience.

GK12 is an NSF-funded program that is sadly ending soon.  It gives fellowships to graduate students to teach K-12 science.  At the UO, fellows spend two weeks each term at an elementary school in eastern Oregon.

I taught kindergarten at McNary Heights Elementary School in Umatilla, OR.  I stayed with one of the teachers and her delightful family in nearby Hermiston.  Her kids are Tanner (4), Abigail (6), Courtney (10), and Logan (11).  Tanner let me stay in his room while he bunked with Logan.CIMG1727

We have similar decorating tastes.

Why did I not take a picture with the family?!  Here’s their house (and my car antenna):CIMG1728

I was excited to finally see eastern Oregon!  For those of you not familiar with the thriving metropolis of Umatilla, here is a map:image

(Dots do not correspond to the size of the towns.)

The school was close to the dam on the Columbia River (the other side is Washington).CIMG1729

Just like this plaque we found in the tri-cities:CIMG1731

I taught the kindergarteners all about wood (and paper, for the lucky extended day crew).  We also made oobleck and liquid nitrogen ice cream.  I lost my voice during the second week, which made teaching really difficult.CIMG1751

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Proudly displaying the “sandwich wood” (particleboard) that they made from sawdust and glue.  I made this glue by cooking a giant batch of cornstarch/water the night before.

The kids were just so excited about everything!  I had two classes of Spanish speaking kids (first and last class of the day), which was challenging.  Plus all of the 5-year-olds had only been in school for a month!  They were still adapting to classroom etiquette.

Thank you to everyone who made this such a great experience.  I’m excited to come back in the winter!

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